The Tennessee Titans on Friday hired a new offensive coordinator, Jason Michael. Michael is a familiar face for head coach and offensive playcaller Ken Whisenhunt, serving under him last year in San Diego as the tight ends coach.
Michael was a holdover in San Diego from the previous regime, having previously been hired by Norv Turner before the 2011 season. While in San Diego, Michael oversaw Antonio Gates and the development of 2012 fourth-round pick Ladarius Green into a solid player this year. Before coaching in San Diego, Michael was in San Francisco as an offensive assistant (in 2009) and quarterbacks coach (in 2010) for the San Francisco 49ers. 2010 was Alex Smith's best season to date, and Michael was probably not responsible for Mike Singletary's quixotic affection for playing Troy Smith. Before coaching in San Francisco, Michael served as a graduate assistant and video guy (2003-04) and TE coach for the University of Tennessee (2008), as an offensive assistant and assistant quarterback coach (2006) and tight ends coach (2007) for the New York Jets, and as a quality control coach for the Oakland Raiders (2005). He played collegiately for Jack Harbaugh as Western Kentucky, which he quarterbacked to the 2002 I-AA national championship, where like Whisenhunt he earned a civil engineering degree.
Since Whisenhunt will be calling the plays, the offensive coordinator position is perhaps slightly devalued in terms of importance-instead of directing the offense, the non-playcaller OC generally acts as an assistant to the head coach's brain, more focused on breaking down the opposing offense and preparing an overall gameplan. It is thus particularly important the head coach and the offensive coordinator get along well, so it was unsurprising and good to see somebody who has worked directly with Whisenhunt recently be hired. In the team release, Whisenhunt praised his familiarity with the offensive system he wants to implement, Michael's intelligence, and the work he did preparing game-plan options for San Diego last year. Nothing earth-shaking, but still exactly what you're looking for in this hire.