New Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said that he plans on calling offensive plays in 2014 “unless somebody tells me I can’t.”
Whisenhunt arrived at Saint Thomas Sports Park Tuesday and was introduced during a press conference with Titans President/CEO Tommy Smith and general manager Ruston Webster.
The former Chargers offensive coordinator (2013) and Cardinals head coach (2007-12) will be building his staff of assistants and welcome ideas from those coaches but prefers to call the plays. Smith said he likes that plan.
“I’ve never been opposed to ideas because they’re an important part of growing in this business. I’ve learned a lot from a lot of different people,” Whisenhunt said. “I think we have a good base system that we’re going to run offensively, but you always welcome input and you have a chance during (organized team activities) and training camp to try some of those things and see how you like them.
“Sometimes you just never know how it’s going to go,” Whisenhunt continued. “I mean, there have been run schemes that we’ve gotten into later in the season that have been outstanding that we didn’t think were big in training camp, so I think we have a base offense, we have a core offense that we’re going to run. I’ve had success with it in a number of different places with a number of different players, but as you get the opportunity to work with coaches that you think are good coaches, they have ideas and you’re always open to incorporating those ideas.”
Whisenhunt said the pace of his season ending with the Chargers Sunday, followed by his accepting of the job Monday and his arrival in Tennessee via Smith’s office in Houston Tuesday had been “kind of a whirlwind” that hadn’t allowed him to fully evaluate the Titans’ roster or study much on the AFC South.
He said he hopes the Titans’ offense of 2014 “will look a little bit like it looked this past year in San Diego.”
“We were pretty good. I think we are going to be versatile offensively. We will have a number of different personnel packages,” Whisenhunt said. “I think we will have some up-tempo components with it. A lot of it is going to be dependent upon our personnel and what they can handle. We are going to push them; that is where you have success when you do that.”
The Chargers finished the regular season fifth in the NFL in total offense with an average of 393.3 yards per game and led the league with a 49 percent conversion rate on third downs (101 of 206) as Philip Rivers completed 69.5 percent of his passes and threw for 4,478 yards and 32 touchdowns in garnering his fifth selection to the Pro Bowl. San Diego also ranked first in time of possession (33:35), which is a point of emphasis for Whisenhunt and Webster.
Tennessee improved in that category from last in the league in 2012 to 16th in 2013.
Whisenhunt, who is known in part for calling a well-executed trick play in Super Bowl XL that resulted in the only touchdown thrown by a receiver in Super Bowl history, said explosive gains can be good, but he wants Tennessee to keep the ball away from opponents.
“A lot of times where you are successful in this league offensively is getting those five- and six-yard completions or runs and keeping it in third-and-short and converting third downs because then you can sustain drives,” Whisenhunt said. “Sustained drives lead to possession time which depending on the type of game you are playing is a big piece of the puzzle.”
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