NASHVILLE — The Tennessee Titans were the second NFL team to fire a coach. Now they’re finally ready to talk to possible replacements.
Detroit Lions defensive co-ordinator Teryl Austin has an interview scheduled with Tennessee on Friday for the Titans’ head coaching job, a person familiar with the situation said. The person spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the team will not confirm candidates until after interviews are completed.
Austin already has interviewed with Miami, Cleveland, the New York Giants and Philadelphia Eagles. Miami hired Adam Gase, and Cleveland hired Hue Jackson on Wednesday.
Among five teams still needing to hire a head coach, the Titans are looking for their third since Jeff Fisher left in January 2011. Ken Whisenhunt, hired in January 2014, was fired Nov. 3 after going 3-20 with Tennessee.
Mike Mularkey, who went 2-7 as interim head coach, reportedly will interview to keep the job Thursday. Mularkey is 18-39 as a head coach including two seasons in Buffalo and one in Jacksonville. ESPN reported Jacksonville assistant head coach Doug Marrone, another Buffalo coach, also will interview with the Titans on Thursday.
Austin, 50, has been defensive co-ordinator in Detroit the past two seasons, coaching the Lions’ defence to a No. 2 ranking in total defence in 2014 that was the team’s highest since 1970. The Lions also held 11 opponents to 17 or fewer points and set a franchise record in 2014 allowing only 69.3 yards rushing per game. Austin has been to three Super Bowls with Seattle, Arizona and Baltimore as a defensive backs coach. He also was defensive co-ordinator at Florida.
The Titans also need a new general manager after firing Ruston Webster on Jan. 4 with a 5-27 record the past two seasons.
They interviewed Chris Ballard, Kansas City’s director of football operations, Monday, their sixth candidate for general manager. The Titans also have interviewed former Lions general manager Martin Mayhew, Giants vice-president of player evaluation Marc Ross, former Broncos general manager Ted Sundquist, Jaguars director of player personnel Chris Polian and Tampa Bay’s director of player personnel Jon Robinson.