The Tennessee Titans made it official on Tuesday by announcing the addition of Tim Kelly as he joins the offensive coaching staff as the team’s passing game coordinator. Kelly lands with the Titans after spending eight seasons with the Houston Texans where he most recently served as offensive coordinator from 2019-2021. Prior to serving as offensive coordinator, Kelly spent time coaching of Texans tight ends (2017-18) and offensive quality control coach (2014-15).
#Titans extended the contracts of general manager Jon Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel.
They also announce the hirings of Tim Kelly as passing play coordinator and Bobby King as inside linebackers coach.
— Teresa Walker (@TeresaMWalker) February 8, 2022
Kelly’s hiring comes after the Titans AFC’s Divisional Round loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. QB Ryan Tannehill and offensive coordinator Todd Downing have been the targets of the vast majority of Titans fans. Instead of leaving Downing altogether after just one year as an OC, Tennessee instead opted to bring another mastermind into the building.
While in Houston, Kelly had the opportunity to work alongside quarterbacks Deshaun Watson, Davis Mills and Tyrod Taylor. In fact, it was in 2020 under Kelly’s watch that Watson set career highs in passing yards (4,823), passing touchdowns (33), passer rating (112.7 ), while throwing a career-low seven interceptions.
Deshaun Watson said he once said a good word to Cal McNair to keep Tim Kelly. He said he called the Texans owner on Sunday to convey that sentiment
—Aaron Wilson (@AaronWilson_NFL) January 4, 2021
In 2020, the Texans offense continued its momentum under Kelly as the team set franchise marks in touchdowns (46), red-zone efficiency (64.2%) and under-threes and strikeouts ( 24).
After the most shaky season of Tannehill’s tenure as the Titan, the team recognized that some form of change was needed on the attacking side of the ball. While Tannehill and Watson are certainly very different players, they share a few similar qualities. Like Watson, one of Tannehill’s strengths is his mobility. Tannehill tied his 2020 career high with seven rushing touchdowns this season. Both quarterbacks are also highly regarded for their down passing abilities, a category in which Tannehill has struggled a lot this season.
This year, with Mills/Tyrod, they ranked 23rd and the Titans 29th.
– Football and other F-words (@FWordsPod) February 6, 2022
While in Houston, Kelly worked with a number of top players. DeAndre Hopkins, Brandin Cooks, Will Fuller and Carlos Hyde, who was able to rush for over 1,000 yards under Kelly, are guys who immediately stand out. Working with explosive weapons in Houston should make the transition to the Titans a bit easier, as he will now work with AJ Brown, Julio Jones and Derrick Henry.
The development of rookie QB Davis Mills shouldn’t be ignored either. It could be argued that Mills was the best rookie QB in the class after being selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft. Mills was able to produce the second best quarterback rating among rookies (88.8) , just behind New England’s Mac Jones. The Titans may well choose to sign a quarterback in the upcoming 2022 NFL Draft and having someone like Kelly to bring them along would be an asset.
If Davis Mills had been drafted where Justin Fields or Mac Jones were…would we look at it differently? He really seems competent enough.
—Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) December 26, 2021
While Kelly’s hiring isn’t guaranteed to fix all of the Titans’ offensive issues that surfaced in 2021, having another coach in the building with play-calling experience is an encouraging start. Kelly is now the fifth former Texans coach on the Titans coaching staff, joining head coach Mike Vrabel, defensive coordinator Shane Bowen, Pat O’Hara (QB) and Anthony Midget (DB).
Image courtesy of Troy Taormina – USA TODAY Sports