Latest coaching move a sign Titans plan to move on from one veteran?

Monday, February 18, 2013 at 4:39pm

Mike Munchak completed his coaching staff Monday with a move that might just signal the end of Rob Bironas’ tenure with the franchise.

Steve Hoffman, who successfully has developed kickers in the NFL since 1989, was named assistant special teams coach and Arthur Smith was promoted to offensive line/tight ends assistant. Smith had spent the last two seasons as a Titans quality control assistant, one on offense and one on defense.

The addition of Hoffman is intriguing given the fact that Bironas, 35, is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent a little less than a month from now. On top of that Munchak fired long-time special teams coach Alan Lowry, the only one Bironas has had, last month.

Hoffman first became an NFL assistant when he was named kicking coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He held that position for 16 seasons, and during that time eight different players led that team in kicking, including Ken Willis, Lin Elliott, Chris Boniol, Richie Cunningham, Tim Seder and Billy Cundiff — all of whom were rookies when they joined the Cowboys.

In the last seven years Hoffman has worked for four different franchises, most recently Oakland. In his one season with the Raiders Sebastian Janikowski made 31 of 34 field goal attempts (a career-high 91.2 percent), including all 25 inside of 50 yards.

Before the Raiders, he spent three years with Kansas City. In his first season with the Chiefs, 2009, Ryan Succop tied the highest field goal percentage by an NFL rookie since the 1970 merger when he made 86.2 percent of his kicks. Hoffman also spent two years with Miami, the second of which he worked with then-rookie kicker Dan Carpenter, and one with Atlanta.

Munchak offered no comment on Hoffman’s addition.

Lowry had been the Titans special teams coach since 1999. During his time in that role return men Derrick Mason and Marc Mariani and Bironas all made Pro Bowl appearances.

Nate Kaczor, Tennessee’s assistant offensive line coach in 2012, replaced Lowry. It is the first time he has held that role in a coaching career that dates back to 1991.

Bironas, the Titans kicker since 2005, is fifth all-time in the NFL for career field goals percentage at 85.6. That is down from 86.3 at the start of the 2012 season, when he had a career-high six missed attempts.

He has topped 100 points in each of his last six seasons, and his 916 points are second in franchise history to Al Del Greco’s 1,060.

The Titans have the option to put a franchise tag on Bironas or to negotiate a new deal with him before the start of the free agency signing period, March 12.

The addition of Hoffman, however, suggests they are prepared to have much less experience at that position this fall.

6 Comments on this post:

By: courier37027 on 2/18/13 at 3:56

As Titans fans may attest, the field goal is be the best offensive weapon this team can offer. Radio play-by-play guy needs more reasons to scream for a sponsored three-pointer.

By: Rasputin72 on 2/18/13 at 4:07

Being a rabid fan of a franchise with one Super Bowl appearance in 53 years is blue collar job for sure.

By: global_citizen on 2/19/13 at 8:56

How many NFL teams have a kicker capable of scoring a 60-yard field goal? How many teams have a creative special teams coach capable of designing plays like the Music City Miracle?

More evidence that this is a team destined to disappoint.

By: jwk6179 on 2/19/13 at 9:35

How many teams have a creative special teams coach capable of designing plays like the Music City Miracle?

The Music City Miracle was a FLUKE play that worked the only time they ran it and Titan fans and Alan Lowery have been living off that play for the past 15 seasons. If the play had not worked or if Frank Wychek had been called for an illegal forward pass, would the Titans fans still be talking about that play today? Most Titan fans are like most Alabama fans before Nick Sabin became head coach, living off the memory Bear Bryant for 25 years after his death.

By: TITAN1 on 2/19/13 at 2:40

But it DID work, jw! LOL! Only opposing fans call it a fluke. It has been recorded as one of the top plays in the NFL. courier, you must look like a Christmas tree. Red with jealously and green with envy. I am sorry they took away your game passes, but I guess you just weren't up to par! LOL!

By: jwk6179 on 2/21/13 at 9:55

How many NFL teams have a kicker capable of scoring a 60-yard field goal?

I didn't realize that Rob Bironas was as old as he is. Most kickers start losing distance in their kicks by the time they reach their mid 30s. Al Del Greco was a fairly good kicker but by the end of his career, he had difficultly make 40 yard FG, let alone 60 yarders. When Gary Andersen was with the Titans, any FG longer than 35 yards or so, Craig Hentrich had to attempt. Same goes with other great kickers in the league (Adam Venitieri, Morton Andersen), once they hit their mid 30s, they could no longer consistently hit FGs of 45 yards or so. With Bironas being 35, it will be just a matter of time when a 45 yrd FG is out of his range.