Mike Munchak insisted Monday that he would not fire any member of his coaching staff unless he first had some clear sense of whom he might be able to hire instead.
“You want to see who’s better,” the Tennessee Titans head coach said. “It’s good for everybody. It’s good for your coaching staff. … There are more opportunities this time of year when there’s more coaches available. You can’t always get who you want, but yeah, you want to make decisions as quick as you can.”
Following multiple reports Thursday that running backs coach Jim Skipper’s contract would not be renewed, therefore, the obvious question is who might be his replacement.
In his two years on the job, Munchak has focused on two things when it has come to hiring assistants. There are those who had distinguished playing careers in the NFL (i.e. defensive assistant Keith Millard and secondary coach Brett Maxie). There also are those with whom he worked or played at some point (linebackers coach Frank Bush, special teams assistant Chet Parlevecchio). Or there’s some who have done both (defensive coordinator Jerry Gray, offensive line coach Bruce Matthews, secondary assistant Steve Brown).
With that in mind, it seems there is no shortage of candidates from staffs that recently fired their head coaches.
Here’s a look at some possibilities:
• Gary Brown was the Cleveland Browns running backs coach for the past three seasons. He played the first five of his eight NFL seasons with the Houston Oilers and rushed for 1,002 yards in 1993, Munchak’s final season as a player.
• Maurice Carthon was the assistant head coach with Kansas City, where he also coached running backs. He had an eight-year career as a fullback, primarily with the New York Giants, who won two Super Bowls in his seven seasons.
• Ollie Wilson was the running backs coach for the San Diego Chargers since 2008 and alternated between there and the Atlanta Falcons (he did two stints with each team) since 1991. He broke into the NFL coaching ranks through the minority coaching internship, including time with the Houston Oilers during Munchak’s playing days.
• Tim Spencer was the Chicago Bears running backs coach since 2004 and spent three seasons as a player in the USFL and another five — four as a starter — in the NFL. Before he became an NFL assistant, he was the running backs coach at Ohio State, where he helped former Titans great Eddie George win the Heisman Trophy.
Those are some obvious ones but hardly the only ones.
“I’m aware of who is out there,” Munchak said. “You keep track of those things — whose contracts are up, for coaches that even are still not fired. … Things like that, you’re going to continually look at what’s out there, what makes you better [and] is a good fit for what we have.”