Terrell Williams Image credit: Tennessee Titans Youtube screenshot

Terrell Williams Acting As Titans HC Is How the Process Should Work


As the NFL’s preseason gets underway, the Tennessee Titans made big news to start the week when head coach Mike Vrabel announced that he would step aside Saturday and let assistant head coach/defensive line coach Terrell Williams handle the head coach duties in the team’s preseason game against the Chicago Bears.

An assistant handling head coaching duties in a preseason game shouldn’t be a major story, but it is because of the NFL’s continued dearth of Black head coaches.

But a positive one for sure.

If an assistant coach shows promise, he/she should be given the opportunity to gain experience in the positions they aspire to.

But for Black coaches, too often the pipeline to the head coaching positions is restricted.

This has been the case over the last few years in the NFL where over 20 combined head coaching vacancies reaped minuscule success for Black coaches.

Some, like David Culley and Lovie Smith, were set up to fail with the Texans. And although the team ultimately hired DeMeco Ryans this past offseason, the public humiliation of the two veteran, experienced and qualified coaches was evident.

Then there’s former Cardinals’ head coach Steve Wilks.

Wilks was given a talent-depleted roster and subsequently fired after one season in favor of Kliff Kingsbury, who ultimately posted a losing record after four years as the team’s head coach.

Then, after being named interim head coach of the Carolina Panthers, Wilks turned the team’s season around and almost won the NFC South and a playoff birth. Yet he was still passed over for new head coach Frank Reich.

And, of course, there’s former Dolphins head coach Brian Flores, who is currently embroiled in a lawsuit with the league after being shockingly and disturbingly fired for doing his job and winning.

These are all talented men with strong resumes that qualify them for head coaching jobs. Yet despite their success and the challenges they faced, they were all fired.

This is important to note for Vrabel is giving his assistant coach the opportunity to not only gain head coaching experience but also the opportunity to be seen as a head coach during a game.

Continue reading over at First and Pen.

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