Munchak hires new assistants

Associated Press  |  Last updated January 17, 2013
Dowell Loggains will remain the offensive coordinator for Tennessee, and coach Mike Munchak has hired three new assistants - Sylvester Croom, Shawn Jefferson and George Henshaw. Munchak announced a handful of coaching moves Thursday. ''The goal in every decision I have made has been to do whatever I believe puts us in the best position to win this year,'' Munchak said in a statement. ''I believe with the new coaches that we have added and some shuffling of the current coaches, we have made our staff better. We were able to add proven coaches and by moving others around, it will change the dynamic in the meeting rooms and on the field.'' Titans owner Bud Adams decided to keep Munchak for a third season after a 6-10 season. Munchak responded by studying his coaching staff over the past two weeks, and he decided not to keep linebackers coach Frank Bush, running backs coach Jim Skipper and tight ends coach John Zernhelt. His biggest move was not renewing a contract for the designer of the Music City Miracle play, and letting Alan Lowry leave after 17 seasons, the last 14 coaching special teams. Croom, head coach at Mississippi State between 2004 and 2008, brings 21 years of experience coaching in the NFL. Croom coached running backs last season at Jacksonville and also was offensive coordinator for Detroit between 1997 and 2000. Croom coached Steven Jackson in St. Louis between 2009 and 2011, a stretch that included two Pro Bowls. He'll be working with Chris Johnson, who made a pitch earlier Thursday on Twitter for Munchak to bring back Earnest Byner, his first position coach with the Titans. Loggains worked as offensive coordinator the final five games of the season after Munchak fired Chris Palmer on Nov. 26. With Loggains moving to offensive coordinator, Dave Ragone moves from coaching receivers to Loggains' old spot as quarterbacks coach. Henshaw will be Tennessee's new tight ends coach, rejoining a franchise in the same job he held for nine seasons from 1997 to 2005. His tight ends caught 845 passes, most in the NFL in that stretch. Jefferson originally was a ninth-round pick by the then-Houston Oilers in 1991, and he played 13 NFL seasons with San Diego, New England, Atlanta and Detroit. He will coach receivers, the same job he had with the Detroit Lions. He worked the past five seasons with Calvin Johnson, who led the NFL with 7,080 yards and 50 touchdown catches in that time. Nate Kaczor is moving from assistant offensive line coach with Bruce Matthews to special teams in replacing Lowry. Chet Parlavecchio will move from special teams assistant to coaching linebackers. Munchak now has to fill those two spots, though the biggest question remains Jerry Gray's future as defensive coordinator after the Titans gave up a franchise-worst 471 points. The Titans coach defended Gray the day after the season ended and said only that he is always looking to improve his staff in his statement. ''So it is still a work in progress,'' Munchak said. Notes: The Titans also signed QB Nathan Enderle to a futures contract. The 6-foot-4, 240-pound Enderle was the fifth-round draft pick by Chicago out of Idaho in 2011 and spent that season on the Bears' roster. Chicago waived him last June, and he spent training camp with Jacksonville before being cut before the season. Enderle threw for 10,084 yards and 81 touchdowns in 45 games as a four-year starter at Idaho.
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