JOE BIDDLE: New Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt gives fans hope

JOE BIDDLE: New Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt gives fans hope (Image 1)

The ESPN Web headline from Adam Schefter's scoop was assuring: “Lions job is Whisenhunt's to lose.''

It should have read: Whisenhunt is the Lions' hire to lose.

Despite Detroit offering a more attractive roster with a proven quarterback in Matthew Stafford, an All-Pro wide receiver and fellow Georgia Tech alum Calvin Johnson to go with a foot-stomping defensive lineman Ndamukong Sue and former Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush, Whisenhunt found the Titans package more to his liking.

At his inaugural inquisition with the Music City media, several questions centered on just why Whisenhunt favored the Titans.

Are you kidding me? Detroit or Nashville? Where would you prefer to live? Where would you want to raise your family? Which city do you think Whisenhunt's Atlanta-born wife preferred?

“My kids love it here,'' he said of Nashville. “I can't beat around the bush with that, so that's definitely a bonus.''

Word on the street is the Titans also beat the Lions at the bank, giving Whisenhunt what is said to be $1 million a year more than the Lions offered.

Whisenhunt didn't offer many concrete answers when it came to when he would have his staff in place. He gave no names of who his defensive coordinator would be, but we did learn Whisenhunt will call the offensive plays. It is something he did as head coach at Arizona and this past season as offensive coordinator in San Diego.

He is always open for suggestions from his assistants and players.

“I think we have a base offense, we have a core offense that we're going to run. I've had success with it in a number of different places with a number of different players, but as you get the opportunity to work with coaches that you think are good coaches, they have ideas and you're always open to incorporating those ideas,'' Whisenhunt said.

He couldn't offer specifics on Titans personnel. After all, this is a coach whose team just lost a divisional playoff game on Sunday and was hired by the Titans less than 48 hours later. Like other coaches in the playoffs, they devote their undivided attention to their game plans, favorable matchups, making changes during the game.

His Titans plan will take shape in the coming days. He is a tireless worker and look for him to mold an impressive staff around him. Wednesday he retained some of the Titans staff. They included running backs coach Sylvester Croom and wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, two solid choices. They also are set with holdover special teams coaches Nate Kaczor and Steve Hoffman.

According to ESPN's Chris Mortensen and others, Browns defensive coordinator Ray Horton is Whisenhunt's top choice for defensive coordinator. They worked together in Pittsburgh and Horton was Whisenhunt's defensive coordinator his final two years in Arizona.

Whisenhunt learned a lot about himself after it didn't end well for him in Arizona, especially after quarterback Kurt Warner retired.

“We had a lot of young players and we had some injuries that put us in a tough position, but the team stuck together and they played hard. …The way I look at it in Arizona it was tough but the guys never quit and worked hard,'' Whisenhunt said.

“I think one of the important things is, you learn from it and I think I will do just that. We have had a little bit of success myself as a head coach and you always look back and think there are things you would like to do differently.''

Unless I miss my guess, Titans Nation will like what they get from Ken Whisenhunt.

Contact Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at

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