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Chow’s Exit: One Man’s Take

As I noted earlier, the Titans fired offensive coordinator Norm Chow. The news came as somewhat of a surprise, at least to me, some others, and, apparently, Chow himself. Plus, per Chow’s comments to the Tennessean, the way it was handled doesn’t seem very well done. A three-minute phone conversation, with no previous indications of why was wrong, what should be changed, or why? Either Chow’s being misleading or there’s been some sort of shift in the power structure or Chow was found too obdurate to change. None of those seems to me to reflect well on the Titans’ organization.
This move raises 3 major questions:
1. Who made the decision to fire Chow?
2. Who replaces Chow as offensive coordinator?
3. What effect will this have on Vince Young’s development?
Here’s my take on each issue:
1. This doesn’t feel like a Fisher move. There’s the USC connection. As Floyd Reese is fond to recount, Fisher and Chow jointly overruled Reese in deciding to take LenDale White instead of Devin Hester in the second round of the 2006 draft. This feels to me more like a move to break up some of the Titans’ “USC mafia,” and perhaps to get away from a groupthink. In this way, it looks more like Bud Adams or GM Mike Reinfeldt. Keep in mind, though, that the Titans recently re-upped with Fisher in a significant long-term way. Remember, too, it’s Fisher that’s still around, and Floyd Reese, last I checked, was still working for ESPN. When you win a power struggle like that, you normally accumulate some traditional powers. My guess is that this was Fisher’s decision, made for reasons I’m not sure of.
2. The big name out there is former Titans OC Mike Heimerdinger. Per the Tennessean, the Titans contacted the Broncos about getting permission to talk to him. Now, I’m not sure why the Broncos would do this. Heimerdinger’s title is “Associate Head Coach/Quarterbacks,” that first part of the title is in there precisely so teams can’t swoop in and grab him as the offensive coordinator. The only reason it makes a little bit of sense is that Mike Shanahan may be feeling a little bit of pressure from Pat Bowlen, and letting Heimerdinger go is a change. Still, the Broncos drafted Jay Cutler the same time the Titans drafted Young. Cutler was better than Young this year, but it still seems odd the Broncos would possibly be willing to take away somebody who’d helped the future of the team so. I know there are buddy-buddy networks I don’t know of, so I can’t dismiss the possibility, but it just doesn’t make sense to me. And, no, contrary to my mention of him earlier, I don’t think Les Steckel has a serious chance to get another chance.
3. I really don’t know what effect this’ll have on VY’s development. I don’t have a clue what happened to VY this past year. Part of it was the surrounding talent, but part of it I believe was definitely his fault. I don’t know how much of VY’s development falls on QB Coach Craig Johnson, and how much on Chow. I’m sure neither is fully responsible, and neither can be fully absolved from blame. Without knowing what sort of relationship Young and Chow had, and who’ll be the next OC, it’s tough to answer this question with much confidence. Probably less than acquiring a premium WR would help, I’d guess.
Stay tuned to Total Titans, where we’ll be keeping track of further developments.