Brian Callahan has been around some great quarterbacks in his 14 years as an NFL assistant coach.
As he takes over as head coach of the Tennessee Titans and starts calling plays for the first time, he is hoping second-year quarterback Will Levis becomes something akin to Peyton Manning, Matthew Stafford or Joe Burrow.
“I’ve been incredibly fortunate to be around great players, and those guys all bring something different and unique,” Callahan said in his introductory press conference Thursday.
He said taking over an offense that features Levis, a second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft, “is attractive. I thought that Will was a really good player coming out of (Kentucky), and I thought when you watched him play this year you saw growth. …
“I saw a lot of really positive things, some of the throws, some of his competitive instincts that he put on tape were really impressive. So I’m excited to dive more into that and how can he get better from Year 1 to Year 2 and keep putting him in position to find success so we can score some points on offense.”
In nine starts in 2023, Levis produced three wins and completed 58.4 percent of his passes for 1,808 yards with eight touchdown passes and four interceptions.
Callahan, 39, had been the offensive coordinator for the Bengals since 2019, but head coach Zac Taylor had called plays in Cincinnati. So this will be the first time Callahan has full control of an offense. He said it won’t be a big transition.
“The way we worked in Cincinnati (was) very collaborative,” he said. “I’ve been with Zac for five years, working with him as the primary play-caller and me as the offensive coordinator. I feel really great about the process. Part of that is bringing in great people to help me. And that’s a huge part of our next couple weeks is finding those people. … It’s going to be a collaborative approach on offense.”
Callahan also said he had an “instant connection” with general manager Ran Carthon.
“Just the connection from the get-go was incredible, and I knew that it was going to be a place that I wanted to call home,” said Callahan, who coached as an assistant in Denver, Detroit and Oakland before arriving in Cincinnati.
“I was about to make an impassioned plea to Ran as our meeting was concluding on Monday evening, and it turns out I didn’t have to do that. They wanted me about exactly the same way that I wanted them. Everything felt right.”