Titans meet with coach candidates

Updated: February 4, 2011, 6:32 PM ET
Associated Press

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans have interviewed their first candidates outside of their own building in the search for a new head coach, talking to Atlanta offensive coordinator Mike Mularkey and New York Giants defensive coordinator Perry Fewell.

The Titans confirmed Friday they completed formal interviews with Mularkey and Fewell. The team is not commenting any further until they conclude the search to replace Jeff Fisher.

Mularkey is the first candidate interviewed by Tennessee who has been a head coach. By interviewing Fewell, the Titans satisfied the Rooney rule by talking with a minority candidate.

This is the second head coaching job Mularkey has interviewed for this year. He interviewed with the Browns before they hired Pat Shurmur, though he also canceled an interview with Denver.

Mularkey went 14-18 with Buffalo from 2004-05 before resigning in 2006 due to philosophical differences with the head office. He started coaching in the NFL in Tampa Bay before moving to Pittsburgh for eight seasons, the last three as offensive coordinator, where he mentored Kordell Stewart and Tommy Maddox.

He has been in Atlanta the past three seasons grooming quarterback Matt Ryan to the AP NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year award in 2008. Ryan led the Falcons to a 13-3 record and the NFC's No. 1 seed this season.

This is Fewell's fourth interview this offseason for a head coaching job, after he talked with Carolina, Cleveland and Denver.

The 48-year-old coach spent 2010 as defensive coordinator with the Giants. He had been defensive coordinator in Buffalo under Dick Jauron until he was fired, and Fewell was interim head coach of the Bills for the final seven games, going 3-4.

The North Carolina native started coaching in college and is familiar with Nashville from his stint at Vanderbilt, where he coached the secondary from 1995-97.

Tom Coughlin hired Fewell in Jacksonville in 1998 as his defensive backs coach, and he stayed in that job through 2002. Fewell coached St. Louis' secondary in 2003-04 and was with Chicago in 2005, when the Bears had an NFC-best 24 interceptions with Pro Bowl selections in Nathan Vasher and Mike Brown.

Fewell went to Buffalo as Jauron's defensive coordinator in 2006, running the Bills' 3-4 defense. It allowed only 14 touchdown passes in his last two seasons, and the Bills tied for fifth in the NFL with 33 takeaways. That's a category the Titans struggled in this season.

Coughlin hired Fewell again in January 2010 as his defensive coordinator.

The Titans started the search by interviewing offensive line coach Mike Munchak, considered the top candidate for the job, and offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger earlier this week.


Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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