Todd Downing talks slow starts and the role of Tim Kelly


Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing is in a similar position in 2022 as defensive coordinator Shane Bowen entered the 2021 campaign.

Downing oversaw what was Tennessee’s weakest link in 2021. The offense fell far short of expectations last season thanks to a combination of injuries, poor play and bad play calls.

One of the biggest problems with the Titans offense in 2021 was its slow starts, something that became routine even when Tennessee was at its best offensively the past two seasons.

Downing acknowledged it was a problem last season when he spoke to the media on Wednesday ahead of Organized Team Activities (OTA), but did not elaborate on how he plans to fix the issue.

Speaking of the aforementioned injuries, Downing said he learned not to fall in love with one type of training too much because it’s unclear who will be available on a weekly basis.

Despite the difficulties on offense, Downing was able to keep his job for at least another season, much to the chagrin of Titans fans who want him gone.

However, the Titans didn’t just sit around. Tennessee has tapped former Houston Texans offensive coordinator Tim Kelly to serve as the passing game coordinator in 2022.

Downing thinks having Kelly, who should also have at least some contribution on offense, will be invaluable to him.

“It’s great to add [Tim Kelly]said Downing. “He’s a great footballing spirit and obviously a fantastic person, someone who has connections in this building. It kind of helps to integrate him a bit quicker.

“For me, it was spectacular to have another sounding board, someone to discuss ideas with, to be able to see things in a different way if something isn’t clear how we want to do it. landing the plane, so to speak, on an idea,” Downing added. “So that’s been really valuable and I’m looking forward to working with him.”

Downing is familiar with the role Kelly plays, as he had a similar role on the Minnesota Vikings coaching staff. Downing went into detail about what Kelly’s role will be.

“I had a similar role when I first went to the Vikings in 2018,” Downing said. “I had just become a coordinator and I was trying to help [offensive coordinator] John DeFilippo in this role before tragedy changed my responsibilities.

“But I had some familiarity with what that might look like and what I was able to help Coach DeFilippo with, and so that kind of helped that transition,” Downing continued. “I think, again, being able to look at things from a different angle, maybe bring some new ideas, some things that maybe we haven’t integrated before.”

The interesting dynamic between Downing and Kelly is that the former could be replaced by the latter at some point, and possibly sooner rather than later if the Tennessee offense struggles in 2022.


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