Syndication: The Tennessean
Denny Simmons / The Tennessean

A new era of Tennessee Titans football began Thursday, as the franchise introduced Brian Callahan as their new head coach. Callahan served as the offensive coordinator with the Cincinnati Bengals for the past five seasons. He has been to multiple Super Bowls as an assistant during the course of his coaching career, and helped coach some of the best quarterbacks in the league, including Joe Burrow, Peyton Manning and Matthew Stafford

This is an offseason of change for the Titans. Tennessee has a prospective franchise quarterback in Will Levis, the No. 7 overall pick in the 2024 NFL Draft, the second-most cap space in the NFL and a new power structure, which included a promotion for general manager Ran Carthon. 

At 39 years old, Callahan is the sixth-youngest head coach in the NFL. Tennessee is hoping for a collaborative effort that will help escort this franchise where it wants to go. Carthon told reporters that "hunting at the same time isn't the same as hunting together. And under Brian Callahan, we will be going out and hunting together."

Here are a few key takeaways from Callahan's introductory press conference as the new head coach of the Tennessee Titans:

True mutual interest: To hold an NFL head coaching position is one of the best gigs in sports, whether that be in Tennessee, Carolina, Atlanta or Las Vegas. However, during this process, the Titans made a big-time impact on Callahan, who said he felt an "unbelievable connection to the people in the room" from their first meeting to their last, and that he had an "instant connection" with 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. It felt like that from the very beginning. I'm thankful that they felt the same way. 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. The relationships felt right, the energy felt right...

"If you guys could feel the way I felt, after that first Zoom meeting I was about to call Ran and be like, 'Alright man, let's get it done! I don't care what anybody -- you can talk to whoever you want to, but I want it done now.' And that's how I felt. It was very important to me that this was the place I wanted to be, and again, I'm very thankful that they felt the same way."

His work with Peyton Manning: "I've been incredibly fortunate to be around great players, and those guys all bring something different and unique. When you talk about Peyton Manning and his incredible ability to prepare, the attention to detail that he brought every single day. The intensity that he went about his job. Those years I was with him showed me what a great quarterback should look like. And not everybody is going to be him, nor is anyone expected to be. But the foundation of how he went about his business was pretty incredible, and I've taken that everywhere I've gone."

His work with Matthew Stafford and Joe Burrow: "Matthew's a great player in his own right, and I learned that Matthew is very different from Peyton, but they were also great players, and you let those players be themselves. And I didn't try to make Matthew do anything that he didn't want to do. He's not Peyton Manning. Their personalities are different, but they're both great players. And what I learned, Matthew was an incredibly tough player. I've never seen a locker room rally around a player like him the way that they did when I was with him in Detroit. He's one of the toughest competitors I've ever been around. And so you see these traits everywhere you go and you start to realize what it takes for quarterbacks to be successful. 

"Joe Burrow, been around a different version of Joe. I got Joe as a young player. A lot of these guys were veteran players when I was around them. And Joe's a remarkable, remarkable player. He's got a great feel for the game, and so to have an environment as a young player where he was growing and having conversations about what he liked and didn't like really helped me learn how to be flexible with the approach for those players and put them in position to do well. As far as how they go about their daily routine, what they like conceptually and schematically, those conversations in the quarterback room are able to help foster hopefully a lot of success."

What is your coaching style?: "My coaching style is consistent. My demeanor is pretty consistent. I pride myself on being a great teacher. That's first and foremost. As a coach, that's all you really care about is how well can you teach and articulate to the players what they need to do. I have plenty of intensity. I'm a pretty laid-back demeanor most of the time as you guys will see, but when it's time to make corrections and bring the energy as necessary, I can do that. But my coaching style is a teaching coaching style."

Blocking and protecting the quarterback: The Titans offensive line was one of the worst in the NFL last season, and Callahan worked with struggling offensive lines before in Cincinnati. He was asked about this topic Thursday. 

"There's a lot of things that go into protection. Some of it starts with as simple as, you gotta go win. You gotta win vs. tight coverage. Protection is an everybody problem. The quarterback has got to get rid of the ball on time, they have to work through progressions quickly. So to say specifically the offensive line needs to fix the protection problem, I don't agree with that. I think it's a wholistic offensive issue if you have protection problems and there's a lot of ways you can help weaknesses, highlight strengths and everybody is involved with the process."

Will you be the offensive play-caller? And how big of a transition will that be for you?: "Yes I will. Not a big one at all. The way we worked in Cincinnati, very collaborative. I've been with Zac (Taylor) 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, because when you have an offensive staff that you trust and guys do a great job with their areas of expertise, our third down, our red zone. By the time you get to Sunday, the game plan is mainly set. Now where guys earn their stripes is when you have to adjust and adapt mid-flow of a game. And that's where you have to have great people involved in the game plan. But I don't see it as a big adjustment. It's going to be a collaborative approach on offense."

His father, Bill: Callahan is the son of Bill Callahan, a former NFL head coach and current offensive line coach with the Cleveland Browns. With his son being hired as a lead man, many speculated he could join Brian in Nashville.

"He's under contract. There's nothing I can say to that either way." 

How much was having Will Levis here attractive for you?: "That part is attractive. I thought that Will was a really good player coming out of college, and I thought when you watched him play this year you saw growth. You saw him learn. The NFL is hard. It's hard on quarterbacks, it's particularly hard on young ones. 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."

What he learned from his experiences in Cincinnati. What it takes to turn things around: "A lot of adversity in those early years. We didn't quite have the roster to compete with some of the teams we were playing against, but we saw in those dark days the core of what our team was going to be. There's a lot of players there in that first and second season that are still there now and that were there for sort of the 'glory' of it. I learned that when that adversity strikes, consistency. Zac was an incredibly consistent leader. We just kept hammering the message, and we believed in what was happening even though the wins weren't taking place. There wasn't the tangible evidence that, 'This is what's happening,' but we felt it. We saw it in the locker room. We knew at some point as we kept building our roster that we were going to be a really good football team. Our players believed it, our coaches believed it and those are good lessons to be through some of those lean years. I mean 0-11 was not a fun place to be. But we learned a lot from it and really the foundation of what our team became two years later was a lot of guys that had went through that process. So you learn a lot about people when things are tough, we learned a lot about the guys on that football team and there was a lot of them that were incredibly high character, loved playing football and they helped us get out of those times as well. You learn the most when things aren't going very well. Everyone can be positive when you're winning a bunch of football games. Those were intense learning experiences for me."