SAN FRANCISCO —Former Steelers coach Bill Cowher looks at the Titans and sees "Pittsburgh South."
Led by a "special quarterback," Cowher believes the Titans could also be a team on the rise.
Mike Mularkey, Cowher's long-time assistant with the Steelers, was named the team's head coach last month. Former Pittsburgh assistants Dick LeBeau (defensive coordinator), Russ Grimm (offensive line), Bob Bratkowski (receivers), and Lou Spanos (linebackers) are on the Titans staff, along with Deshea Townsend, one of Cowher's former players who was recently hired as defensive backs coach.
"All of these guys are good,'' Cowher said on Monday from a CBS media availability at Super Bowl 50. "Mike will put his trademark on it, he'll put his stamp on what they want to do and I think he'll do a good job. They have a good young quarterback in (Marcus) Mariota. I hope he does well."
Mularkey replaced Ken Whisenhunt as interim head coach during the 2015 season, and last month was named the permanent head coach. Mularkey served as tight ends coach under Cowher from 1996-2000, and was Pittsburgh's offensive coordinator from 2001-03.
Cowher coached the Steelers from 1992-2006.
"Mike is a good offensive coordinator and I think he relates well to players. There's no question he has earned it down there,'' Cowher said. "Personally, I think it was a little quick with Ken Whisenhunt, playing a rookie quarterback, I thought they pulled the hook on him kind of quick.
"But I like Mike, I respect him, and I think he'll do a good job. I know he brought Bob Bratkowski with him and he has been a coordinator in the league for a long time and he's a good coach. I think Mike understands, this is his third time and he has been a head coach before and he has a special quarterback and hopefully he can get it turned around."
Mularkey previously had head coaching opportunities with the Bills (2004-2005) and one season with the Jaguars (2012).
Cowher said the Panthers provide a perfect example of teams being successful when exercising patience with a head coach.
"Go back to Ron Rivera – (he was) 6-10 and 7-9 his first two years and 1-3 to start his third year. Maybe in today's world he gets fired after the fourth game,'' Cowher said. "Ron Rivera is a great story about patience. This is a story hopefully people can look at."