NASHVILLE – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has finalized his coaching staff for 2020, and the final addition is a veteran coach with an impressive resume – Jim Haslett.
Haslett, a 24-year coaching veteran, has been hired as the team's new inside linebackers coach.
Also on Thursday, the team changed titles for several returning coaches – Ryan Crow (assistant special teams), Matt Edwards (defensive assistant), and Scott Booker (safeties).
Last week, the Titans hired former Texans assistant Anthony Midget as secondary coach.
"Adding quality coaches to our staff has always been my priority with the ability to teach, develop and inspire," Vrabel said. "I have known Jim (Haslett) since my rookie season at Pittsburgh and was impressed with how he taught and developed the players on our defense. Over his career, he has experience and success as a head coach, defensive coordinator and linebacker coach. Anthony (Midget) was a coach I worked alongside at the Texans. He brings great experience in our defensive system along with great energy and passion for his players. We are excited to enhance our defensive staff and be better teachers and developers of our players."
As for the defensive coordinator spot that opened up following the retirement of Dean Pees, Vrabel said this to Titans Online last week when asked about the defensive play-caller for 2020:
"I am going to try and do what is best for the team," Vrabel said. "I would say to bring in a guy who hasn't been in our system and done what we have done in Houston or here isn't what I want to do. So whoever calls the defense, we are going to do pretty much what we have done. We are going to continue to add and enhance things. ... I want guys that are loyal, that are great teachers and good developers."
Haslett joins the Titans after spending three seasons (2016-18) as the linebacker coach for the Bengals. Haslett also has 12 seasons of experience as an NFL coordinator – New Orleans (1996), Pittsburgh (1997-99), St. Louis (2006-08) and Washington (2010-14).
As the defensive coordinator at Pittsburgh, he coached Vrabel and led defenses that finished in the top 12 in yards allowed in all three seasons. Haslett also spent five seasons (2000-05) as the head coach for the Saints, where he earned AP Coach of the Years honors in 2000 after improving the team's record from 3-13 to 10-6 in his first season at the helm. He also had stints as a head coach in 2008, on an interim basis with the St. Louis Rams, and for the Florida Tuskers in the United Football League in 2009. Overall, Haslett also spent six years as an NFL linebackers coach – L.A. Raiders (1993-94), New Orleans (1995) and Cincinnati (2016-18).
Haslett, a four-time little All-America defensive player (LB and DE) at Indiana (Pa.) University, was a second-round draft pick by the Buffalo Bills in the 1979 NFL Draft. Haslett earned AP Defensive Rookie of the Year honors and was an All-Pro selection in 1980. He played eight NFL seasons (1979-87) – seven with Buffalo and one with the New York Jets – and totaled 86 NFL starts and 94 games played.
Haslett holds the distinction as being the only person recognized as a College Football Hall of Fame member (as a player), an Associated Press NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year and an AP NFL Coach of the Year.