Jason Michael is the third offensive coordinator that Jake Locker will have had in four seasons as an NFL quarterback.
Michael, who joins Ken Whisenhunt's staff with the Tennessee Titans, said he hopes to provide some stability for the Titans quarterback, who is likely to retain his starting quarterback job to start the 2014 season provided he is healthy and ready following foot surgery in December.
Locker, Tennessee's first-round pick in 2011 and anointed quarterback of the future, first learned from veteran Chris Palmer, but he was fired two-thirds of the way through the 2012 season, Locker's first as a starter. He was replaced by quarterbacks coach Dowell Loggains, who kept the job through 2013, but was not retained when Mike Munchak was fired as head coach.
Enter Michael, who will have the offensive coordinator title, but will defer to Whisenhunt on play calls. Still, Michael has been busy settling into his new role, part of which will be to evaluate Locker's play and how to get the quarterback to the next level in his play. Michael said things will be streamlined in order to help Locker and the other offensive players to pick the new system up as quickly as possible.
“It's never an easy process, but hopefully this will be pretty stable from this point forward,” said Michael, who was previously tight ends coach for the San Diego Chargers. “I think Jake strikes me as the kind of player that will throw himself into it. I think our system is – and I'm sure everybody thinks their system is - fairly streamlined. We've tried to in the past do to things that are the least impactful on the players in them trying to learn and that'll be taken into consideration.”
Michael said he has watched about five games of Locker and the offense, but would like to see a full season's worth of tape before making a full evaluation of him and the Titans offense.
“That's a broad question to watching five games. ... Ask me again once we get a chance to get through a season. What we're trying to do is bring in a system and implement the system here to give us a chance to be consistent and win football games and create competition and whatever we have to do going forward,” Michael said.
Michael also said that his philosophy on offense will lean heavily first on Whisenhunt's system but that all the offensive staff could have some input as they tailor the system to fit the players available.
“When we came in last year, was was as fun a time as I've had in coaching. It really was,” Michael said. “It was an opportunity to sit and take what Coach Whisenhunt brought in from Arizona. No doubt, that's a starting position of what we did and he's mentioned the communication and all those things that are important to a staff. We sat down as a group and took what we did well in San Diego. For example, what Philip (Rivers) was comfortable with, what Antonio (Gates) had a comfort level with, and worked that into his system. That went around the table in terms of Coach (Mike) McCoy coming in with some ideas he brought from Denver.”