MOBILE, Ala. _ Tennessee Titans coach Mike Munchak said he appreciated the contributions Dave McGinnis has made to him and the Titans organization over the years, and that he welcomes Keith Millard to the staff as a solid addition.
McGinnis agreed this week to join former Titans coach Jeff Fisher's staff in St. Louis in a similar assistant coaching role as an advisor like he was for Munchak in 2011. McGinnis' contract was up, making him free to negotiate with any club in the league, so it was no surprise that Fisher pursued him to join the Rams.
“He was a great help to me. I haven't met anyone that doesn't like Dave McGinnis,” Munchak said at the Senior Bowl here. He's been very successful in every stage, as a head coach, a position coach, a coordinator and even with us last year as more of an assistant. He really helped me in a lot of ways as a new head coach, as a guy I could go to and ask questions of.
“I know he helped the defense quite a bit and helped on game day up in the booth. He helped out upstairs in the front office with personnel. I think he enjoyed the role. I think that's a role he enjoyed and I'm assuming he's going to do that with Coach Fisher.”
McGinnis joined the Titans as linebackers coach in 2004 and held that role until Fisher's run with the Titans ended. Following that, Munchak retained him as a senior assistant.
McGinnis' spot on staff will be taken by Millard, the former Minnesota Vikings star, who has coached in Tampa Bay, Denver and Oakland. His role and title will be vastly different, as he will be the Titans' pass rush specialist and defensive assistant.
“I'm excited about him. I think the players will really enjoy him. Last year when I interviewed for the job, I had a position for another defensive assistant, who wasn't necessarily a defensive line assistant, but an ex-player kind of guy who could teach pass rush and help with the defensive line and the linebackers,” Munchak said. “I feel it's an art that only a few really understand it, and he's one that does. He's already been in the league for about eight or nine years with three different teams and he's helped develop a lot of players.”
Munchak said Millard should be a good fit for the defense.
“A lot of times ex-players can't teach what they do well, but he does it well. He' still very intense and very into it. He's high energy. I think he'll be great for our staff. He's a guy that'll fit in,” he said. “He's not worried about what his position is or what his title is. He knows he's a pass rush specialist. But he understands the full game, that it's not just about pass rush.
“I played against him and knew what a great player he was. He played the run, and he realized if you didn't play the run, you didn't get a chance to rush the passer. It's that mindset that he's not a guy that's all about pass rush, he understands that being on the defensive line means being a complete player like he was.”
The Titans now have just one spot open on the staff, an offensive quality control position that will be filled likely next week. Munchak spoke with some potential candidates at the Senior Bowl before departing on Wednesday. He is scheduled to attend the memorial service for former Penn State coach Joe Paterno, who died on Sunday.
“That's something we'll probably get to next week. I've got a lot of options there to find someone you can develop into being a coach that can be there a year or two and move into a position,” Munchak said. “We're just kind of looking at different guys that are available for that. I'm excited about the staff. We got three good hires and I'm really excited about all three of them, and it should help. The players should like all three of these guys, and it adds a little more flavor to the staff.”