The Tennessee Titans shuffled their front office on Wednesday, promoting general manager Mike Reinfeldt to chief operating officer, and Ruston Webster, who had been vice president of player personnel, as the team's new general manager.
Also, Lake Dawson will move up to be the vice president of player personnel in Tennessee, shifting over from being vice president of football operations.
This was a move that had been speculated behind the scenes for some time, dating back at least to when Steve Underwood announced his retirement last year.
“I want to thank Mr. Adams for naming me to this position,” Reinfeldt said. “I look forward to further integrating all of our departments and believe a lot of good will stem from this move. I am really happy for Ruston, because he is ready to be a general manager and I expect he will excel in that role.”
Reinfeldt wholeheartedly endorsed Webster as his successor in running the football side of the organization as both men interviewed for the GM position after Floyd Reese was let go.
"All of the things that make a good GM, he’s very capable of doing those things," Reinfeldt said. "I saw him work in Seattle, and I saw him work here. Honestly, they probably should have hired him instead of me."
Reinfeldt, a former Houston Oilers player, came back to the organization in 2007 as general manager, a position he held for five seasons. He will now oversee the entire Nashville portion of the operation and report directly to Titans owner Bud Adams in Houston.
Webster, a veteran in the front offices with both Seattle and Tampa Bay, came to Tennessee in 2010 and quickly established himself as a respected personnel man in terms of the draft and other matters within the organization.
“I really feel like a lot of things that we’re going to do and my job is going to entail, I’ve already been doing,” Webster said. “I told Vin Marino (who negotiates contracts) today he and I have to get together and have a nice, long talk about our salary cap and some things along those lines. Otherwise, we’re going to meet with the coaches. We’re going to start making, not decisions, but start the process of making decisions on our roster and just go forward that way.”
Webster had plenty of input into the Titans' 2011 draft class that early on looked to be one of the strongest the team has had in a number of years.
“With this shuffle, we really have the best of both worlds – as you might remember our final two candidates when we were filling the general manager position five years ago were Mike and Ruston Webster,” Adams said. “We now have both of them working for us and Ruston will take over the general manager role.”
Dawson came with Reinfeldt from Seattle and had been a candidate to become the general manager of the St. Louis Rams, but apparently will stay put with this promotion, although Webster didn't completely squash Dawson's candidacy for the Rams GM post.
"Lake is destined to be a GM here at some point. We’re planning on him being around a while, so …," Webster said.
Titans coach MIke Munchak applauded the move on Wednesday.
“This is a great decision by Mr. Adams to keep a group of good people together. Ruston is a ready for this job," Munchak said. "He did a great job last year with the draft – organizing things, involving all of the parties, evaluating the talent, communicating through the draft process. His greatest access is his ability to evaluate talent and I expect that to continue and look forward to working with him. Ruston also will benefit from having Mike as a resource and a sounding board.”
In terms of personnel, Reinfeldt said the Titans will continue to function as a unit, but said that Webster will have final say on matters of personnel.
"Ultimately that’s always a tough question because it’s the owner ultimately at any of the 32 clubs," Reinfeldt said. "But I think we’re set up, we’re kind of a GM-driven team, and the GM gets input from people. His job is to get consensus, but at the end of the day, those decisions are within the scope of what he’s expected to do."