Washburn's departure forces change for Titans' D-line

Wednesday, January 19, 2011 at 3:00pm

Jeff Fisher made it clear a day after the season-ending loss to the Indianapolis Colts that he was not happy with the performance of his defensive line.

In particular, the Tennessee Titans’ coach expressed concern about what he felt was an inordinate number of offside penalties, which spoke to a lack of discipline.

“It is the nature of the way we play defense, it is all about getting the edge and getting a jump and beating the snap count,” Fisher said at the time. “There is a trade-off for a few penalties, if you are getting sacks, but when the penalty numbers get high as they did in consecutive games there is no excuse for it.”

Now it’s up to Fisher to find someone to fix the problem.

Jim Washburn, the Titans’ defensive line coach since 1999, was hired Wednesday by the Philadelphia Eagles to fill that same role.

"Words cannot express the gratitude I have for Jeff Fisher and the Titans' organization for allowing a nobody like me to coach in the NFL for the last 12 years,” Washburn said. “An opportunity came along for me to join the Eagles and I felt like it was good timing. At this stage of my career, I'm ready to make a change.

“This is no reflection on the state of the Titans but just a good opportunity for me.”

The Titans were one of eight NFL teams that had at least 40 sacks during the 2010 regular season. Defensive end Jason Babin was sixth individually with 12.5 and was the only member of the Tennessee defense to earn a Pro Bowl invitation.

It was the fourth time in the last six years the Titans ranked among the league’s top 10 in sacks. Plus, the two highest single-season sack totals in franchise history (55 in 2000 and 54 in 1999) came with Washburn in charge of the defensive line.

Tennessee is seventh in the NFL with 474 sacks since the start of the 1999 season.

"We are thrilled to add a quality defensive line coach in Jim Washburn," Philadelphia coach Andy Reid said. "He had a great tenure with Jeff Fisher and the Tennessee Titans, and he'll play a big part in the development of our defensive line moving forward. He's had a number of Pro Bowl players working under him over the years with the Titans and we're happy to have him join our coaching staff in Philadelphia."

Washburn had no NFL coaching experience when he joined the Titans. He primarily had worked in college football, most recently at Houston and Arkansas. His work at the professional level was limited to two years in the World League of American Football and one in the Arena Football League.

With Tennessee, he helped five different players earn Pro Bowl invitations, beginning with Jevon Kearse, who set an NFL record for sacks by a rookie and was named Defensive Rookie of the Year in 1999.

"My wife, Sandy, and I have long planned to make Middle Tennessee our home and that is still our plan,” Washburn said. “However, we look forward to moving to Philadelphia and joining a top-flight organization like the Eagles and work for a premier coach in Andy Reid.”

6 Comments on this post:

By: slim53 on 1/19/11 at 2:51

Washburn is one of the most respected coaches over at Baptist Sports Park. With Wash leaving it tells me that the Fisher era is winding down. Fisher gets to finish his last year mainly because of the collective bargaining agreement makes it advantageous to keep him during a period where there might not even be football. All the Rats will start jumping off the ship looking for a more stablity and duration of stay else where.

By: TITAN1 on 1/19/11 at 3:05

Since it was a lateral move I too believe that Fisher knows he is leaving after next season and probably told Washburn to take the offer for job security.

By: wayneCaluger on 1/20/11 at 10:30

I don't think Wash departure was due to job security in that he could have a job within moments of his availability. First the comment Washburn made, "however, we (wife Sandy) look forward to moving to Philadelphia and joining a top-flight organization like the Eagles and work for a premier coach in Andy Reid (who by the way is also the Defensive Coordinator). No mention of how is going to miss his now former boss Chuck Ceil nor his opinion of his abilities or how well they hit it off, most like the way Bulluck hit it off.

He did thank Fisher and the Titans organization also stating he and his wife loved it here and are planning to move back to Tennessee when he retires.

Regardless, any new head coach would have done everything possible to retain Jim Washburn, in my opinion.

The inside Baptist Sports Park has Jim Washburn saying he would be looking for another job at the end of the season well before the Fisher VY situation came to one or both goes situation.

It was also reported Washburn stated, "he was dissatisfied with some facets of the Titan's defense. Read into that what you may; I read it as being unhappy with the coach that plans and calls the Titan's defense and that would be Chuck Ceil. I'm sure he was not happy about letting KVB walk or KB becoming so unhappy with CC ("we just do what they tell us to do) he walked away to a better job with the Giants.

It looks like running backs coach Craig Johnson is headed to the Vikings, perhaps as soon as today. A second lateral move other than perhaps money. Losing position and Coordinators is a fact of life, however generally it's when a position coach has a chance to become a Coordinator and a Coordinator jumping at a chance to become a head coach.

Fisher keeps hanging onto to his loyal bud Chuck Ceil like the Captain of the Titanic listing to the Chuck Ceil Orchestra play as well watch the ship slide into the deep blue sea. I'm afraid this year is as good as it will get for a long long time.

By: TITAN1 on 1/20/11 at 1:26

In the NFL, you do not have job security when a new head coach comes in. Who is even to say whether he would like the new coach. A good job with JOB SECURITY came open and he took it. You can't blame him.

By: wayneCaluger on 1/20/11 at 6:19

I don't blame Washburn for whatever reasons he is leaving. Babin who was passed around the league before landing here and working under Washburn is now a Pro Bowl pick. His contract is up and has expressed an interest in rejoining his former team and now former DL coach.

Job security is a loose term, ask the former Eagles DL coach about that. No bet a new Titan head coach would have kept Washburn as there is no guarantee Andy Reid will be the head coach of the Eagles come 2012.

By: GET REAL on 1/21/11 at 4:26

Get Real:
You can already see the smart asst. coaches
jumping ship now , they know what's coming next season ....

Who's going to take the blame for Fisher's inability to coach /win next season ....

I can't wait for the new season so I can watch more of the Titan's drama unfold b4 our eyes , I'm taking bets that their record does not reach 8-8 ....

If the rest of the position coaches are smart , they're looking to get out
here b4 the season starts ......you better believe Fisher's resume is ready to go....