Qualities that the next Titans coach needs to have

The next Titans coach, whether it's interim coach Mike Mularkey or someone else, needs to be open to analytics. AP Photo/Steven Senne

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans will soon start to interview candidates to become their next coach. One of them will be interim coach Mike Mularkey.

A new head coach will inherit a good, young quarterback in Marcus Mariota.

Most open jobs don’t come with one of those.

Here are some qualities I hope the 19th coach in franchise history possesses.

A vision and an identity: Ken Whisenhunt was never able to answer this question well, as he'd speak about versatility, which is a quality, not an identity. If there is no one-paragraph description for what the new guy wants his team to be, that’s a problem.

Flexibility: Once he’s able to outline what he wants his team to be, he needs to show that he can take all sorts of different routes to get there. Forcing a system on the roster he inherits is not the way to go. Mold things to what you’ve got; don’t expect things to bend to what you want them to be. Stubbornness on this issue can’t be accepted.

Connections: Whisenhunt has been in the league for a long time, but the staff he put together didn’t do a very good job developing many players. Position coaches are crucial to building a young roster, and the new coach needs a good group of player developers who can get the most out of the people the Titans bring in. That starts with coaches he knows, and coaches that coaches he knows know. But it also means he can interview some people at a spot where he doesn’t have anyone and come out of it with a good hire. During Jeff Fisher’s term, the stability he offered made the Titans a great team to work for as an assistant. He inherited Mike Munchak as the offensive line coach but eventually hired Jim Washburn for the defensive line. Those two helped make the lines foundations that were rarely in question. If there is a Munchak or a Washburn on the current staff, he’s not done well to reveal himself.

A willingness to consider analytics: I think any coach in the NFL who’s not embracing the help analytics can provide is missing out. Many, including Mularkey, talk of their potential to overwhelm. Who’s asking for a metric-driven robot? Just have people who understand all that is available and can advise you on one thing, three things, one page of things -- however much makes sense. Put them in the position where they can show you stuff that might wind up altering your thinking and presenting a better solution.

Likability: I confess, a couple years ago I would have shot down anyone mentioning this as a factor. Then Whisenhunt was the top man in Nashville for 23 games, and the fanbase didn’t take to him and his personality at all. It made things harder in a lot of ways. The organization can buy itself a lot of goodwill by having a face-of-the-franchise coach who’s happy to be out and about in the community and is comfortable relating to fans. More important that that, said coach needs a team that wants to play for him and a building full of people in other departments that wants to be a part of his plan and the team’s success.