Titans fire offensive coordinator Chow after three seasons

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans fired offensive coordinator Norm Chow on Tuesday after a season of struggling to score points and reaching the playoffs for the first time since 2003.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher confirmed the dismissal in a short statement. Chow, who had been on staff for three years, did not immediately return a telephone message left by The Associated Press.

But Fisher said the day after his Titans (10-6) lost an AFC wild-card game to San Diego 17-6 that improving the offense was his top priority this offseason. They ranked 21st overall in total offense and became the first team with only nine touchdown passes to reach the playoffs in a 16-game season.

After a week of evaluating the team, Fisher told Chow he would not be retained as offensive coordinator.

"I appreciate all of the hard work and contributions he made to the organization during his time here, but I have decided to go in a different direction and will start the process of finding a new offensive coordinator," Fisher said in the statement.

ESPN's Chris Mortensen first reported Chow's firing, who was mentioned as a
possible candidate to replace June Jones at Hawaii.

Fisher lured Chow from the same post at Southern California to the NFL in 2005 knowing they would need someone to develop a young quarterback after what turned out to be Steve McNair's final season with the franchise.

That has been Chow's specialty in more than 30 years of coaching in college where he worked with Carson Palmer, Philip Rivers, Jim McMahon and Steve Young.

When the Titans selected Vince Young with the No. 3 pick overall in 2006, they went with him over Matt Leinart, whom Chow coached at Southern California.

Chow, who turns 62 in May, told The Tennessean he was disappointed and didn't see the firing coming. He said he thought he could help develop Young, who threw nearly twice as many interceptions as touchdowns this season.

"Obviously, Jeff didn't think that I could. I thought I was. That's the thing. I don't know ... but it's going to take some patience," Chow told the newspaper.

The Titans fared well enough in Chow's second season in 2006 when Young was the NFL's offensive rookie of the year. They were the only team other than San Diego to score 20 or more points in eight straight games in 2006, a first for the team since 1992.

But they had lots of scoring help from their defense and special teams.

In 2007, the offense improved from 27th overall to 21st. But the rushing game stayed fifth, the passing game improved only marginally and the Titans ranked last in the NFL scoring touchdowns in the red zone and were last in touchdown passes.

Some frustration bubbled up from Young after a 28-13 loss to Jacksonville on Nov. 11 when they didn't take a shot at the end zone before the end of the first half, and Young said he guessed, "The guys don't trust me."

Then during the Titans' regular-season finale at Indianapolis, broadcasters said Chow told them that Young tended to pout.

The Titans declined to comment Tuesday beyond Fisher's statement.

Chow had been Fisher's third offensive coordinator since the franchise relocated to Tennessee from Houston. Quarterbacks coach Craig Johnson, who interviewed for the job in 2005 before Fisher hired Chow, could be an option again now.

Fisher cited how the Titans went from last in the NFL in total defense in 2006 to fifth in 2007 after focusing on fixing that unit.

"We showed that we can address an issue and get it turned around. Our biggest issue or concern headed into this offseason is scoring touchdowns. Score more points," Fisher said last week.