New Titans OC Palmer looks to share experience with players

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- New Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Chris Palmer knows part of his role will be as a teacher.

"As a teacher, you are graded by how many kids pass your exam, and as coach, you are graded by how many games you win," Palmer said at his introductory news conference Friday.

Palmer's first pupil likely will be a quarterback, as part of his responsibility will be to develop whatever signal-caller the Titans obtain this offseason. The team plans to release or trade Vince Young this offseason, Kerry Collins' contract expires March 3, and only Rusty Smith will be left on the roster. Tennessee plans to draft a quarterback and possibly trade for a veteran.

New Titans coach Mike Munchak said he brought in two or three coordinator candidates and decided on Palmer as the replacement for Mike Heimerdinger. Munchak fired Heimerdinger one day after being promoted himself on Feb. 8.

"It's my job as head coach to figure out what our needs are," Munchak said. "For the offensive coordinator position, I sat down and thought about exactly what we needed as an offense and thought about some of that criteria. When Chris and I finished our interview with Chris, I knew I had my guy."

Palmer, 61, has been in professional football for more than 20 years. He was the head coach of the Cleveland Browns and, most recently, the head coach of the UFL's Hartford Colonials. When he was with Cleveland, he tried to lure Munchak to join him.

Palmer also added another staff member Friday as the Titans announced a couple hours after introducing Palmer that they had hired veteran running backs coach Jim Skipper. He had been with the Carolina Panthers for the past nine seasons.

Munchak said he likes Palmer's attention to detail, something that can benefit the Titans.

"He had exactly what I was looking for. Again, I love his demeanor and his approach to the game," Munchak said. "He's confident, he's calm and he's very consistent. I think the players will feed off that. He dots the I's and crosses the T's, and I think that's exactly what we need here."

Palmer's experience working with quarterbacks includes successes such as Eli Manning, Mark Brunell and Tony Romo and struggles with expansions teams in Cleveland (as head coach) and Houston (as offensive coordinator), where the careers of Tim Couch and David Carr, respectively, both failed to launch.

"You've got to have people around him," Palmer said. "It still is a team sport, and you have to have 11 guys that fit in and do those things. You look for characteristics of players.

"One of the problems with a young quarterback is you don't know if the game is going to be too big for him. You don't know when they get that money how they're going to react, and that's not just the quarterback, that's any player. But you try to do your work on a guy. You try to find out what it's all about. You really want a football guy."

Palmer is excited about other Titans such as running back Chris Johnson, wide receiver Kenny Britt and tight end Jared Cook. Palmer can't wait to learn about them.

"I'm anxious to talk to those guys and see what their forte is and how good they are at doing certain things," Palmer said. "I was impressed with the tight ends. The Cook guy, I want to get my hands around him right away and find out what he's all about because I think he's a special talent. And the thing that I liked was the offensive line."

As for Johnson, Palmer wants him to keep improving. Johnson dipped to 1,364 rushing yards this season after becoming the sixth man in NFL history to run for 2,000 yards in a season in 2009.

"We are going to try to make him better than he was last year," Palmer said. "That is what coaching is all about."

Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press

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