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Experience, circumstance helped Palmer land with Titans

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Posted Feb. 18, 2011 @ 1:46 p.m. ET
By Mike Wilkening

Among the factors that Titans head coach Mike Munchak cited when explaining why Chris Palmer would be a good fit as the club's new offensive coordinator: his vast experience as an NFL coach, including two years as Cleveland's head coach (1999-2000), his work with quarterbacks as an NFL assistant and his knowledge of offensive line play.

Each reason — along with the Titans reportedly being unable to interview Jets assistant head coach/OL coach Bill Callahan and Bears OL coach Mike Tice for the coordinator's vacancy not hurting his cause, we hear — helps to explain why Palmer, who was the head coach of the UFL's Hartford Colonials in 2010, is back in the NFL after a year away.

For starters, Palmer's experience as a head coach could make him a sounding board of sorts for Munchak, a first-time head coach who was hired in January. Also, Palmer, who has been a QB coach for the Patriots and Giants, joins a team without a clear-cut starting quarterback, with complete change at the position possible. Thirdly, Palmer's understanding of OL play didn't hurt his cause with Munchak, a Hall of Fame guard.

"It is really refreshing for me having an offensive line background to have a guy that is that comfortable in everything we are doing and understanding it from top to bottom," Munchak said of Palmer, whose best work as a coordinator came with the Jaguars in 1997 and '98, with Jacksonville finishing in the top 10 in offense both seasons.

Palmer's next two jobs as the primary leader of the offense were with a pair of expansion teams — Cleveland (head coach, 1999-2000) and Houston (offensive coordinator, 2002-05) — that struggled mightily. The Browns were 31st in offense in both of his seasons in Cleveland, and the Texans were 32nd, 31st and 19th in offense in his three full seasons as coordinator. Palmer was fired as offensive coordinator in Houston after two games in '05.

In Tennessee, he'll have a better O-line to work with than he had in Houston or in Cleveland. The Titans also have one of the NFL's best runners in Chris Johnson and a potential star receiver in Kenny Britt. However, they are the only AFC South team without a clear-cut starting quarterback.

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