The Tennessee Titans were looking for a change in leadership following a seven-game losing streak to end the season and hired San Francisco 49ers director of player personnel Ran Carthon as their new general manager.
How Many Black NFL General Managers?
The move makes Carthon the eighth Black GM in the league, the most ever at any point in league history. Carthon’s hiring comes just a day after Kevin Warren was named COO and team president of the Chicago Bears, so diversity in NFL leadership positions has gotten a nice boost.
The move also comes on the heels of the team firing former GM Jon Robinson in November for fielding a roster that in the opinion of team brass wasn’t good enough going forward.
Big smiles for our new GM 😁 pic.twitter.com/83x73DxL4M
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 18, 2023
On Wednesday, the team made the announcement in a statement released by the controlling owner Amy Adams-Strunk.
“We are excited to add Ran to our organization as our new general manager,” Adams-Strunk said. “He brings a variety of valuable experiences to our team — as a former player and a successful personnel executive for multiple teams. I was impressed with his natural leadership qualities and his ability to connect with people.
“With talent evaluation being critical to this role, the roster they have built in San Francisco stands out. He played an important role there constructing one of the league’s best teams.”
Who Is Ron Carthon?
The son of former Giants fullback Maurice Carthon, his presence and voice will be a welcome sight for a Titans organization looking to stay in the thick of things in the talent-laden AFC.
Carthon helped build the Niners you see today, with their vaunted defense and dominant run game. The team was built in the image that Carthon, head coach Kyle Shanahan and GM John Lynch saw fit, and it’s produced rave reviews.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is widely considered one of the best leaders of men in the league. And he showed it through the first ten games of the 2022 season as he led a Titans team devoid of elite talent to a surprising 7-3 record, first place in the AFC South. But injuries to key players like star running back Derrick Henry, plus some very questionable offseason moves made by the prior GM, (mainly trading star wideout A.J. Brown on draft night) began to rear their ugly head.
Quarterback Ryan Tannehill showed regression, then was injured, and overall, a once promising season went up in flames.
3 things on new Titans GM Ran Carthon …
1) Grew up in Parcells football family, which Mike Vrabel, Bill Belichick’s old edge rusher, is adjacent to.
2) Prioritizes toughness in players. Titans’ identity won’t change.
3) Will challenge Vrabel, like Vrabel does others.
— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) January 18, 2023
The team lost the final seven games of the season, including a winner-take-all season finale against the upstart Jacksonville Jaguars for the AFC South division title. The loss effectively ending their postseason hopes.
Now Carthon will have to decide if Tannehill can still be the guy. Maybe second-year QB Malik Willis is ready. Signing a veteran free agent such as Derek Carr is also a possibility.
Carthon And Vrabel From Same Coaching Tree
Both Carthon and Vrabel pride themselves on building a tough, disciplined and physical roster. If you look around the league, you’d be hard-pressed to find two more physical and disciplined teams than the Niners and Titans.
The glaring difference in the success of the two teams was talent. The Niners have an abundance of it, and the Titans are currently devoid of it in many areas. That’s where you’ll see Carthon focus on adding to this roster, because in the NFL you need talent to be a real contender.
Ran Carthon has been seen by NFL people as rising star to run his own team for years. Consistently heard about special connection & respect he builds with players + talent evaluation skills.
Titans at crucial juncture. Carthon gets to direct roster in his & Mike Vrabel vision: https://t.co/rzxggRAWha
— Cameron Wolfe (@CameronWolfe) January 17, 2023
It’s a huge grab for the Titans and Vrabel, who showed his displeasure with the team’s former GM Jon Robinson on draft night as he traded away the team’s most dynamic perimeter weapon. And from that point their relationship seemed to go stale.