The last time the Titans went through the process of finding a new head coach, they had a different owner and a different general manager.
The mission is the same as last time, however: find the right guy.
The search to replace Mike Munchak remains in progress. Bengals defensive coordinator Mike Zimmer was interviewed on Thursday at Saint Thomas Sports Park. General manager Ruston Webster is scheduled to fly west on Friday to interview Chargers offensive coordinator Ken Whisenhunt.
The Titans interviewed Ravens offensive coordinator Jim Caldwell on Wednesday. The coach they interviewed on Tuesday, however, has been crossed off the list. Former Bengals offensive coordinator Jay Gruden became head coach of the Redskins on Thursday.
So how is the search progressing?
Fritz Pollard Alliance chairman John Wooten, who works with the NFL to promote diversity in its hiring practices, provided some insight based on the team's interview with Caldwell, calling the process a "thorough" one.
Although Tommy Smith is now running the Titans as president/CEO after the death of his father-in-law and franchise founder Bud Adams in October, Webster is leading the interviews. He took over as GM two years ago.
According to Wooten, Caldwell met extensively with Webster during a day-long visit to the team facility in MetroCenter, but he also spent time with vice president of player personnel Lake Dawson and other team officials. Wooten indicated Smith was involved from his office in Houston.
Caldwell, a former head coach with the Colts, has also interviewed with the Redskins and Lions.
"Jim really enjoyed it in Tennessee. It was an all-day session. He and Ruston had a great conversation, going over who they are, what they built and what they envisioned moving forward," Wooten said. "He thought it was an excellent process. He has been through quite a few of these and thought it was as good as anywhere he's been. He said it was a highly professional interview."
The Titans have not commented about the process or who would be involved. Agents for the candidates have not discussed the interviews either.
The Titans told Caldwell he'd have a say in big decisions including the hiring of staff, Wooten said. Offensive coaches from Munchak's staff remain under contract.
"Jim came away thinking he would not have any hiccups with those guys in terms of putting together a football team. He felt very comfortable with them," Wooten said. "It sounds like a really good situation there for whichever coach they end up hiring."
Gruden and Zimmer spent similar amounts of time with the Titans, with both men flying in for less than a day. Zimmer returned to the Cincinnati area on Thursday night.
The Titans have plenty of competition for Whisenhunt, who was scheduled to interview with the Lions on Thursday and the Browns on Saturday.
The former Cardinals head coach – and a Vanderbilt assistant in the mid-1990s – is also preparing for a playoff game against the Broncos on Sunday.
"The only thing that's important to me, to be perfectly honest with you, is getting prepared for this game," Whisenhunt said Thursday after the Chargers practiced. "Everything else is secondary. That's the work that has got my focus right now."
After meeting with Whisenhunt, Webster and Smith will have to decide their next move.
Do they zero in on one of the men they've already interviewed? Or do they remain patient in hopes of talking to other candidates of interest?
Indications are the Titans are intrigued with Seattle's top assistants — defensive coordinator Dan Quinn and offensive coordinator Darrell Bevell. Webster knows Quinn, having worked with him in 2009 when Webster was Seahawks vice president of player personnel and Quinn joined the team as defensive line coach.
NFL rules, however, could delay interviews with Quinn or Bevell. As the Titans deliberated whether to retain Munchak, the window closed on the chance to meet with coaches from teams with first-round byes in the playoffs.
As a result, the Titans must wait for the Seahawks, the top seed in the NFC, to be eliminated before they could talk to either coach. The Seahawks face the Saints on Saturday in the divisional playoffs.
Cowboys special teams coach Rich Bisaccia also remains of interest to the Titans. He interviewed with the Redskins last weekend.
As of Thursday, the Lions, Vikings and Browns also continued to search for head coaches.