Tennessee Titans Produce Home Run Coaching Hire in Mike Vrabel

Mike Vrabel was introduced as the new head coach of the Tennessee Titans on Monday. The hiring comes just five days after the team parted ways with Mike Mularkey. The Titans secured their first postseason win in 14 years in the Wildcard Round against Kansas City, but were shortly thereafter embarrassed by the New England Patriots in the Divisional Round in Foxboro.

The former Houston Texans defensive coordinator spent the last four seasons working under Bill O’ Brien with 2017 being his lone year as a coordinator. Prior to that, Vrabel coached at his alma mater Ohio State as both a linebackers and defensive line coach. The former Pro Bowler and three-time Super Bowl champion was a great outside linebacker and has been described as everyone he’s worked and played with as a “leader of men”. “He’s owned every room he’s ever walked into”, a source told SI’s Albert Breer.
Vrabel was introduced in Nashville on Monday and the key takeaway quote from his presser was as follows: “I’m lucky basically to go through a doctorate degree of coaching with the people I’ve been around.”
General Manager Jon Robinson finally got to pick his own coach after being tied to Mularkey the last few years. Robinson went with a brilliant defensive mind and leader of men that has ties to New England under Coach Belichick as well. “He had a great presence about him. In the interview his football intelligence showed quickly. And at the end of the day, we felt like this is the next head coach of the Tennessee Titans”, Robinson said.
Vrabel has had the opportunity to play under great coaches throughout his entire career. First under John Cooper at Ohio State from ’93-’96 twice winning the Big Ten Conference. Next it was Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh where he began his professional career and lastly under Bill Belichick in New England where he won three Super Bowls before finishing out his career in Kansas City. After retirement he worked under one of the best coaches in all of college football with Urban Meyer at Ohio State. Then it was on to a well-respected coach in Bill O’ Brien also from the New England tree. Put together all the experiences and coaching points he’s accumulated throughout his career paired with his ability to lead and take command, and it’s no wonder at just 42-years-old there were teams lining up to hire him to be their next head coach.
Vrabel interviewed for two other openings this year in Indy and Detroit, both of which he was a finalist for with the jobs reportedly heading to both Patriots coordinators, which left Tennessee as the ideal landing spot for the Texans defensive coordinator. The Los Angeles Rams also interviewed Vrabel last year before he was even a coordinator at all for their head coaching vacancy when they opted to hire the young and innovative offensive mind Sean McVay. What does this all mean? Other teams around the league liked what they heard and saw from Vrabel and he was bound to be scooped up sooner rather than later. The Titans jumped and made the hire, better a year too soon than a year too late.
Now, Vrabel will have to surround himself with a bright and successful coaching staff to make it all come together. He has to get offensive coaches that can tap into Marcus Mariota‘s potential and get his career back on track after he regressed in 2017. Vrabel has reportedly reached out to Ohio State co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day about joining Tennessee as their OC, and according to ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Day (pictured below) is strongly considering the offer. Long-time NFL coach Dick LeBeau will not be retained by Tennessee likely marking the end of his storied career at 80-years of age. Vrabel’s success will be dependent on the staff he surrounds himself with and for now we have to wait and see who the 42-year-old first time HC elects to put on the Titans staff.
Meanwhile, the AFC South has been turned into a New England Patriots breeding ground. In Houston, there’s already former Patriots OC Bill O’ Brien at the helm of their franchise, former Patriots personnel man Jon Robinson is the Titans General Manager and just hired a former All Pro Linebacker from New England as his HC and lastly there’s the Indianapolis Colts who are set to hire Patriots current offensive coordinator and former Denver Broncos HC Josh McDaniels as their newest head coach to work with Andrew Luck.
The Patriots are back in the Super Bowl and on the verge of winning their third in four years for the SECOND TIME under Bill Belichick. Unbelievable and it’s no wonder everyone wants to hire anyone with a Patriots connection. Vrabel is no different and he will keep the Titans franchise climbing in the right direction and is a home run hire for Jon Robinson.

Follow Frank Pimentel on Twitter: @FrankBostonTank
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