When Bill Belichick’s assistants have left for head coaching gigs in the past, they haven’t found much success. Nevertheless, it looks like several current assistants/coordinators are in line for head coaching jobs after the New England Patriots play in this year’s Super Bowl. Thus, the Bill Belichick coaching tree will get tested once again. Mike Vrabel, however, is a branch of a different type, as the Tennessee Titans have announced the hiring of the former Patriots linebacker as their new head coach.
The new head coach of the Tennessee Titans is Mike Vrabel. #TitanUp
Leader of Men ? » https://t.co/mE5I53cZs8 pic.twitter.com/P9WuvJ7Kol
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 20, 2018
Vrabel has been the linebackers coach for the Titans’ division rival, Houston Texans, since 2014, and served as Houston’s defensive coordinator this season. So he’s very familiar with Tennessee, and perhaps more importantly, familiar with how teams game plan against them. That knowledge could come in hardy how that Vrabel is the Titans man in charge.
Taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft, Vrabel went on to play 14 seasons as linebacker between the Steelers (where he spent his first four years), Patriots (where he was a part of three Super Bowl championship teams over eight years), and then finished his final two seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs.
After retiring as a player, Vrabel immediately returned to his alma mater – Ohio St. – and joined the coaching staff there as linebackers and defensive line coach. Following the 2014 season, Mike Vrabel jumped back to the pro game and joined the Texans staff.
As a player, Vrabel played in 206 games, accumulating 511 tackles (and assisted on 229 others), 57 sacks, 11 interceptions, and nine recovered fumbles. His best season, arguably, came in 2007 when he was selected to the Pro Bowl and named to the First Team All-Pro squad. That was the only season he was awarded either of those honors. He also served as a pretty effective weapon on offense occasionally as a tight end.
LB Mike Vrabel had more career TD catches (12) than WR’s Charles Rodgers and Justin Blackmon combined…both top 5 draft picks.
— Paul Pabst (@PaulPabst) January 23, 2018
Mike Vrabel takes over a Titans team that is fresh off a playoff appearance, so expectations will be plenty high early on. Although he’s undoubtedly a defensive-minded coach, his job performance may ultimately rest on the continued development and production of Marcus Mariota, the Titans young quarterback.
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