By HCR Staff | Sept. 4, 2018
Between now and the start of the 2018 season, Head Coach Ranking will provide a scouting report on all 32 NFL head coaches. Today, we’ll take a look at Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.
The Bill Belichick coaching tree continues to drop fruit, as Titans GM (and former longtime Patriot) Jon Robinson selected former Pats LB and Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel as the Titans head coach.
Technically, there could be a legitimate debate as to whether Vrabel should even be considered within Belichick’s “tree,” as he never coached under Belichick. Vrabel has, however, served under longtime Belichick assistants Bill O’Brien and Romeo Crennel, so that’s enough for us.
Vrabel takes over a playoff team, so he inherits a better situation than most rookie head coaches, but what can we expect from him in his new job?
We can probably assume he’d like to characterize the team he will build as smart, tough and resilient — as those were the traits he and his former Patriots teammates exhibited through an incredibly successful run during his career there.
But is this what we’ll really see?
We don’t have enough data yet to determine what kind of judgment Vrabel will have once he is under pressure. There are certain variables, however, that favor a successful run, and those include:
• Hiring an experienced DC in Dean Pees, with whom Vrabel shares a close professional relationship;
• Hiring a promising offensive coaching prospect in Matt LaFleur as OC — although there is a long way from “promising” to someone who can generate long term, consistent results;
• Having a GM with whom he shares a precise vision; and
• Intimate knowledge and experience within the division and conference.
What don’t we like?
At this early stage, it’s interesting to point out the relatively recent performance of former NFL linebackers as head coaches — it’s all over the map.
Some huge successes from the past include Chuck Noll and Marty Schottenheimer. Bill Cowher and Ron Rivera have had more recent success, with Jim Haslett and Jack Del Rio having periods of success (and failure) as well. Mike Singletary, unfortunately, did not experience as much success.
If one looks at the more recent group, perhaps we can reasonably conclude that all share one common trait: volatility.
Previous HC Previews:
Pete Carroll, Seattle Seahawks
Sean McVay, Los Angeles Rams
Kyle Shanahan, San Francisco 49ers
Steve Wilks, Arizona Cardinals
Mike McCarthy, Green Bay Packers
Mike Zimmer, Minnesota Vikings
Matt Patricia, Detroit Lions
Matt Nagy, Chicago Bears
Dirk Koetter, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
Sean Payton, New Orleans Saints
Dan Quinn, Atlanta Falcons
Ron Rivera, Carolina Panthers
Jay Gruden, Washington Redskins
Pat Shurmur, New York Giants
Jason Garrett, Dallas Cowboys
Doug Pederson, Philadelphia Eagles
Jon Gruden, Oakland Raiders
Vance Joseph, Denver Broncos
Anthony Lynn, Los Angeles Chargers
Andy Reid, Kansas City Chiefs
John Harbaugh, Baltimore Ravens
Hue Jackson, Cleveland Browns
Marvin Lewis, Cincinnati Bengals
Mike Tomlin, Pittsburgh Steelers
Doug Marrone, Jacksonville Jaguars
Bill O’Brien, Houston Texans
Frank Reich, Indianapolis Colts