Tuesday Morning Reaction

How I am feeling about Mike Vrabel.

This usually runs on Monday. It didn’t because I took the day off to spend time with my family. So, it will now run on Tuesday. I hope that is not too upsetting or confusing for anyone out there. If it is, I would like to apologize for any feelings of confusion or stress this decision may have caused. I deeply regret my actions.

I was excited about the hire of Mike Vrabel prior to last season. (I still was not convinced parting ways with Mike Mularkey was the right choice, though.) He seemed like a good candidate to take the Tennessee Titans from a middle of the pack team to a consistent playoff team. And, even though the team missed the playoffs last season in his first year, there were so many crazy circumstances surrounding the team, I was willing to give him a passing grade. I still believe he did a good job with the hand he was dealt in 2018.

I’m not so sure about him now. Answer this question if you will: Besides the defense, is there anything about the 2019 Titans that is better than it was in 2017? I guess you could argue that Vrabel has his hand in the defensive game plan but I think Dean Pees is clearly running the show and deserves most of the credit for how good that unit is. What has Vrabel made better? What has he improved from the Mike Mularkey days?

 The offense is wildly inconsistent, and that is being generous. They are riddled with mistakes, penalties, and a general lack of execution. Who to blame seems to change every week. (Of course, most of the blame is falling on Marcus Mariota and while some of that is fair, if you pin the loss against the Bills on Mariota, you either don’t understand football or you have already decided Mariota is terrible.)

Back to Vrabel… He coaches with a player’s mindset. Sometimes, that is a good thing but more often than not, it backfires. Sunday’s decision to send Cairo Santos out late in the 4th quarter to attempt a 53 yard kick is a perfect example of his poor, in-game decision-making. The main function of the head coach should be to put their players in the best position to succeed. Does anyone believe asking Santos, who had just missed 3 straight field goals, to make what would nearly be a career long kick is a good idea? 

Vrabel had multiple options for that play and he chose the absolute worst option. And that sad part is, this is not the first time he has done something like this. It’s becoming a pattern. That scares me because it makes me believe that this is who Vrabel is. This is his coaching style and it will be his legacy. He will do just enough right to seem competent but he will bungle many critical decisions during games which will cost his teams.  

I will give him until the end of the season, but unless things take a dramatic turn, I am skeptical the Tennessee Titans can win big with Mike Vrabel as the head coach. I hope I am wrong.

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