The career of Titans head coach Mike Vrabel.

Mike Vrabel just finished his second season as the Tennessee Titans head coach. For just his second season, 2019 was absolutely incredible for Vrabel. He found his franchise quarterback, Ryan Tannehill, and he saw the rise of what is one of the greatest wide receivers the Titans have seen for some time. In his sophomore season as a head coach, Vrabel took the Titans to the AFC Championship game. Mike Vrabel will hopefully be the Titans head coach for a while now, so let’s take a deeper look at the career of the Titans head coach.

Ohio State Stadium
Ohio State University Marching Band” by Sam Howzit is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Ohio State

Mike Vrabel played college football at Ohio State, where he was a two time All-American. He was one of the best pass rushers in college football during his time at OSU.

In 1995, he had his best statistical season in college finishing with 13 sacks. His 1995 season ranks 3rd all time in single season sacks at Ohio State. Just one season prior, he finished with 12, which was enough to tie for 4th on the list.

Ohio State has had a number of great pass rushers, Joey Bosa and Vernon Gholston just to name a couple. Mike Vrabel is right up there with the best of them.

Even after all of his great accolades in college, current Titans head coach Mike Vrabel wasn’t selected until the 3rd round of the 1997 NFL Draft.

NFL Rookie

Mike Vrabel was in for a little bit of a shock when he made it to the NFL. After college, he was used to being one of the best players on the field at all times.

Vrabel joined NFL Network’s Dan Hellie on the Helliepod, where he talked about the transition to the NFL.

It was hard. You come from a lot of success at Ohio State, not only team success but personal success. You just kind of assume that it’s going to be just like it was there and it’s not. It’s harder. These guys are grown men.”

Mike Vrabel on the Helliepod

Early on, he was able to contribute with minimal playing time. Pittsburgh had several veteran players ahead of Vrabel, so he had to make the most of it when he was on the field. He finished his rookie season with 1.5 sacks and 2 forced fumbles.

Learning from the Steelers

Mike Vrabel played his first four NFL seasons with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but he never started a game. This was because of all the veteran players ahead of him that made up the Steelers defensive line. Greg Lloyd, Jason Gildon and Joey Porter just to name a few.

His time with the team was still valuable, though. While in Pittsburgh, those veterans taught Mike Vrabel how to be a pro. His time with the Steelers is part of what helped shape the successful Titans head coach we all love today.

Super_Bowl_2008_-_XLII_with_Mike_Vrabel
File:Super Bowl 2008 – XLII with Mike Vrabel.JPG” by Neil Cornrich is licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0

Mike Vrabel signs with the Patriots

After four years with the Steelers, Vrabel signed with the New England Patriots in free agency. This was mostly due to the fact that the Patriots had a starting position available for him.

Vrabel had some great seasons with the New England Patriots, but none greater than in 2007 when he was a Pro Bowler and first team all pro. In the 2007 season, he finished with 12.5 sacks, 9 TFL, and 4 forced fumbles. Vrabel didn’t only play on defense, though. Belichick had him on offense occasionally, lining up as a tight end.

Mike Vrabel won 3 Super Bowls with the Patriots and made the playoffs 6 times out of his 8 seasons with the team. Vrabel’s playoff success with the Patriots could be valuable to him as the Titans head coach. As a guy who has been there and done that, he can provide insight to players when the Titans are in the playoffs.

We’ve already seen Vrabel use one trick from his Patriot days. In the Titans wild card playoff game versus the Patriots, Vrabel used one of Belichick’s old tricks against him to ice the game.

In 2009, Vrabel was traded to Kansas City where he played two more seasons before hanging it up.

 Early Coaching Career

Mike Vrabel coached for a short time with his alma mater Ohio State as a defensive line coach. During that time, he was responsible for coaching players like Michael Bennet and Joey Bosa, both of whom are now great NFL players.

It didn’t take long for Mike Vrabel to make the jump up to the NFL. He coached linebackers for the Houston Texans for 3 seasons. He impressed so much during his three seasons that he was promoted to Defensive Coordinator in 2017.

During his time coaching in the NFL, Mike Vrabel has coached one of the most interesting players in the NFL today, Jadeveon Clowney. Vrabel showed his coaching skills by getting more out of Clowney than any other coach has been able to. In 2017, with Vrabel as DC, Clowney had his best season to date. With 9.5 sacks and 21 TFL, Clowney was a game wrecker capable of blowing up any play before it could develop.

Mike_Vrabel_2018
File:Mike Vrabel 2018.jpg” by Chipermc is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

Titans Head Coach

Not long after Jon Robinson was hired as the Tennessee Titans GM, he hired Mike Vrabel to be the head coach. Early on, some of Mike Vrabel’s in game calls were questioned by fans.

2019 was all it took for fans to buy into Vrabel. After a 2-4 start, no one surrounding the Tennessee Titans was happy. It looked like we would be competing to draft Joe Burrow in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Then, Vrabel made the switch to Ryan Tannehill. The Titans looked like a completely different team once Tannehill became the starter. Straight to the AFC Championship for the Titans.

Somewhere along the way Vrabel joined Taylor Lewan and Will Compton on Bussin’ With the Boys, where he said he would “cut off his d**k” for a Super Bowl win. That’s my head coach.

Now, defensive coordinator Dean Pees has retired and Mike Vrabel is going to take on a bigger role with the Titans. The team is not going to hire a defensive coordinator and instead, Vrabel will step in.

It’s unclear how it is going to work for Vrabel, but he is looking to continue writing his story as the Tennessee Titans head coach.

Featured Image: “File:Mike Vrabel 2018 08-09.jpg” by Chipermc is licensed under CC BY-SA 4.0

About The Author Tanner Staggs

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