As some of you may already know, yesterday the Titans finalized their coaching staff by hiring LB coach Jim Haslett. Was this the right hire for the Titans?
Haslett was an inside-linebacker for the Buffalo Bills during his playing days, and spent his last season in the NFL with the New York Jets. In his 8 year career he finished with 6 INTs, 1 FF, and 12 fumble recoveries. All in all a pretty respectable career as a linebacker
Jim Haslett started his coaching career in college, and the moved up to the NFL as a linebackers coach with the Raiders and, soon after, the Saints. He then became a DC for the Pittsburgh Steelers, where he coached a rookie Mike Vrabel. Vrabel has commented on this meeting between the two saying, “I have known Jim since my rookie season at Pittsburgh and was impressed with how he taught and developed the players on our defense.” This says a lot about why Vrabel brought Haslett in to coach and how high Vrabel thinks of Haslett.
Most recently, the newly acquired Titans coach spent some time in Washington as the Redskins’ Defensive Coordinator. While his defenses were never elite (ranging from 13th to 31st in yards and points allowed) he did show his ability to develop players in his time there. In 2010 the Redskins drafted a LB named Perry Riley. He was a 4th round draft pick and didn’t play much his rookie year. Things turned around for him under Haslett, though. In years 2012-2014 Riley averaged 68 solo tackles, 7 TFL, and 3 sacks per year. This could have been due to some of the development skills Vrabel credits Haslett with. The same could be said for Ryan Kerrigan, who was a higher touted player coming out of college. His production increased from between 7-8 sacks his first three years, to a career high 13.5 sacks in 2014.
Was he the right hire?
Mike Vrabel has been very adamant about bringing in guys that are already a part of his system. This makes sense because why change something that is working? Although, Dean Pees’ retirement sort of threw a wrench in that idea. Nonetheless, Vrabel still wants to keep things as similar as he possibly can. He did the best he could with this by bringing in a DBs coach that he coached with in Houston (Anthony Midget) and now a guy that previously coached Vrabel himself. After learning all of last season from Dean Pees, Mike Vrabel is ready to take on a more active role in the defense. This is probably the best way to keep things the same, and is definitely better than bringing in a completely outside hire. With that being said, I think this was a good move for the Titans and would give this hire an 8 out of 10.
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