Mike Vrabel: I was scared to death coaching against Marcus Mariota

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New Titans head coach Mike Vrabel was previously the defensive coordinator of the Texans, which meant he had to draw up game plans for Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. Vrabel says that wasn’t easy.

Vrabel said at his introductory press conference that he found it nerve-wracking to figure out how to stop Mariota, remembering the long rushing touchdown Mariota had against the Texans in 2017.

“We were scared to death,” Vrabel said of preparing to face Mariota. “He pulled a football on Jadeveon Clowney and ran 40 yards. Thank God he pulled his hamstring running 40 yards or that game wouldn’t have been what it was that day in Houston. He’s a special talent, a special kid, and I can’t wait to work with him and help him in the next stage of his career.”

Although Vrabel offered few specifics about what kind of offense he plans to put Mariota in, Vrabel sounds confident that he has the right quarterback, and one who can scare opposing defenses.

38 responses to “Mike Vrabel: I was scared to death coaching against Marcus Mariota

  1. “Thank God he pulled his hamstring running 40 yards or that game wouldn’t have been what it was that day in Houston.”

    God stopped watching once the players started disrespecting the flag and servicemen and women during the anthem. Thank luck.

  2. No disrespect, but we are assuming that new HC Vrabel is going to can (release) OC Robiskie. But please get a high-quality replacement who will allow m’ oy Marcus to throw down field, i.e., Unleash-the-Beast!

  3. .
    The AFC South should be a dogfight next year:

    Jaguars – returning champs
    Houston – improved with Deshaun Watson
    Titans – improved with a new direction
    Colts – better with Luck, McDaniels and #3 pick
    .

  4. Luckily for him there was nothing scary about how Robiskie and Mularkey refused to play to Mariota’s strengths…

  5. Nothing against Vrabel himself – he may turn out to be great – and also not to feed into the often-lazy discourse about race, but when I read Peter King reporting things like, “It was [Vrabel’s] commanding presence, and his pedigree as a player, that helped him get hot this month,” I can’t help but think of that cliche about how much more some underrepresented people have to do to be taken seriously compared to just being a white guy.

    Vrabel seems to have been a good linebackers coach, but how does that translate to head-coach-level credibility? As King also reports, “It’s hard to find anyone who is upset that he’s leaving.”

    That’s your new head coach?

  6. exinsidetrader says:
    January 22, 2018 at 1:40 pm

    “Thank God he pulled his hamstring running 40 yards or that game wouldn’t have been what it was that day in Houston.”

    God stopped watching once the players started disrespecting the flag and servicemen and women during the anthem. Thank luck.

    =================

    If that’s truly your view of the motives and choices of an omnipotent deity, then… whew.

  7. I don’t think Mariota or Winston are causing loss of sleep for defensive coordinators these days. They’ve both been kind of myehhh through three seasons in the league.

  8. It takes a special magic to make a good head coach, and you don’t know if a guy has it until you put him in that position and see how he handles it. I’ll be exited to see what Vrabel does with the position. Responsibility for developing Mariota will go to the person he puts in charge of the offense. His comments about being “scared” to coach against him just indicate he respects Mariota’s talent and versatility.

    And kevpft, if you’ll go back to the articles written when Tomlin was hired, you’ll find similar comments from the Steelers (sans the bit re his pedigree as a player) about why Mike blew them away in the interviews. It was his presence, the way he responded to questions, his intensity. To people with open hearts and minds, the same criteria apply.

  9. Could you possibly give a worse soundbite as a head coach? He said he was scared of a guy, highlighted getting blown up by him, and then for good measure brought up the fact that your new QB is injury-prone.

  10. tylawspick6 says:
    January 22, 2018 at 1:52 pm
    Delusional to want to use a read option based QB thinking you can win a SB with it.

    Will never work.

    Vrabel is in over his head.

    —————

    But yesterday you said he was such a great hire? Make up your mind.

  11. I can understand that. There aren’t many players in the NFL capable of bouncing a pass off the hands of a defender so that they can catch it and run it in for a touchdown. They must practice that one a lot.

  12. Mariota has what it takes to be really special. A great mix of running and throwing that doesn’t lean so far to one side the other is a detriment.

    He just gets hurt so much. Not just the game missing injuries but little nagging quad/hamstring types that hinder performance while playing still.

    Would be interesting to see what he can do 16 games of relatively pain free football

  13. One thing that is a constant criticism of Mularkey is how simple the offense was, especially the passing offense.

    Has anyone wondered if that’s because Mariota is limited since he did come out of a spread offense, and it’s a big leap for all of those guys to learn when they get to the NFL?

    I mean he was never a great head coach, but he did groom Matt Ryan as Mike Smith’s OC, and as much as he shrinks in good moments, I would have never called the offense he implemented for him simple over time. It just seems like they hit a wall at a point with Mariota halfway through last year, and this year didn’t get any better, and maybe that had to do with the injuries this year. I don’t know, but I’m just wondering.

  14. TomsulasMustache says:

    Linebackers never turn out to be great head coaches. Singletary, Del Rio…

    ————————
    Maybe you’ve never heard of Noll or Cowher. They were linebackers, too.

  15. I wish Vrabel well, but I haven’t seen any indication that he was even a good DC, let alone HC material. Especially for a team that needs to develop a young QB.

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