When the Titans fired Mike Mularkey as their head coach, some pointed to Josh McDaniels as their target because of his shared Patriots history with Tennessee General Manager Jon Robinson.
The new Titans head coach does have history in New England, but it isn’t McDaniels. The Titans announced on Saturday that they have hired Mike Vrabel to fill the opening.
“I am excited to get to work and that work starts now,” Vrabel said in a statement. “We want to build a culture around winning, competitiveness and toughness. Everything we do is going to be geared towards winning and being physical. We want to prepare our players so they know what to do, which will allow them to play fast and aggressive.”
Vrabel spent last season as the defensive coordinator of the Texans after being promoted from linebackers coach. He also coached at Ohio State after spending 14 years playing in the league. He was a member of the Patriots from 2001-2008, winning three Super Bowls while Robinson was working as a scout for the Patriots.
“I have always had a great deal of respect for Mike as a player and as a coach,” Robinson said. “I saw him up close as a player for the Patriots and saw how he prepared himself to be successful on a daily basis. He was the ultimate team-first player and he embodies that same mindset as a coach. He is intelligent, energetic, detailed and a leader whose deep passion for this game will resonate with our players. As a coach, I have seen him develop talent at both the college and NFL level, and put players in position for them to be successful. I am excited to get him in front of our team and watch us grow together as a team.”
The other reason some thought McDaniels, who is expected to take the Colts head coaching job, might be the pick in Tennessee was the need to further the development of quarterback Marcus Mariota. That will now likely fall to the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach that Vrabel picks to head things up on that side of the ball. That decision and Mariota’s progress will likely have a lot to do with how well Vrabel does in his first head coaching job.