Titans name Vrabel head coach

By The Sports Xchange  |  Jan. 20, 2018 at 10:10 PM
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The Tennessee Titans agreed to terms with Mike Vrabel to become their new head coach, the team announced Saturday.

Vrabel, who will be the franchise's 19th head coach, replaces Mike Mularkey, who was fired earlier this week despite going 9-7 and making the playoffs.

Tennessee will introduce Vrabel at a press conference on Monday.

"I am excited to have Mike Vrabel joining our organization as our new head coach," team owner Amy Adams Strunk said in a statement released by the Titans. "In the interaction between Mike and Jon during the interview, you could see their connection right away from the history they have with one another -- seeing the game in a similar way and talking the same language.

"Mike has a commanding presence and a deep understanding for how he will attack this head coaching opportunity. Throughout his football career, he has played for, been mentored by and coached with successful teams and organizations. He knows what it takes to reach that level of sustained success -- he has seen it first-hand. We have a chance to build on the solid foundation that we established over the past couple of years and I believe Mike is the right person to continue that progress."

Vrabel, a former linebacker, spent 14 years as an NFL player and the last four as an assistant coach. His playing career included three Super Bowl wins as a member of the New England Patriots (2001, 2003 and 2004), one Pro Bowl selection (2007) and an All-Pro honor (2007).

"This is an incredible opportunity and one I have been preparing for my entire football life," Vrabel said in a statement. "I want to thank Amy, (general manager) Jon (Robinson) and the entire Titans organization for putting their faith in me. I am excited to get to work and that work starts now. 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 played with the Pittsburgh Steelers (1997-2000), Patriots (2001-08) and Kansas City Chiefs (2009-10). In 206 NFL games, he had 57 sacks, 496 tackles, 11 interceptions, 20 forced fumbles, nine fumble recoveries and 10 touchdown receptions. In 20 playoff games, he had eight sacks and two touchdown receptions.

After Vrabel's playing career ended, he returned to his alma mater and coached Ohio State's linebackers in 2011 and the Buckeyes' defensive line in 2012-13.

He spent the past four seasons on the Houston Texans' staff, coaching the linebackers from (2014-16) and serving as the team's defensive coordinator this season. Houston won AFC South titles in 2015 and 2016.

In his first three years on the Texans' coaching staff, the defense ranked third in the NFL in yards allowed per game (319.9) and net passing yards (218.4). Houston also ranked first in third-down defense (33.6), fourth in opponent completion percentage (59.5) and sixth in points allowed per game (19.8).

The 2016 unit led the league for the first time in franchise history in yards allowed (301.3).

With Vrabel as defensive coordinator last year, the Texans had the fifth-best third-down defense in the NFL and yielded a franchise-record 3.97 yards per carry by opponents. The team also had 18 different players record at least half a sack and 26 players with at least one tackle for loss. The 4-12 Texans finished with 19 players on injured reserve.

"I have always had a great deal of respect for Mike as a player and as a coach," Robinson said in a statement. "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."

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