How will the Titans fare without a defensive coordinator

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(Photo by Jacob Kupferman/Getty Images)

The Titans won’t be filling their DC vacancy. How will they fare without one?

Things are going to start looking a bit different on the Titans’ sideline come 2020. Former defensive coordinator Dean Pees announced his retirement shortly after Tennessee’s playoff run came to an end, but rather than bringing in a replacement for Pees, the team has opted to leave the position vacant for 2020.

In an unprecedented move, at least as far as Tennessee is concerned, the Titans defense will be run through a collective effort including head coach Mike Vrabel, recently hired linebackers coach Jim Haslett, and the collaboration of other defensive minds on the Tennessee sidelines.

Other teams have played around with similar ideas, with head coaches taking control of playcalling duties or teams appointing multiple coordinators, but the idea will look similar to how the New England Patriots run their defense– with Bill Belichick calling the plays, and leading the defense to a historically great season.

So Vrabel, “surprisingly” enough, wants to run a Patriots style defense where he leads the playcalling duties in collaboration with his defensive staff– and why wouldn’t he? Both he and Haslett have experience in coordinating defenses and calling plays. All the while Vrabel’s mentor, Bill Belichick, just successfully put together an elite defensive season without the help of a designated coordinator. Maybe the experiment is set to thrive.

There are reasons for optimism, but the ‘glass half empty’ argument is too sound to ignore. Many teams through the past two decades have tried to recreate the Patriots model for success– only to be exposed as generic brand knock offs of the real deal. And looking at the different pieces of the Titans defense, from a roster perspective as well as on the coaching staff, it’s fair to ask the question of “is this all actually going to work?”

Breaking down the Titans defensive outlook for 2020 is a tall task with plenty of moving parts, but solving the case starts with looking at the man in charge of it all, Mike Vrabel.

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