Who is Jim Haslett?
Jim Haslett, as mentioned earlier, is the Titans new inside linebackers coach– and an experienced one at that, serving a similar role through the decades with the Raiders, Saints, and most recently in 2018 with the Bengals.
More important than his inside linebacker experience, however, is Haslett’s experience coordinating an entire defense. Haslett’s first job as a DC came in 1996 with the New Orleans Saints, which he parlayed into the same job with the Steelers before turning that into a five-year stint as a head coach (once again with the Saints).
Haslett didn’t fall into those promotions by chance either. In his three years running the defense with Pittsburgh, the Steelers managed to finish 11th, 7th, and 12th in points per game on defense.
All that said, it’s been a long while since Haslett’s heyday, and his fall from the top since the late 90s has not been graceful. His last job as a defensive coordinator came back between 2010 and 2014 with the Washington Redskins, where his defenses ranked no higher than 21st in points allowed per game– and finished tied for 30th in 2013 and 29th in 2014.
It comes back to the question about Vrabel’s defensive coordinator career. Haslett has the experience, sure, but how much of that experience is good? How much is a history of calling defensive plays worth if your recent track record shows more bottom of the barrel seasons than elite ones?
And more importantly, how does it impact 2020? Can Vrabel and Haslett overcome their less than stellar coordinator resumes? Can they come together, along with the rest of the staff and roster, to pull a Belichick and make this crazy, coordinator-less season work?