Vrabel’s mistake hurts Titans.
This is a tough day for Tennessee Titans fans. You almost had it.
The Houston Texans are spinning out and look poised for a collapse, the Jacksonville Jaguars won one game last year and are going through a season of change across the board, and the Indianapolis Colts are losing their starting quarterback and left tackle to retirement.
You were so close to taking over the AFC South. Unfortunately, Mike Vrabel just doesn’t care.
Don’t get me wrong, on game day Mike Vrabel wants to win as badly as anyone else. The problem is that he can’t look past his relationships and see how you are actually supposed to win games in the NFL.
Let’s get right to it, the Titans “officially hired’ Shane Bowen as the DC today after a year of what can only be described as utter incompetence.
But, he does have the one quality that matters more than anything else to Mike Vrabel when picking a coordinator or really anyone on his staff. He is friends with the head coach.
Don’t believe me, go back and look at the defensive hires that the Titans have made since Vrabel was given the job. Of the 8 coaches that Mike Vrabel has hired on the defensive side of the ball, only one didn’t have a relationship with him.
Sometimes that works out really well, but if you don’t branch out then eventually the well runs dry.
Sometimes the well dries up so quickly that you get a coach who is so far in over his head that you assume that they are getting fired midway through the season.
Look, at this point, you know that Shane Bowen is a bad coach, so I am not breaking any new ground here. He was a bad outside linebackers coach who never showed any understanding of how to help the players at his own position and Mike Vrabel was so scared to put the DC title on him in 2020 that they pretended like they didn’t even have a DC…
Vrabel’s instincts were right because he turned out to be the worst DC hire in Titans history whether he had the title or not.
It is almost unfathomable that Vrabel can look at what Bowen did on paper and think that he had a successful season. So when Vrabel made the decision to double down, he told players, coaches, and fans that results don’t matter.
I want to finish this with a quote from Mike Vrabel’s introductory press conference when he was asked about how involved he would be with defensive play-calling and how his relationship with his DC would be:
"Somebody’s got to stand up, it’s what you do. Here’s what you do, here’s my job: is going to be to accept responsibility, give credit and be decisive. That’s what I’m going to do, and that’s what I told Amy (Adams Strunk) and Jon (Robinson) that that’s what I’m going to do."
I would say that Vrabel has failed to accept responsibility for the trainwreck that was the Titans defense in 2020.
He has failed to give credit to Jon Robinson for giving him another old friend in Jadeveon Clowney to attempt to fix the problems (keep in mind, coming off of 2019’s defense coached by Dean Pees, we all thought that Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans were great and that the defensive backs were outstanding).
And it took two years for Vrabel to finally be “decisive” enough to actually give Bowen the DC title.
If that is his job description, then he is failing at his job.