Watching his interviews and listening to the reasons why the Tennessee Titans hired him, it is easy to see why he was such an appealing candidate. Just listen to any of the recent radio hits about Carthon on 104.5 The Zone in Nashville.
In those podcasts, you can hear coach Dave McGinnis rave about his work ethic based on their time together with the St. Louis Rams. Titans executive Burk Nihill talks about the hits that he has been involved in later in the draft when he was allowed to influence draft picks. Then you have countless anecdotes from anonymous sources inside other buildings that talk about what a great person he is.
There should be no doubt that he is going to put in the work that he needs to as the Tennessee Titans GM and he is going to be able to communicate and delegate effectively.
The other big thing that we learned this weekend is that there isn’t going to be a single person in that building who will be solely responsible for any big mistakes or big moves that work.
Tennessee Titans are set up for Mike Vrabel-flavored ambiguity
The first question in Ran Carthon’s introductory interview was about what was the first thing on his to-do list. He then dropped a line that could be potentially infamous when he said,
"“Mike Vrabel is the first thing on my to-do list.”"
He then went on to describe what he meant by that and long story short, his job as the GM is to be like water. He is going to be tasked by Mike Vrabel to find guys who are going to have to fill a certain role for the team and then they will “collaborate” to decide what to do with that information.
There were follow-up questions sprinkled throughout the interview, but the consistent response was that this is a team that is going to be designed in Mike Vrabel’s image and that Carthon completely agreed with Vrabel’s philosophies.
What that means is that no one outside of the building is going to be able to praise or defend Mike Vrabel without needing to praise or defend Ran Carthon. For better or worse, Carthon’s job seems to be to provide Mike Vrabel with a menu and a recommendation, and then it is up to Mike Vrabel to decide what he wants to do from there.
This isn’t an inherently bad or good policy, but it is different from what we have seen in the past. There will be fewer swings on guys like Jeffery Simmons and Caleb Farley because there will be more obvious plug-and-play options with Vrabel not necessarily aiming for guys with pure upside. The job is no longer about trying to find the best players, it is about finding the best fits for “Mike Vrabel’s schemes.”
That hopefully means that (assuming that the scouting report is correct) there will be a more streamlined approach to get prospects on the field without needing to prove themselves on special teams first.
Collaboration is the word of the year for the Tennessee Titans in 2023 and you are going to keep hearing it. The good news is that the Titans hired a GM who seems to be a very good communicator with experience on both sides of the front office, so he should be able to give clear reports to Mike Vrabel so that the HC can make the best choices for the team in their pursuit to a championship.