After years of great bounce-back performances, Tennessee Titans fans have come to expect Mike Vrabel teams to rebound from a loss quickly. At what point should fans stop expecting that?
Let's go back and look at how we got to this point. Vrabel came in with high expectations after the Tennessee Titans had gone to the playoffs (and won a game) the previous year. Then-GM Jon Robinson wanted to bring in a leader who could help take that playoff team to the next level.
Mike Vrabel didn't disappoint and he helped uphold the Tennessee Titans new habit of stringing together winning seasons and he did that by quickly turning the team around and getting them focused after a loss.
In his first season, the Titans only had three instances of back-to-back losses. The next season he did more of the same with the Titans only losing back-to-back games three times while stringing together several win streaks.
Then came 2020 when the team really started to hit their peek. During that season, the Tennessee Titans only lost back-to-back games once. In 2021, despite injuries all over the roster, Mike Vrabel did it again and the Titans only had one instance of back-to-back losses as they made their way to the 1-seed in the AFC.
All-in-all, the Tennessee Titans only lost back-to-back games 8 times in their first four seasons (65 games) under Mike Vrabel.
Unfortunately, over the last season and change (20 games), the Tennessee Titans have lost back-to-back games 8 times.
You can blame injuries if you want, but in 2021 the Tennessee Titans were beating playoff-caliber teams with guys like Derrick Henry, A.J. Brown, Julio Jones, and Taylor Lewan, all missing games. During this most recent stretch of losing, the Titans were losing to the likes of the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars.
I'm not saying that Mike Vrabel is a bad coach, but I do think people need to take a step back and stop assuming that this team just needs a few hard practices and a good speech to get back to their winning ways. Losing 9 of your last 10 games is bad, period.
Throughout the entire offseason, the Tennessee Titans' moves insisted that they knew the problems on the roster and were working to make them better. However, through three games I am struggling to find a single position group that looks better this year than last year (excluding kicker).
Mike Vrabel can coach a well-constructed roster to the playoffs, and they might even be able to win a few games when they get there. However, fans should be concerned about how long it might take to get this roster back to that state.
At the very least, he misunderstood what this roster was and he failed to maximize free agency and the draft. Not only are the Titans potentially in a worse position than they were last season, but that brain trust is going to have to make some critical choices next offseason and fans are going to have to trust that they won't make the same mistakes again in 2024.
There is still a lot of time left to rebound this season, but maybe not as much as people think and the fan base's confidence hasn't been this low since 2015.