Why Mike Vrabel’s Decision to Not Hire a Defensive Coordinator Could Not Only Hurt The Titans Now, But In The Future As Well – BlackSportsOnline
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NASHVILLE, TENNESSEE - DECEMBER 06: Head coach Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans watches as his team plays the Cleveland Browns in the first quarter at Nissan Stadium on December 06, 2020 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)


Why Mike Vrabel’s Decision to Not Hire a Defensive Coordinator Could Not Only Hurt The Titans Now, But In The Future As Well

When Dean Pees decided to step away from football this past off-season, attention immediately shifted towards who would replace Pees, and assume the defensive coordinator title on Mike Vrabel’s staff.

An outside candidate was a possibility, but the as the off-season’s early stages started to wind down, word started to trickle out that an in-house hire was the more likely course of action to be taken. So all of us interested in this bit of news went to work, dissecting which position coaches on the Titans’ coaching staff would be in the running for a potentially once in a lifetime promotion.

But instead of doing just that, or even going outside of the organization to find a true defensive coordinator, Mike Vrabel made a decision that’s still making us scratch our heads today.

He opted to leave the defensive coordinator position vacant, while thrusting himself into a more involved role with the defense.

What Vrabel did wasn’t odd, in fact, these kind of moves occur more times than you might think.

We’ve seen many head coaches in recent memory give their selves more of a structural role on offense and defense, or whatever side of the ball they’re most confident in submerging in.

But if you do make this move, you’d probably have to have some sort of previous amount of success in an increased role when it comes to gameplans and in-game duties, just to ease any sort of concerns others might have.

Although it was a brief time, Vrabel didn’t have that sort of previous success to ride home about. In fact, during the only year he coordinated a defense(2017 Houston Texans), that same defense ranked in the bottom tier of the league in a number of defensive categories.

A Look at The Numbers

24th in passing yards allowed per game, 23rd in total sacks, last in yards per attempt given up, 31st in passing touchdowns allowed, these are just a few basic stats that the Texans struggled in when it came to defending the pass.

To be fair though, Vrabel had to work around some injuries a healthy amount of key contributors sustained during that year.

But here’s the kicker, the Titans them selves have struggled in those same categories this season, all with Mike Vrabel heavily involved with the defense.

25th in passing yards allowed per game, 25th in total sacks, 21st in yards per attempt given up, and tied for last in passing touchdowns allowed. I don’t know about you, but these sort of stats should tell you that although its on a limited scale, Mike Vrabel being heavily involved with the defense is going to bring you more harm than good.

The Consequences For Not Hiring a Defensive Coordinator

When a guy that’s coordinated a bad defense in the past makes himself the de facto leader of the defense, you’ll tend to run into trouble.

Not only in the present, as the numbers above show, but the near future as well.

This Titans team is supposed to contend this season, not just for a spot in the playoffs, but for a chance to reach the Super Bowl. Tennessee possesses one of the best offenses in all of football, but it tends to get somewhat overshadowed by the pitiful excuse of defense we’ve seen so far this year.

With the amount of offense that resides in this stacked AFC conference, you better bring you a-game on defense. Because if you don’t, you’ll find yourself getting booted from the playoffs far earlier than you were expecting.

For the Titans, an early playoff exit wouldn’t mean just a wasted year of potential contention, it’d also mean risking your plans of contention in the future.

Don’t forget, the league wide salary cap is going to suffer next year as a result of COVID-19 complications. That means less money per club to spend, and more time budgeting, figuring out how to maneuver the decreased cap numbers.

The Titans could be smack dab right in the middle of this mess, simply due to the fact that they have their own contract situations to ponder. Corey Davis will need a new deal, as does Jayon Brown, along with DaQuan Jones and Jonnu Smith.

All 4 of those guys are critical pieces to the Titans’ success on both offense and defense, losing any of them would certainly force the Titans into some sticky situations when it comes to replacements.

Not only that, the man that’s responsible for coordinating this explosive Titans offense — Arthur Smith– is going to be in hot demand in the head coaching market.

Those are 5 important pieces to your football team you could be losing soon, and you would’ve lost them due to the fact that the defense couldn’t find a way to get it together, and work hand in hand with the offense to make this team play to the fullest of their potential.

Mike Vrabel’s decision to not hire a defensive coordinator won’t be the complete downfall of this team. It’s still way too talented, and a lot of things are uncertain about the AFC playoff field as a whole.

But the decision could play a part as to why one year of this team’s contention window was wasted, and why a wasted year could have consequences surrounding the Titans’ status in the future as a true AFC contender.