Seahawks Coach Search: What Vrabel brings, why he’s not with Titans
Jan 27, 2024, 12:38 PM
(Rich Storry/Getty Images)
The Seattle Seahawks and Washington Commanders are the only two teams without a head coach.
There’s no shortage of candidates for both teams, as plenty of offensive and defensive coordinators are getting interviewed by Seattle and Washington, and multiple former head coaches are available.
One of those former head coaches is Mike Vrabel, the NFL Coach of the Year in 2021 who was fired by the Tennessee Titans this offseason after six years.
The former NFL linebacker was interviewed by a few teams that have since hired other coaches, and there haven’t been any reports of the Seahawks or Commanders interviewing Vrabel. There was some buzz that Seattle would be interested in talking to him, though. Because Vrabel was fired by Tennessee, the Seahawks can talk directly to him without involving any teams, so it is possible the two sides have talked and it just hasn’t been reported.
So what should you know about Vrabel’s time in Tennessee? ESPN Titans reporter Turron Davenport joined Seattle Sports’ Wyman and Bob on Friday to share his insight.
The Titans finished over .500 with three playoff appearances in Vrabel’s first four seasons as head coach. But in 2022 and 2023, things went south and the Titans went a combined 13-21.
“There are some who feel that he was the problem,” Davenport said. “You look at some of the things that come from within the building, some people that I’ve talked to, they discussed how it was one of those things where he wasn’t willing to take on some of the new modern innovative things that the organization wanted to implement. So that was an issue.”
Vrabel also had issues with the front office, Davenport said, as he didn’t mesh well with former general manager Jon Robinson, who was fired after 2022, and Vrabel’s pick for the next general manager, Ryan Cowden, didn’t get hired.
“The main thing that he has to make clear is that he’s not going to get into a power struggle for control of the roster. That’s the big thing,” Davenport said. ” … That was something that was an ongoing issue from that point all the way up until a week and a half ago when (Vrabel) got fired … There was an acceptance issue with (new general manager) Ran Carthon. They got along, but that mix, it wasn’t going correctly.”
Vrabel’s old school approach did at times rub people the wrong way, Davenport said.
“I think, as a coach, he definitely is a really good coach from a technical standpoint, situation-wise. But the one thing also that came from within that building is just the emotional rollercoaster,” he said. “Where as a coach, you have to be even keeled. And apparently, in that building, there were times where that week after a loss was just miserable and people didn’t want to come to the building.”
Vrabel at times had a “my way or the highway” approach, Davenport said, and “it got old” to too many people.
“I do know towards the end, it kind of went sour in certain aspects of the locker room, and that was something as well,” he said.
In terms of X’s and O’s, Vrabel was a devout believer in running the ball on offense, limiting turnovers and stopping the run defensively.
“(Vrabel’s dismissal was) more that, just that whole getting out of the old school way of doing things and getting more innovative, especially on offense. This is a team that ran the football an awful lot,” Davenport said.
Despite how it ended, Davenport thinks Vrabel is a very good coach.
“Mike Vrabel will always get an endorsement from me. He has been a coach that got the most out of talent,” he said. “You look at 2021, this is a team that lost (star running back) Derrick Henry for seven games and they managed to find themselves at the top of the AFC … It was time for a change. And I think he could go someplace else and definitely have an impact.”
“I really, really feel that wherever he goes next, he’s going to have success,” Davenport later said. “It’s just one of those things where if you’re winning, it’s great. But if you’re losing, you start to take a double look at things.”
Listen to Wyman and Bob’s full conversation with Turron Davenport at this link or in the player near the top of this story.
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