Mike Vrabel Turns Down 49ers, Will Stay With Texans

Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel is staying put. According to John Middlekauff of 95.7 The Game (via Twitter), Vrabel has turned down the 49ers offer to become the team’s next defensive coordinator, and he’ll be returning to Houston for the 2016 season.

Mike VrabelVrabel emerged as a contender for the job earlier this week, even after reports emerged that coach Chip Kelly was considering sticking with incumbent coordinator Eric Mangini. Middlekauff’s tweet indicates that the job was offered to Vrabel, so it will be interesting to see if the team now switches focus to Mangini or another candidate. As our own Luke Adams noted earlier this week, Vrabel was the first outside candidate to be connected to the gig.

The long-time Patriots linebacker joined the Texans coaching staff in 2014, and he’s seen success in his two years on the job. The Texans finished the regular season third in the league in total yards allowed, and their 19.6 points allowed per game ranked seventh. Furthermore, some players absolutely flourished under Vrabel’s watch, including Whitney Mercilus, who finished with 15 sacks. Prior to his tenure in Houston, Vrabel spent several seasons on the Ohio State coaching staff.

Mike Florio of ProFootballTalk.com wonders if Vrabel may have received a “wink-nod commitment” from Texans coach Bill O’Brien to become the team’s future defensive coordinator. Romeo Crennel currently holds the position, but the 68-year-old is presumably nearing the end of his coaching career.

Eric Branch of the San Francisco Chronicle notes that Kelly’s Eagles never ranked higher than 28th in total defense during his three season in Philly. However, the 49ers new head coach was quick to dismiss the assumption that his fast-paced offense impacts his defensive unit.

“We get into the time of possession question and we’ve been in games where it was identical play snaps for us and our opponent,” Kelly said. “It was identical yardage for us and our opponent. It was identical first downs for us and our opponent. We won the game by seven, but they had the ball for 10 more minutes than we did.

“So all I learned is that they stand around better than we stand around. It’s still plays run. I’ve also never met a defense player that says, ‘Coach, I want you to possess the ball for the entire game so I don’t have to play.’”

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6 comments on “Mike Vrabel Turns Down 49ers, Will Stay With Texans

  1. Thronson5

    As 9ers fan a part of me feels the burn from being turned down but I’m also kind of happy. I know he is a good LB coach but not sure about DC. Call me crazy but I’d say go after Singletary as DC (don’t need to talk smack I know that won’t happen), bring in Lovie Smith as DC (I know I’m dreaming there) or just retain Mangini as the DC. I think we could do worse than Mangini right?

  2. Smart move.. He must see the circus about to come into SF after Kelly’s hiring and wants to avoid it.

  3. Dallas Robinson

    I think this is almost a little embarrassing for Kelly, in that he couldn’t get a position coach (whom the Texans didn’t technically even have to let interview) to accept his DC job.

  4. Matthew

    Time of possession doesn’t matter? Kelly is an idiot. When your defense is on the field for an extra 10 minutes a game because the offense goes 3 and outs every 2 minutes. The defense is going to be gassed. Gassed not just for the 4th quarter but through a whole season season it risks more injuries and will reduce the effectiveness of the defense over the course of the season.

    I hope my 49ers go 0-16 this year and another huge round of all-star veteran and up and coming retirements. I hope for this because I want that front office cleaned out. The team as a whole has become nothing short of a laughable disaster since Baalke started the rumors that Harbaugh had lost the locker room.

  5. Thronson5

    As much as u can’t stand Balke for chasing out Harbaugh and Jed York..well..just cause Jed York is a moron and knows nothing about the game and is ruining this team, I’d never wish us to go 0-16 that would demolish the young guys confidence on the team and we have some good young talent like Hyde and others. We need to fix our O Line and work on our defense. Get a standout CB, LB and DL. Completely remake that O Line with the exception of Staley. Hopefully we get Anthony back from retirement for the O Line.

    • Matthew

      Hyde will be traded he doesn’t fit Kelly’s system. He can’t catch out of the backfield and is a straight ahead runner that has the potentially to be injury plagued like Steven Jackson. Personally I really like Hyde and I will be unhappy if he is traded. Staley will retire in 2-3 years. The 49ers would be better off trading him at this point. That way they get picks or young controllable talent back in return. Anthony Davis is gone. He will stay retired until the 49ers rights to him are gone. If he does come back.

      After Kelly’s tenure in Philly getting any assistant coaches to work with him will be a trial in and of itself.

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