Less than a week after the departure of Mike Mularkey, the Titans have found his replacement in Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel, the team announced Saturday.
The former Patriots linebacker is set to be introduced at a press conference on Monday. Terms of the deal have yet to be disclosed. Vrabel becomes the 19th head coach in franchise history and the fourth since 2011.
Vrabel met with team general manager Jon Robinson and instantly hit it off, according to Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk. “You could see their connection right away from the history they have with one another – seeing the game in a similar way and talking the same language. Mike has a commanding presence and a deep knowledge for how he will attack this head coaching opportunity,” she said.
The chemistry should come as no surprise, as both were members of the Patriots organization –Vrabel as a player and Robinson as a scout.
“This is an incredible opportunity and one I have been preparing for my entire football life,” Vrabel said. “I am excited to get to work & that work starts now. Everything we do is going to be geared towards winning & being physical.”
Vrabel, 42, served one season as Houston’s defensive coordinator after beginning his NFL coaching career as a linebackers coach with the Texans for three seasons. The 14-year NFL veteran won three Super Bowls as a player, spending the majority of his career in New England. He earned one Pro Bowl and one First Team All-Pro selection (2007).
Despite being highly thought of around the league, Vrabel’s first season as defensive coordinator did not jump off the page. Houston’s defense finished last in points allowed, middle of the pack in yards and in the bottom 10 in sacks.
At the outset of the search, Robinson made it clear he wanted a “leader of men.” It was thought Patriots offensive coordinator Josh McDaniels was that leader, but Vrabel wowed Robinson in their meeting on Wednesday and the team never met with McDaniels. The team also interviewed Rams offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, and Panthers defensive coordinator Steve Wilks.
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