Jim Wyatt, Senior Writer/EditorTitansOnline.com
It’s been a busy first few months on the job for new Titans head coach Mike Vrabel. Now, he’s looking forward to April 9 – the start of the team’s offseason program. It’s when players are scheduled to return to Saint Thomas Sports Park.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The calendar flips to April on Easter Sunday.
It’s one day closer to the team’s big new uniform reveal on April 4th, which everyone affiliated with the Titans is excited about.
The date head coach Mike Vrabel has circled is April 9th – the start of the offseason program. It’s when players are scheduled to return to Saint Thomas Sports Park.
“It’s coaching football,” Vrabel said. “That’s why I do what I do. I don’t do it to hang out with other assistant coaches. I could do that and retire and go see other guys, and kind of hang out. But I enjoy trying to develop a player. After winning, and winning a championship, which clearly everyone wants to do at this level or any level, my No.1 reason for coaching is to try and make players better, because somebody made me better. Somebody improved me.”Vrabel was hired in January to coach the Titans after previously serving as defensive coordinator with the Texans. He served as an assistant coach at Ohio State immediately following his playing days, prior to coaching in the NFL.
Up to this point, he’s met many of his new players, from returners to new additions. But during the offseason, many players spend time away from the facility, working out at different locations.
During that time, Vrabel and his coaching staff have used the days to prepare for their return — April 9 is that day in Tennessee. The team’s offseason program will run until the middle of June, and during the course of the next few months the team will be able to increase its activity on the field. Training camp will begin in late July.
At the NFL owners meetings this week, Vrabel said he hopes “we are putting the finishing touches on” the playbook in the near future.
He described the process with offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, defensive coordinator Dean Pees, and the rest of the coaches.
“Defensively Dean and I have sat down with the staff and gone though some of the things he’s done and I’ve done and what the coaches have done and they like, and you start, just like you would game planning for an opponent,” Vrabel said. “You start with first and second down: “How’d you do this? What problems did you have? OK.’ And that was the nice thing. Dean came from his system and where he’s been and there are things he believes in. There are things we did in Houston. There are things (secondary coach) Kerry Coombs did at Ohio State, and that (defensive line coach) Terrell Williams did prior to joining us. There’s an open line of communication with all the defensive coaches.
“And I’ll pop in and see Matt and his crew and (offensive line coach) Keith (Carter) talk about the run game. And I don’t know many offensive plays, but I know concepts clearly, because I’ve tried to defense all these different offenses. And they do the same thing. They start and they talk about the run game and they talk about the runs and they work on pass concepts and have somebody put it into a system and hopefully by the time our players come back that is cleaned up, that is formulated, and it’s early to teach from.”Vrabel, who played 14 NFL seasons with the Steelers, Patriots and Chiefs, is ready to go.
His first few months on the job have been busy, and exciting.
Soon comes the fun part.
“It has been exciting,” he said. “Every day is different. (General Manager) Jon (Robinson) and I talk in the morning, Jon and I talk at lunch. Jon and I talk at night, always trying to find ways to improve our team. I am excited about our staff, excited about the coaches that we have, and we’re making sure that they are able to teach, to develop and inspire their players – I think that is critical. That is what I try to do and that is what I’ll try and continue to do.”