What does Mike Vrabel do well as a head coach? I posed this question on Twitter Sunday night and got a variety of answers. As with everything online these days, most people are polarized. There are people that think Mike Vrabel is the best coach in the league and can do no wrong. There are also people that think he can do nothing right and should be fired immediately.
One thing is for sure, the biggest problem this team has is personnel - specifically on the offensive line. They are so bad that it makes judging just about anyone else involved with the offense impossible.
As I talked about on this morning’s Home Run Throwback podcast (listen here), I am firmly on the fence when it comes to Vrabel. There are plenty of things that I can point to that Vrabel has done well, and there are also plenty of things that I can point to where his decision making wasn’t good. That is going to be the case with pretty much every head coach in the league.
Our friend Justin Melo had a good response to my question:
1) team is prepared.— Justin M (@JustinM_NFL) November 13, 2023
2) play hard for him.
3) players coach.
4) outstanding leader.
5) builds unique relationships w. players.
6) outstanding understanding of rule book + how 2 use 2 his advantage (see NE playoff gm.)
There isn't a coach in this league that wins w/ this roster.
All 6 of those things were true at one point in time, but I’m not sure they are anymore. How can you tell this team is prepared? Vrabel talks every week in his postgame presser about all of the “x plays” they gave up in the game. Is that a lack of preparation or a lack of execution? It’s hard to tell from the outside.
Do they still play hard for him? The team didn’t look like they were playing with a ton of energy on Sunday, and it wasn’t the first time:
I said it last year (ad nauseum) but this #Titans team fails to have energy.— Football & Other F Words (@FWordsPod) November 12, 2023
When you see the difference in effort from other teams and other players consistently, and look at the Titans, it is so glaring it hurts.
Take from that what you will, but it is the damn truth, these…
As for Melo’s numbers 3, 4, and 5, what do they matter if the team isn’t winning on the field? I’d argue they don’t matter even a little bit.
And number 6, the example he gives happened before the pandemic happened. Vrabel did a great job of using his knowledge of the rule book to his advantage that night, but what has he done to show that off since?
To be fair to Vrabel, I do agree with Melo’s last statement that no coach is winning with this roster.
Again, I’m not saying I want Vrabel fired, but I do think some of the narratives around him as a coach need to be updated.