The immediate takeaway from the Tennessee Titans’ decision to fire Mike Vrabel, to me, has nothing to do with them. Think about this: we’re a widely expected announcement away from Mike Vrabel, Jim Harbaugh and Bill Belichick being on the NFL head coaching market this offseason.
That’s hard to believe.
Titans fired head coach Mike Vrabel, per sources.
Vrabel led Tennessee to four consecutive winning seasons after arriving in 2018, but the Titans have experienced back-to-back frustrating seasons, finishing multiple games under .500 both times.
I guess when it comes to Harbaugh, it’s an annual flirtation with returning to the NFL. You’d think in just about any other coaching cycle, Harbaugh would be the biggest fish to catch. Not if the greatest coach of all-time is available — and I’d hear an argument for going with Vrabel over Harbaugh for the mere fact that the latter is a f*cking weird dude.
Vrabel dragged some of those Titans teams well into the playoffs, led them to the No. 1 seed one year, and knocked off the top-seeded Ravens during quarterbacky Lamar Jackson’s last MVP run en route to an AFC Championship Game appearance. Those are just some of Vrabel’s achievements in Nashville. The Titans were about to hand him the keys to the city/kingdom/organization until very recently:
The Tennessee Titans have fired head coach Mike Vrabel, a team source said. Just six weeks ago, owner Amy Adams Strunk had plans for Vrabel to be part of the organization for years to come, believing they had a top NFL coach. Recently, ownership changed its mind.
Considering Tennessee just put Trevor Lawrence’s Jacksonville Jaguars in a blender in the regular-season finale with such a bad roster, I’m more than a little surprised the Titans opted to fire Vrabel. However, speculation has swirled that he wanted a change of scenery for a while. Sort of feels like the Titans were saving face a bit, and there appear to be hard feelings given how his departure is being reported/framed.
It’s weird that Vrabel of all people is the fall guy for how things have gone south for Tennessee of late. He wasn’t the one who pulled the trigger on the AJ Brown trade.
Trading AJ Brown was one of, if not THE worst move in their history as a franchise.
I don’t think Vrabel was standing on the table for that.
The Titans’ roster has been in really bad shape for years. Ryan Tannehill was the quarterback they were building around, and while he’s serviceable, you can’t trot out a garbage offensive line and expect any QB to flourish.
What’s amazing about all this is, Belichick used to coach Vrabel when he was a player for the Patriots. It’s very possible the ex-star linebacker could have a homecoming of sorts to Foxborough and be Belichick’s successor. The evidence is mounting…
Mike Vrabel to Patriots fans in October: “I want you not to take this organization for granted. I’ve been a lot of places. This is a special place with great leadership, great fans, great direction, great coaching.
Now that Arthur Smith is out in Atlanta, Vrabel can go to him for a reunion from their time in Tennessee if he so desires. With the Washington Commanders cleaning house, Eric Bieniemy will be a hot offensive coordinator candidate. I say that because he’s been passed up multiple times for head coaching gigs in the past, and made a lateral move to Washington last year to try to boost his stock to no avail.
Presuming Belichick leaves New England, it’s almost a lock that Josh McDaniels will be his OC in a package deal. Vrabel and Smith were a formidable duo in Tennessee, so the logic checks out there. Those are some pretty elite combinations. Then, you have Harbaugh, who’d likely call the plays himself and will, like Belichick and Vrabel, have his pick of the litter as far as coaching vacancies are concerned.
Multiple NFL teams have been gathering information about Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, who has updated staff lists and evaluated openings in anticipation of a potential return to pro football — and things could move fast next week.
This is one of the most exciting coaching cycles in NFL history, if not the most. If the Bears move on from Matt Eberflus and Belichick no longer coaches the Pats, we could have seven of the top nine picks in the 2024 NFL Draft being made by teams who’ll be in the market for a new head coach: Bears, Commanders, Patriots, Chargers, Titans and Falcons.
Vrabel is going to make a major splash wherever he lands. Sure seems like he’s eyeing the Patriots job, but anyone else looking for a coach would be dumb not to at least give him a call.