Vrabel finally gets to work with players


NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Mike Vrabel is finally getting to work with players as the Titans’ new coach.

He spent much of the first day of Tennessee’s offseason program with players making introductions and explaining his expectations for the 2018 season.

“There was an energy in the building,” Vrabel said. “I think that’s all we can ask for.”

Vrabel has been thinking about this first day since accepting the Titans’ job in January . Next comes implementing his system and teaching it to the Titans. The first-time head coach will be relying upon his coordinators to help build, teach and apply their respective schemes with the Titans installing new offensive and defensive systems with Matt LaFleur on offense and Dean Pees on defense.

He takes over a franchise that has gone 9-7 each of the past two seasons and just won its first playoff game in 14 years. After that victory came an ugly loss in the divisional round at New England , and Tennessee fired coach Mike Mularkey two days later.

For the first two weeks, NFL clubs are not permitted to do work on the field and limited to conditioning, weightlifting and classroom work. Even when Vrabel gets the chance to get on the field with his club, he said he will be careful not to rush.

“That’s a huge mistake we can make,” Vrabel said. “We’re not going to rush and try to shove a bunch of stuff down their throats. We do have two weeks before we have a voluntary mini-camp. It’ll be my job to kind of have a feel for where we’re at. I don’t want to go out on the field and have a bunch of stuff and them not be able to execute. Whatever we feel like we know, then that’s what we’ll run in the mini-camp.”

With the program being voluntary, Vrabel said he didn’t take attendance and wasn’t concerned with who wasn’t on hand. The coach said a few texted him to make sure Vrabel knew they couldn’t make it.

The Titans’ new playbook is all ready to go, though Vrabel said it will change and evolve.

“I think what you find is players get professional initiative,” Vrabel said. “When players prove that they can do their job, they say, ‘Hey, coach, have you ever thought about doing it this way?’ It’s going to be something that we’re going to listen to. And when we start game-planning for teams, I’m sure there will be some things that we’ll add to the playbook.”

When asked how different the Titans offense and defense might look from the previous two years under former head coach Mike Mularkey, Vrabel did not elaborate.

“Every year is different,” he said. “There’s new players and new coaches, new schemes. There may be a team that has no coaching changes, but they’re going to look differently, because they’re trying to do things better. They’re trying to win more games.”