Mike Vrabel, former defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans, is moving on after being hired as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans. With this new role, Vrabel will be taking over a Titans squad that had a 9-7 record in 2017, and made it to the second round of playoffs before losing to the New England Patriots.

Former linebacker for the Steelers, Patriots, and Chiefs, Mike Vrabel was electric. He garnered 57 sacks, 511 tackles, and 19 forced fumbles over his 14 year career. His three Super Bowl rings with the New England Patriots in 2001, 2003, and 2004 aren’t too shabby either.

Mike Vrabel was with the Patriots from 2001 to 2008 (RealClearSports).

After his illustrious career as a player, Vrabel moved to coaching, first as a linebackers and defensive line coach for Ohio State from 2011 to 2013. He was then hired by the Texans in 2014 as a linebackers coach, and continued to be the linebackers coach until the 2017 season.

In 2017, Vrabel was promoted to defensive coordinator, leading a unit with star players such as J.J. Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and Jadeveon Clowney. But sadly J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus came down with season-ending injuries, and the Texans defense allowed a league-worst 436 points to opposing teams.

Brandin Cooks (above) is one of the many players to score against the Texans this season (Matt West).

Vrabel leaving the Texans is not something fans should be worried about, rather they should be rejoicing. The once formidable Texans defense was routinely shredded by opposing offenses under Mike Vrabel, so him leaving could very well benefit the Texans.

Before Vrabel was the defensive coordinator, the Texans had Romeo Crennel at the helm. Under Crennel’s leadership, the Texans defense allowed 307 points in 2014, 313 points in 2015, and 328 points in 2016. All of these totals were in the bottom-third of the league and a far outcry from what the defense did this year under Vrabel. I understand many believe Vrabel did the best he could with Watt and Mercilus coming down, but keep in mind the Texans under Crennel were still an elite defense in the 2016 season, where Watt only played three games.

With over 48 years in coaching experience, Romeo Crennel has coached the Giants, Patriots, Jets, Browns, and Chiefs before being hired by the Texans in 2014. He has been coaching so long that, during his four year stint with the Patriots from 2001 to 2004, he helped the Patriots win three Super Bowls as their defensive coordinator. During this time, he was also in charge of coaching a hot-shot linebacker named Mike Vrabel: the man who would eventually take his job 14 years later.

While Vrabel did only take his job for a season, Crennel’s past success in the NFL and with the Houston Texans is undeniable. With many defensive stars like J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus returning from injury, Crennel and the Texans defense look primed to once again be one of the best in football.

Crennel has been coaching football ever since he was a defensive line coach at Western Kentucky in 1970 (Brett Coomer/Houston Chronicle).

 

 

 

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