The 2018 season has been a roller coaster for the Tennessee Titans.
There have been highs (three game winning streak, huge wins against the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots). And there have been lows (embarrassing losses to the Buffalo Bills, Baltimore Ravens and Indianapolis Colts).
After watching the Titans reach the playoffs last season, and knock off the Kansas City Chiefs in the wild card round, it’s surely been frustrating for fans to watch the team struggle at times this year.
Mike Vrabel was hired because the Titans didn’t think previous head coach Mike Mularkey could take the franchise to the next level.
Through the first ten games of the Vrabel era, it’s understandable that some fans have questioned whether or not hiring Vrabel was the right move.
What some folks fail to realize is that Vrabel, as a first time head coach, isn’t a miracle worker. Few coaches in NFL history have been able to make a huge impact (in the standings) in their first season.
This is a point that was illustrated masterfully by ESPN’s Turron Davenport, who covers the Titans in Nashville.
I’m not saying #Titans will win Super Bowl next yr, but these are the same kinds of posts I saw about Doug Pederson, Howie Roseman, and the Eagles in 2016. “Suddenly” in 2017 they became geniuses. People want microwave results from something that’s not microwavable. https://t.co/vCknGPuwbl
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) November 22, 2018
I’ve wrote about this before, but Doug Pederson is exactly who Vrabel should be compared to as a NFL head coach.
Vrabel, like Pederson had to in 2016, is adjusting to being a head coach for the first time in his life. That means he’s made some inexplicable mistakes. But as long as he’s learning from those mistakes, there’s no reason to be concerned.
As Davenport pointed out, Eagles fans were quite upset with Pederson late in the 2016 season.
Exactly why ppl are starting to question Doug Pederson. This is not “rookie” coaching mistakes.This is just a lack of awareness on his part.
— Gayle Saunders (@EagleSessions) December 11, 2016
It wasn’t just Eagles fans, by the way, who criticized Pederson and called his hiring a “mistake”.
With the #Eagles locking up Roseman/Pederson until 2022, let’s look back at this gem.
“Doug Pederson is the least qualified head coach.”
“The only way Doug Pederson’s job is saved is by Carson Wentz.”
“When will the #Eagles admit their mistake?”
— Tyler Steege (@TSteegeNFL) August 5, 2018
The snap judgements about Pederson were terribly misguided, as the Eagles won the Super Bowl (with a backup quarterback) in his second season as a head coach.
I’ve preached it a lot this year, but Titans fans must show patience with Vrabel. The wins against the Cowboys and Patriots weren’t flukes. Those types of wins can become the new normal in Nashville, it’s just going to take a bit for Vrabel to iron out the wrinkles.
Vrabel’s a smart guy. He’s learning from his mistakes.
But he might need to make a few more before the Titans are ready to make some serious noise in the AFC.
It worked out pretty well in Philadelphia. There’s no reason to believe it won’t work well in Nashville.
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports