The Tennessee Titans are very much in the mix to make the playoffs this season as a wild card.
But reaching the playoffs (or not reaching the playoffs) in 2018 won’t have anything to do with the Titans’ success in 2019.
2018 has always been a transition year for the Titans. A couple of exciting wins might have shifted the focus a bit for the fan base, but making a deep playoff run was never the goal for Tennessee this season.
The Titans fired previous head coach Mike Mularkey because they believed the franchise had hit its ceiling under his guidance. Mike Vrabel was hired to take the team to the next level.
However, when a coach who led a team to the playoffs is fired, the franchise is essentially acknowledging they have to take a step back to take a step forward.
What the Titans did is similar to what the Georgia Bulldogs did a few years ago. Georgia fired a coach that regularly won ten games a season to hire a coach they believed could take them to the next level. In Kirby Smart’s first season in Athens after taking over for Mark Richt, the Bulldogs won two fewer games than they did the previous season.
The next season, Georgia was playing for the national championship.
That’s basically the kind of outcome the Titans are hoping for with Vrabel.
The 2018 season is all about Mike Vrabel and offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur finding their footing and establishing a culture that will last for years to come.
We’ve seen flashes of what’s possible under the leadership of Vrabel and LaFleur. The Titans’ performances against the Dallas Cowboys and the New England Patriots were very impressive/encouraging.
But the Titans are still an inconsistent football team, as we saw in their 38-10 loss to the Indianapolis Colts.
The foundation of a good football team is in place in Nashville. Now, it’s all about ironing out the kinks.
I have no idea how successful Vrabel will be as the Titans’ head coach, but I do feel confident that we haven’t come close to seeing his ceiling yet.
And that should be enough for Titans fans to invest some hope in the first year head coach.
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