The Tennessee Titans finalized their 2020 coaching staff on Thursday, while also announcing the hire of former New Orleans Saints head coach Jim Haslett as the team’s new inside linebackers coach.
Haslett wasn’t a name that was really mentioned during Tennessee’s brief search for a linebackers coach, but the hire makes a lot of sense.
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel spent the first four seasons of his career with the Pittsburgh Steelers. Haslett was Vrabel’s defensive coordinator for the first three of those seasons.
Vrabel didn’t really have a position with Pittsburgh (he was moved around a lot), so when his contract was up he signed with the New England Patriots.
Haslett was so impressed with Vrabel during his time in Pittsburgh that he told Bill Belichick in 2001 that New England was getting a “kid who’s smart and can play almost any position”.
In that same interview, via the Post-Gazette, Haslett noted that Vrabel was very, very intelligent.
Jim Haslett has always thought a lot of Mike Vrabel pic.twitter.com/8sq6AhEjNB
— zach ragan (@zachTNT) February 6, 2020
Looking back, it should’ve been obvious early in Vrabel’s career that he was a future head coach. At that time, Haslett was one of the most highly regarded defensive minds in the league. For him to be that impressed by Vrabel’s knowledge of the game, says a lot about the football mind that Tennessee’s current head coach possesses.
It sounds like it probably didn’t take much to convince Haslett, who didn’t coach in the NFL last season, to make his way to Nashville to work under Vrabel.
Featured image via Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports