Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel dealt with plenty of trials and tribulations in his first season leading a NFL franchise.
Losing a star tight end for the season in the first game of the year, Marcus Mariota’s nerve problems, and a defensive coordinator going to the hospital in the middle of a game are all things that are nearly impossible to overcome.
But Vrabel was able to make the best of a trying season and guide the Titans to a 9-7 record.
Despite the fact the Titans didn’t reach the playoffs for what would’ve been a second straight season, legendary NFL writer Peter King believes Vrabel’s first season in Nashville was a success.
Appearing on the Midday 180 on Tuesday, King called Vrabel an “outside the box thinker”, adding “he had a very, very good first year”.
“Vrabel is outside the box thinker, learned on the job. He will learn going forward that sometimes you have to make hard decisions. I have no idea why they threw the ball to back of end zone on 4th down in London..but I think he had a very, very good first year.” – @peter_king
— The Midday 180 (@Midday180) January 29, 2019
I agree with King’s thoughts here. Vrabel was far from perfect in his first season, but he exceeded my expectations. I don’t typically look for first time head coaches to make a splash. And while a 9-7 non-playoff season doesn’t qualify as a “splash”, it was still a very solid first year for Vrabel.
Because of Vrabel’s limited coaching experience, I felt like a 6-10 or 7-9 season was on the horizon for the Titans. Basically, I thought they’d take a step back before they took a step forward.
Obviously we can’t say the Titans took a step forward because they missed the playoffs. But I definitely don’t think they took a step back, either.
If Mariota can stay healthy in 2019, and if the Titans can address their biggest areas of need (interior offensive line, pass rusher, playmaker at wide receiver), then I think the Titans have a legitimate chance of winning the AFC South and making some noise in the playoffs.
Featured image via Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports