NASHVILLE — Tennessee Titans GM Jon Robinson and coach Mike Vrabel delivered a strong message on Tuesday. The release of corner Adoree’ Jackson means that the product on defense in 2020 just was not good enough.
It is clear that Robinson and Vrabel are aligned in thinking that the failures were on the players, not the coaches.
Pandemic finances made it much easier to pull the trigger. Jackson’s fifth-year option salary of $10.24 million is now off the books. Tennessee also cleared $3.41 million in additional space by moving on from right tackle Dennis Kelly.
Kelly’s release comes one year to the day of Robinson signing the swing tackle to a three-year deal worth $17.25 million.
Titans choose coaches over personnel
You have read and heard about the Titans defensive struggles ad nauseam.
Robinson’s culling of a high priced secondary this month, including Jackson, Malcolm Butler and Kenny Vaccaro speaks to validate Vrabel. Defensive coordinator Shane Bowen will have a substantially different unit in 2021. The Tennessee group that accumulated only 19 sacks and allowed opponents to convert third downs 58.1% of the time is out the door or no longer under contract.
Vrabel and his staff will be able to wipe the slate clean.
There is no question, however, that the pressure now turns to those same Titans coaches. All but a handful of Tennessee’s defensive starters remain. If Vrabel and Robinson are steadfast in their belief that a once-good defense had now become the problem, they will be justified in their decisions.
Lucky for them, the only way that side of the ball can trend after 2020 is up.
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