Mike Vrabel

Last updated

Mike Vrabel
Coach Mike Vrabel.jpg
Vrabel with the Titans in 2019
Tennessee Titans
Position: Head coach
Personal information
Born: (1975-08-14) August 14, 1975 (age 44)
Akron, Ohio
Height:6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)
Weight:261 lb (118 kg)
Career information
High school: Walsh Jesuit
(Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio)
College: Ohio State
NFL Draft: 1997  / Round: 3 / Pick: 91
Career history
As player:
As coach:
Career highlights and awards
As player
Career NFL statistics
Tackles:740
Sacks:57
Interceptions:11
Forced fumbles:19
Receptions:12
Touchdowns:12
Player stats at NFL.com
Head coaching record
Regular season:18–14 (.563)
Postseason:2–1 (.667)
Career:20–15 (.571)
Player stats at PFR

Michael George Vrabel ( /ˈvrbəl/ ; born August 14, 1975) is an American football coach and former linebacker who is currently the head coach of the Tennessee Titans of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at Ohio State University, where he earned consensus All-American honors. He was chosen by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round of the 1997 NFL Draft, joined the New England Patriots as a free agent in 2001, where he became an All-Pro and a three-time Super Bowl champion, then finished his career with the Kansas City Chiefs.

Contents

After retiring as a player following the 2010 season, he was the linebackers and defensive line coach at Ohio State for three seasons. His NFL coaching career began in 2014 with the Houston Texans as linebackers coach and then defensive coordinator, before being hired in 2018 as head coach of the Titans.

Early years

Vrabel was born in Akron, Ohio. He is a 1993 graduate of Walsh Jesuit High School in nearby Cuyahoga Falls, where he was a standout on their football team. [1]

Playing career

College

Vrabel accepted an athletic scholarship to attend Ohio State University, where he played defensive end from 1993 to 1996. He compiled twelve quarterback sacks as a sophomore, thirteen as a junior, and forty-eight tackles and nine sacks as a senior. [2] As a senior in 1996, he was recognized as a consensus first-team All-American. Vrabel finished his career at Ohio State by being named the Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year in both 1995 and 1996, becoming only the second player to ever win the award twice (Wendell Bryant of Wisconsin being the other). He totaled thirty-six sacks and sixty-six tackles for a loss. [3]

He was named to the Ohio State Football All-Century Team in 2000, and in 2012 was inducted into the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame. [4]

National Football League

Pittsburgh Steelers

Vrabel was drafted by the Pittsburgh Steelers in the third round (91st overall) of the 1997 NFL Draft. [5] He spent the first four seasons of his career in Pittsburgh. His most notable play as a Steeler came in his rookie season, when he sacked Drew Bledsoe in the 1997–98 AFC Divisional Playoffs to clinch a 7–6 win for the Steelers. Vrabel had 12 tackles and 2.5 sacks in 1998, 9 tackles and two sacks in 1999 and 15 tackles, one sack, and one fumble recovery in 2000.

New England Patriots

Vrabel at Super Bowl XLII in 2008 Super Bowl 2008 - XLII with Mike Vrabel (cropped).JPG
Vrabel at Super Bowl XLII in 2008

Vrabel joined the New England Patriots as a free agent for the 2001 season. [6] He played in every game on defense, starting in 12. He would occasionally come in as an eligible receiver, lining up as a tight end. Belichick took advantage of this in 2004 in Super Bowl XXXVIII. In the fourth quarter, Tom Brady threw a 1-yard touchdown pass to Vrabel, making Vrabel the first defensive player to score a Super Bowl touchdown on offense since William "Refrigerator" Perry did so for the Chicago Bears against the Patriots in 1986's Super Bowl XX. Vrabel was one of the defensive stars as well; he had two sacks (one forcing a fumble) of Carolina Panthers quarterback Jake Delhomme.

In Super Bowl XXXIX in 2005, Vrabel caught a two-yard touchdown pass despite being held by Philadelphia's Jevon Kearse, a feat pictured on the cover of the 2005 NFL Record and Fact Book. The reception made him one of 17 players to catch two or more touchdown passes in Super Bowls.

Vrabel finished with ten career receptions in just 14 targets, all for touchdowns. [6] He caught one in 2002, two in 2004, three in 2005, and two in 2007 in the regular season, and one each in Super Bowls XXXVIII and XXXIX, all with the Patriots, and one each in 2009 and 2010 with the Chiefs (thrown by former Patriot Matt Cassel). According to the website Cold Hard Football Facts, no other player in NFL history has a better record of converting receptions to touchdowns. His versatility was good enough for NFL Network to rank him #7 on their Top 10 episode of the Most Versatile Players.

In Week 8 of the 2007 season, Vrabel forced three fumbles, had three sacks, recovered an onside kick, and scored an offensive touchdown against the Washington Redskins, for which he was named the AFC Defensive Player of the Week. In December 2007 he was selected to start at the Pro Bowl; in January 2008 he was named to the NFL All-Pro team for the 2007 season.

On December 26, 2005, on the final Monday Night Football game on ABC, Vrabel became, according to the Elias Sports Bureau, the first player—since the official recording of sacks began in 1982—to have two touchdown catches and a sack in the same game. [7]

Though right outside linebacker had been Vrabel's primary position in the Patriots' 3-4 scheme in his first four seasons with New England, in 2005 Vrabel moved to inside linebacker, because of the limited effectiveness of inside backers Monty Beisel and Chad Brown, although he had never before played inside in the NFL. By the time Tedy Bruschi had returned from injury, he and Vrabel were the two men starting inside. Rosevelt Colvin successfully filled Vrabel's old spot, and many cite the change in positions as a major contributor to the Patriots' rebound in the second half of the season. Vrabel moved inside again late in the 2006 season after Junior Seau suffered a broken arm.

Kansas City Chiefs

On February 27, 2009, the Patriots traded Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs for what was originally announced as an undisclosed draft pick. [8] The following day it was revealed that Patriots traded both Vrabel and Matt Cassel in exchange for the Chiefs' second round pick, the 34th overall selection in the 2009 NFL Draft. [9]

NFL statistics

YearTeamGamesTacklesInterceptionsFumbles
GPGSCombSoloAstSacksIntYardsAvgLongTDPDFFFR
1997 PIT 150171431.5000.000021
1998 PIT 1109632.5000.000000
1999 PIT 1005412.0000.000011
2000 PIT 1505321.0000.000001
2001 NE 16126340233.022713.5150700
2002 NE 16138258244.5100.000402
2003 NE 1395237159.52189.0140241
2004 NE 16157154175.5000.000300
2005 NE 161610873354.522311.5241310
2006 NE 16168954354.5300.020131
2007 NE 161577552212.5000.000040
2008 NE 16146240224.0155.050411
2009 KC 1414524392.0000.000521
2010 KC 16164830180.0000.000110
Career20614074051122957.011736.724130199

[10]

Coaching career

Ohio State

Vrabel retired on July 10, 2011 to become the linebackers coach at Ohio State. [11] On December 21, 2011 new Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer decided to keep Vrabel on as part of his coaching staff as defensive line coach. [12]

Houston Texans

On January 10, 2014, Vrabel was hired by the Houston Texans as a linebackers coach. [13] During his three seasons as linebackers coach, the Texans ranked third in the NFL in yards allowed per game. [14] In January 2016 news outlets reported that the San Francisco 49ers offered Vrabel their defensive coordinator job; Vrabel declined the offer and remained in Houston. [15] In January 2017 the Texans named Vrabel as their defensive coordinator, moving previous coordinator Romeo Crennel to assistant head coach. [16] He coached players such as JJ Watt, Jadeveon Clowney, Whitney Mercilus, and Benardrick McKinney. [14]

Tennessee Titans

Vrabel in an interview in 2018 Mike Vrabel 2018.jpg
Vrabel in an interview in 2018

On January 20, 2018, Vrabel was hired as the head coach of the Tennessee Titans on a five-year deal. [17] [18] On September 16, 2018, Vrabel beat the Houston Texans 20–17 in Week 2 for his first career win as a head coach. [19] On September 30, 2018, he led the Titans to a 26–23 overtime victory over the defending champion Philadelphia Eagles in a Week 4 upset. [20] On November 11, 2018, Vrabel beat his former longtime coach Bill Belichick and the New England Patriots in a 34–10 Week 10 victory. [21] Under Vrabel, the Titans' defense improved from the 13th-ranked defense in 2017 to the eighth-ranked defense in 2018. [14] Vrabel and the Titans narrowly missed the playoffs by one game and finished the 2018 season with a 9–7 record.

The 2019 season saw the Titans once again finish 9-7, however, this occurrence would be enough to make the playoffs as a sixth seed. During a 16-0 shutout loss to the Denver Broncos in Week 6, Vrabel elected to bench quarterback Marcus Mariota in favor of Ryan Tannehill, a move that led to the Titans winning seven of their final ten games despite starting 2-4.

In the wild-card round, Tennessee upset the defending Super Bowl champion New England Patriots 20-13, led by running back Derrick Henry's 204 yards from scrimmage, to advance to the divisional round against the top-seeded Baltimore Ravens, where they would once again pull off an upset, winning 28-12 behind another breakout performance from Henry with 202 scrimmage yards along with a passing touchdown on a trick play. With the win, the Titans advanced to their first AFC Championship game in seventeen seasons, where they were eliminated by the eventual Super Bowl LIV champion Kansas City Chiefs, 35-24.

Head coaching record

TeamYearRegular seasonPostseason
WonLostTiesWin %FinishWonLostWin %Result
TEN 2018 970.5633rd in AFC South
TEN 2019 970.5632nd in AFC South21.667Lost to Kansas City Chiefs in AFC Championship Game
Total18140.56321.667

Personal life

Vrabel and his wife, Jennifer, have two sons, Tyler and Carter. [22] Tyler currently plays offensive line for the Boston College Eagles football team. Carter committed to play baseball at Wabash Valley College in September 2019. [23] Vrabel founded the "Mike's Second and Seven Foundation" with his former Ohio State teammates Ryan Miller and Luke Fickell to promote literacy in the Ohio area. [24]

In March 2011, Vrabel was arrested and charged with a Class D felony for theft at an Indiana casino. According to reports from Kansas City television station KMBC and ProFootballTalk.com, the incident involved eight bottles of beer at a deli. Vrabel was released after posting a $600 bond. [25]

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References

  1. "Ohio State football: Mike Vrabel retires from Kansas City Chiefs to take job as Buckeyes' linebacker coach". Associated Press. July 11, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  2. "Official Website of the New England Patriots". December 18, 2014.
  3. "OhioStateBuckeyes.com Mike Vrabel Bio :: The Ohio State University Official Athletic Site The Ohio State University Official Athletic Site :: Football" . Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  4. Bill Livingston (September 21, 2012). "For Ohio State's John Simon, every week is a big game". The Plain Dealer . Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  5. Pro Football Hall of Fame, Draft History, 1997 National Football League Draft. January 1, 2005. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  6. 1 2 https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/titans-hire-mike-vrabel-as-next-head-coach/
  7. Monique Walker (October 29, 2007). "For Vrabel, both sides now". The Boston Globe. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  8. Christopher L. Gasper (February 28, 2009). "Vrabel trade confirmed". Boston Globe. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  9. Peter King (February 28, 2009). "Chiefs complete trade for Cassel". Sports Illustrated . CNN . Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  10. "Mike Vrabel Stats". Pro Football Reference. Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  11. "Mike Vrabel to retire from NFL and join Ohio State coaching staff". USA Today . July 11, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  12. Brian Bennett (December 21, 2011). "Meyer, Belichick see strengths in Vrabel". College Football Nation Blog. ESPN. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  13. Brian Bennett (January 9, 2014). "Mike Vrabel to coach Texans' LBs". ESPN NFL Blog. ESPN. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  14. 1 2 3 "Mike Vrabel". www.titansonline.com. Retrieved October 7, 2019.
  15. "Grant Cohn: Why Mike Vrabel said no to 49ers' D-coordinator job". Santa Rosa Press Democrat. Archived from the original on January 23, 2016. Retrieved February 9, 2016.
  16. "Texans promoting Vrabel to DC, source says". ESPN. January 18, 2017. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  17. Bogage, Jacob (January 20, 2018). "Titans hire Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel as head coach". The Washington Post. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  18. Wyatt, Jim (January 20, 2018). "Titans Hire Mike Vrabel for Head Coaching Job". TitansOnline.com. Retrieved January 20, 2018.
  19. Davenport, Turron (September 16, 2018). "With Titans depleted, Mike Vrabel pulls out all stops for first win". ESPN.com. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
  20. Wyatt, Jim (September 30, 2018). "Titans Win Overtime Thriller Over Eagles, 26-23". TitansOnline.com. Retrieved November 3, 2018.
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  22. "Vrabel returns to Ohio State as coach". NCAA.com. July 11, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2017.
  23. Vrabel, Carter (September 1, 2019). "pic.twitter.com/j3hnYXSIOW". @cv1and_only. Retrieved September 30, 2019.
  24. "ref". Patriots.com. Archived from the original on July 3, 2009. Retrieved October 19, 2010.
  25. "Mike Vrabel arrested for theft". ESPN. April 5, 2011. Retrieved December 29, 2017.