Mike Vrabel said previously that he wouldn’t feel like a coach until he had players to coach.
Those players arrived Monday at the start of the off-season program, and Vrabel was eager to get introductions out of the way and get the work started.
“I felt like a coach. I got to stand up in front of the team. There were a bunch of guys in here, a bunch of coaches in there. There was an energy in the building. I think that’s all we can ask for,” Vrabel said.
In terms of how the first day felt, Vrabel said it is something he has thought about since accepting the job in January, and now looks forward to implementing his system and teaching it to his players.
“It’s a great experience. It’s something I’ve thought about since the day I got hired, how it would go, how it would be received. It was great, but it was one day,” Vrabel said. “Tomorrow we’ll try to come back and have try to have another message in a team meeting. And then we’ll split them up into offense and defense.”
As Vrabel and the Titans install their offensive and defensive systems, the first-time head coach will rely upon his coordinators – Matt LaFleur on offense and Dean Pees on
defense – to help build, teach and apply their respective schemes.
“I know that Dean and Matt are going to try to implement their systems and continue to build that system in day two. And our coaches are going to try to begin to know our players and begin to understand who they are and start to communicate with them and start to develop them,” Vrabel said.
For the first two weeks of the off-season program, NFL clubs are not permitted to do work on the field, but instead are limited to conditioning, weightlifting and classroom work. But even when Vrabel gets the chance to get on the field with his club, he said he will be careful not to force-feed too much to his players at one time.
“We’re not going to rush. That’s a huge mistake we can make. We’re not going to rush and try to shove a bunch of stuff down their throats,” he said. “We do have two weeks before we have a voluntary mini-camp. It’ll be my job to kind of have a feel for where we’re at. I don’t want to go out on the field and have a bunch of stuff and them not be able to execute. Whatever we feel like we know, then that’s what we’ll run in the mini-camp.”
Vrabel did say that the Titans playbook is complete, but that it can constantly change and evolve.
“The playbook is complete. It’s done. I think what you find is players get professional initiative. When players prove that they can do their job, they say, ‘Hey, coach, have you ever thought about doing it this way?’ It’s going to be something that we’re going to listen to,” he said. “And when we start game-planning for teams, I’m sure there will be some things that we’ll add to the playbook. You don’t use the whole playbook every week.”
When asked how different the Titans offense and defense might look from what they ran the previous two years under former head coach Mike Mularkey, Vrabel did not elaborate.
“Every year is different,” he said. “There’s new players and new coaches, new schemes. There may be a team that has no coaching changes, but they’re going to look differently, because they’re trying to do things better. They’re trying to win more games.”