Mike Vrabel: Not having a defensive coordinator in 2020 took a life of its own
After Dean Pees retired following the 2019 season, Titans head coach Mike Vrabel elected not to replace him for 2020.
Back in February, Vrabel explained he didn’t want to bring in someone who was unfamiliar with the system he’d run in Tennessee or Houston. So instead, the Titans went without a coordinator in title, though outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen took on many of the duties.
The results weren’t great. After finishing 12th in points allowed and 21st in yards allowed in 2019, Tennessee was 24th in points allowed and 28th in yards allowed in 2020. The Titans were also dead last in allowing a 51.9 percent conversion rate on third down. No other team was above 50 percent.
Vrabel said in November that the defense’s struggles weren’t related to not having a coordinator. But in his season wrap-up press conference on Monday, Vrabel said he plans to evaluate every position on coaching staff and will make a decision that’s in the best interest of the team.
“I think that this thing kind of took a life of its own,” Vrabel said. “I guess that it was really important. But Shane led the meetings, Shane led the walk-throughs. Shane called the defense. And, again, I think we get caught up too much in titles. And I guess I apologize because clearly I didn’t think it would take on a life of its own. But we’ll coach better, we’ll play better.
“So we’re going to evaluate the roster and the coaching staff, the plays that we run, and the scheme that we have — everything across the board, because we ultimately didn’t win a championship.”
If Arthur Smith gets hired for one of the head coaching jobs he’s interviewing for, then the Titans could be on the hunt for more than one coordinator this offseason.