Monday, January 08, 2018

3 things to know about Colts coaching candidate Mike Vrabel

By Scott Horner
January 8, 2018

The Indianapolis Colts have reportedly interviewed Houston Texans defensive coordinator Mike Vrabel for their vacant head coaching position. He was the linebackers coach for three years before that.

Here's why the Colts are interested in Vrabel.

The Belichick factor

The New England Patriots traded Vrabel to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2009. As Vrabel left, Patriots coach Bill Belichick released a statement about the linebacker.

"Mike Vrabel epitomizes everything a coach could seek in a professional football player," it read. "Toughness, intelligence, play-making, leadership, versatility and consistency at the highest level."

Two years ago, Belichick said Vrabel used his time as a player as a tool to become an even more effective coach. From a Boston Herald story:

"I think Mike's got a great mind for it, great passion for it. He's got great playing experience. He can draw on things. I never played in this league. I can't draw on those," Belichick explained. "I think there's definitely an advantage. I don't think that's a ticket. There's a lot of other things that go into it, too, but I mean that's something that, if it's used properly, I think it's valuable."

Some Belichick disciples don't have great records as head coaches: Eric Mangini was 33-47, Romeo Crennel 22-54, Josh McDaniels 12-20 and Bill O'Brien 31-31.

He has 'It'

A current NFL head coach who doesn't have a tie to Vrabel recently told Sports Illustrated's Peter King the following:

"Of all the guys in this pool, the one I’d say who has the chance to be the best head coach is Vrabel. It’s his presence, and the people he’s been around and learned from."

His players believe

Even though the Texans struggled defensively this season (last in scoring defense, 20th in yards allowed), Houston players believe Vrabel has what it takes to be a head coach.

"Whatever he does, he's a great coach," inside linebacker Benardrick McKinney said. "He pushed me to my limits, puts me in spots to make great plays. He brings the best out of everybody."

"He's a smart guy," Jadeveon Clowney said. "High-energy guy. He brings the best out of his players and he's a good coach."

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