Tuesday, February 08, 2022

Vrabel Popular With Pro Bowl Players


The Tennessee Titans' head man was one of the top vote-getters among those asked which coach they would like to play for.


February 7, 2022

Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

Mike Vrabel is a popular coach among the league’s top players.

According to an anonymous survey taken by The Athletic at the Pro Bowl, Vrabel was named one of the coaches players most wanted to play for.

One of the questions in the “Pro Bowl Confidential” asked 20 players – a small mix of AFC, NFC, offensive, defensive and special-teams standouts – which coach they’d most like to play for. Vrabel, who coached the AFC players at the Pro Bowl this year, earned three of the 20 votes. He finished in second place, one behind Pittsburgh’s Mike Tomlin (four votes).

A couple of other coaches with Titans ties figured in the voting as well.

Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur, who served as the Titans’ offensive coordinator for a year under Vrabel, finished third behind Tomlin and Vrabel with two votes.

In the most unexpected development from the survey, one player gave his vote to former Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, who was recently named head coach of the United States Football League’s Michigan Panthers.

In the previous Pro Bowl Confidential survey, which was taken following the 2019 season, Vrabel received two of the 32 votes. He trailed Kansas City’s Andy Reid and Seattle’s Pete Carroll in that survey as both of those coaches received four votes.

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Darius Leonard went on the record last week with praise Vrabel following a Pro Bowl practice. Leonard has seen plenty of Vrabel over the years, as the Titans and Colts – AFC South rivals – have met eight times since he was drafted by Indianapolis in 2018.

“I’m so glad you asked me about coach Vrabel, man,” Leonard told the Titans’ website. “Ever since I’ve been playing against him for four years, I had the utmost respect for him, and it wasn’t even how he coached. It was more so how he talked to his players, how he interacts with his guys. When his guys are on the turf hurt, he’s the first one out there to check up on them, and that, as a player, that’s what you want to see from a coach.

“Now being out here (at the Pro Bowl) with him, seeing how he carries himself, seeing how he has fun with his guys, I have nothing but respect for coach Vrabel, man, and he’s a hell of a coach. That’s why they’re having the success they’re having over there in Tennessee.”

Vrabel was recently named Coach of the Year by the Pro Football Writers of America after guiding the Titans to a 12-5 regular-season record, which included the team’s second straight AFC South title. The Titans lost 19-16 to the Bengals in the divisional round of the playoffs.

He also is a leading contender for this year’s official Coach of the Year award, which will be presented this week during the NFL Honors program.

In four years as head coach, Vrabel has led the Titans to a 41-24 record and three consecutive postseason appearances.



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