Vrabel Seeks Continuity Amid Changes to Defensive Staff
NASHVILLE – Mike Vrabel liked the fact that Anthony Midget knows a lot about how the Tennessee Titans play defense.
Now, he wants to find others like him.
The Titans confirmed Thursday that Midget has been hired as their new secondary coach after two years in the same role with the Houston Texans. Midget, whose move to Tennessee was first reported by the Houston Chronicle, replaces Kerry Coombs, who left to become defensive coordinator at Ohio State.
His hiring fills one of three openings on the defense. The Titans still need a defensive coordinator and an inside linebackers coach.
"I would say he has a vast knowledge of the system," Vrabel told the team’s website from Miami, where he was taking part in Super Bowl festivities, "and the secondary guys are going to be in good hands going into their third year in the system, Midge having coached it for four or five years in Houston."
That system Vrabel said, is not likely to change much – if at all – following Dean Pees’ retirement a day after Tennessee lost to Kansas City in the AFC Championship.
A year ago, the Titans lost offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur, who left to become head coach of the Green Bay Packers. Continuity with that unit was important to that unit for Vrabel, who ultimately promoted tight ends coach Arthur Smith.
Seeking a coordinator for the second time in as many years, Vrabel has adopted a similar approach, although this one might not necessarily end with someone on the current staff being elevated.
“I would say to bring in a guy who hasn't been in our system and done what we have done in Houston or here isn't what I want to do,” Vrabel told the team’s website. “So, whoever calls the defense, we are going to do pretty much what we have done. We are going to continue to add and enhance things.
“… Everything is going to be just fine (on defense). We waited and were patient last year (with Smith) and the fit was right."
One person who is not a candidate is Tyrone McKenzie, the inside linebackers coach for the past two seasons. Vrabel confirmed to the team’s website that McKenzie will not be on the staff in 2020. Multiple reports have said that he has been hired by Detroit.
McKenzie had one year of experience as a low-level NFL assistant before he came to Tennessee. Vrabel said he is “leaning toward a veteran coach” this time.