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SI's Peter King "Bullish" on Titans Coach Mike Vrabel


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Peter King has an answer for anyone who thinks the Titans hired Mike Vrabel a year too early.

Better early than never, said the long-time sports writer with Sports Illustrated.

King thinks the Titans were smart to hire Vrabel before another team did.

"I would have been surprised if he didn't get a job this year, because too many people loved him," King said of Vrabel, who was introduced as the team's new head coach on Monday. "And if he didn't get a job this year, he would've gotten one next year. He is sort of the defensive Sean McVay – he is the guy a lot of people are fascinated with.

"I am very bullish on his chances. When guys get hired a year early, you might say to yourself: Man, it's too early. But if you wait. … You know what happens when you wait? The next year they are gone, and you never have a chance to get them."

The Titans hired Vrabel, formerly defensive coordinator with the Houston Texans, just two days after interviewing him for the job. The 14-year NFL veteran, who played for Bill Belichick in New England and Bill Cowher in Pittsburgh, replaced Mike Mularkey.

Vrabel was one of three candidates to interview for the job. At a press conference on Monday, Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk and general manager Jon Robinson raved about Vrabel, and how he'll handle the duties as a head coach. Vrabel previously served on coaching staffs at Ohio State, and the Houston Texans.

King said he began hearing positive buzz regarding Vrabel and his potential to land a head coaching job a year ago, and the chatter picked up late in 2017 when jobs started opening across the league. In his MMQB column on, King said one team official said Vrabel "might be the next Bill Cowher."

In an interview with Titans Online, King said he's heard plenty of compliments about Vrabel. He compared the buzz to McVay a year ago, before he was hired by the Los Angeles Rams. In 2017, the Rams went 11-5 and made the playoffs in McVay's first season, a year after finishing with a 4-12 mark. McVay brought a high-flying offense to L.A.. Vrabel is known for his defensive mind, and leadership abilities.

"At beginning of process, I called around and inquired where jobs might be headed and four people, four separate people, mentioned Mike Vrabel to me," King said. "I had one current head coach tell me: Mike Vrabel will get a job.

"If you like a guy, why wait? That's what the Rams thought with McVay. And you go back with the Steelers 10 years ago, that's what they said with Mike Tomlin. So sometimes you have to take a guy a year early. The one thing with Vrabel is he's had so much experience at different levels. He's played under Bill Cowher, and he's played under Bill Belichick. He's coached under Bill O'Brien (in Houston), and under Urban Meyer (at Ohio State). He's had a lot of really, really good experience.

"I really like the hire by the Titans. I think it is a good hire, and I think it is a smart hire. And I think it is one of those hires where you are going to look back in a few years and say: This was kind of fortuitous that it worked out that we got this guy."

New Titans head coach Mike Vrabel arrives in Nashville, Tenn. on Sunday, Jan. 21, 2018. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

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