Overconfidence Continues to Plague the Titans
The Titans 2021 offseason is off to a less than ideal start. After releasing starting safety, Kenny Vaccaro and starting Cornerback, Malcom Butler a few weeks ago, the Titans also released starting corner Adoree Jackson and tackle, Dennis Kelly this week.
At the conclusion of the season, the Titans had some obvious flaws, the most obvious being pass rush, something the Titans have struggled with for many seasons. The defense as a whole struggled, ranking as the 5th worst defense in yards per game. Still, the 2020 Titans team did not have so many flaws as they have now.
With so many exits, the Titans must address many holes through the remainder of free agency and the draft. Some spots could be filled by current players such as Amani Hooker stepping up to start at safety but regardless, this roster has gotten much worse and has many more issues to address than it did at the conclusion of the 2020-21 season.
So what does this have to do with overconfidence? Both Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel have shown that they have far too much confidence in themselves which has been detrimental to the team.
In Jon Robinsons case, it is an overconfidence in his own ability to pick players. It appears that he thinks he can solve all these problems that he has created through the draft, where he has an inadequate record as of late. In his tenure with the Titans, he has signed just 2 players he has drafted to a second contract, those being Derrick Henry and Kevin Byard. A notable example of this is not resigning Jack Conklin last offseason and drafting Isaiah Wilson in the first round of the 2020 draft, Robinson's worst mistake as GM.
Just yesterday, former Titan, Wesley Woodyard, went on both local sports radio stations and criticized Coach Vrabel. Woodyard spoke about Vrabel's flaws, using the example of Vrabel not offering former DC, Dean Pees, the Defensive Coordinator job when he came out of retirement. He gave examples in the 2019-20 season of when Vrabel wanted to take over playcalling and got in arguments with Pees, despite Pees being the more experienced and better playcaller. Woodyard said that it was obvious that toward the end of Pees career, his relationship with Vrabel would come to an end soon.
When Pees came out of retirement, he headed straight to Atlanta to work with Titans former OC, Arthur Smith. Both coordinators, who work very closely with the head coach, opted to leave and work with each other somewhere else which makes you think....
Even during the season, there are themes of arrogance with Vrabel. After losses, we never hear "I was wrong" or "I should not have challenged that" or "I should not have called a timeout there". One of the most evident examples was the lack of a defensive coordinator.
After the Titans' week 8 loss against the Bengals, Vrabel was asked by The Athletic's Joe Rexrode whether the lack of a Defensive Coordinator was a problem and whether they would change that. He responded with "That's not a factor. I'm positive that's not a factor", Rexrode asked why he was so certain and Vrabel said "I'm sitting there and I watch everything we do". Vrabel failed to realize his mistake of not hiring a coordinator and always indirectly blamed the players which hurt the team immensely.
Because of the lack of a coordinator and resulting poor season, GM Jon Robinson wants a full defensive rebuild, despite the team having many talented players.
Even with defensive additions, what indicates that Vrabel will change? He promoted Shane Bowen to DC and Todd Downing to OC but this will mean nothing if he continues to believe that he is the best and override others' decisions with his own.
All stemming from Vrabel's unwillingness to change and constant overconfidence, the Titans face a tough task in improving this depleted team.