Mike Vrabel of the Tennessee Titans is one of the more interesting head coaches in the NFL. The legendary New England Patriots linebacker still likes to carry around pads and get physical with his linemen in practice drills, and he’s not afraid to walk away from the podium if he doesn’t like a reporter’s question. He marches to the beat of his own drum, and it’s worked.
Vrabel was named the 2021 AP Coach of the Year after helping the Titans secure the No. 1 seed in the AFC without star running back Derrick Henry, and while playing with a record-setting amount of different players due to injuries. He’s beloved by many, but not by all.
Former Titans first-round pick and current New York Giants cornerback Adoree’ Jackson recently appeared on Steve Smith’s “Cut To It” podcast, and revisited his relationship with his former head coach. Jackson saw Vrabel hired as his new lead man in his second NFL season, and he wasn’t exactly a fan of his coaching style.
“I really got tested with adversity after my rookie season because everybody on the staff got fired,” Jackson said, via The Tennessean. “… Vrabel got there and, at the end of the day, I had to get used to him and what he wanted. The type of player he wanted and the style he wanted as that being my first time trying to get used to it. We didn’t gel. It didn’t mesh right. My play didn’t work and the way he was coaching didn’t work for me.”
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Jackson wasn’t looking to bash Vrabel, and called him a good coach who is “smart as hell.” The USC product ended up being a cap casualty last offseason, and signed a three-year deal with the Giants. In 13 games played last year, he recorded 62 combined tackles, eight passes defended and one interception.
Interestingly enough, Jackson and the Giants open up the 2022 season against the Titans on Sept. 11. While he didn’t feel like he was a good fit on Vrabel’s team, Jackson did say he learned some life lessons from his time in Nashville.
“I’m glad I went through it,” Jackson said. “… The thing he taught us the most was about second chances. He was like, ‘Man, a lot of people don’t get second chances. If you do, make sure you make the most of it.’ I say that all the time now.
“At the end of the day, even though we didn’t mesh as a player and coach, as people, I can resonate with some of the things he was saying. At the end of the day, I can never bash him or say anything bad.”