INGLEWOOD, Calif. — Mike Vrabel found the answers to some unprecedented challenges in 2021, and that earned him AP Coach of the Year honors.
The Tennessee Titans were forced to use a record (for a non-strike season) of 91 players, lost their best player — running back Derrick Henry — for half the schedule, yet won the AFC South and the conference’s top seed.
Vrabel’s work through so many obstacles got him 36 votes from a nationwide panel of 50 media members who regularly cover the NFL. That easily beat Green Bay’s Matt LaFleur with eight in balloting revealed at NFL Honors. The Raiders’ Rich Bisaccia, an interim coach, was third with three votes, while Cincinnati’s Zac Taylor got two and New England’s Bill Belichick received one.
A year ago, the Titans’ defense was at or near the bottom in several statistical categories. This season, the Titans ranked second in run defense and sixth in both fewest points allowed and third-down efficiency.
In his four seasons at the helm, Vrabel has a 43-27 record. He’s the first Coach of the Year in franchise history.