Saying of Marcus Mariota that he is “a special talent … a special kid,” new Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel pledged today to “help him through taking that next step in his career.”
Vrabel made the comments at an introductory press conference in Nashville, Tenn., a day after being named to replace Mike Mularkey as head coach.
Vrabel and Mariota spoke by phone Sunday, and while the third-year quarterback has yet to speak publicly about the new coach, friends described Mariota as saying he liked the choice and, “’I think he will be good.’”
Vrabel, who had been the defensive coordinator for the Houston Texans, said one of his first tasks will be hiring an offensive coordinator to replace Terry Robiskie, who was not retained.
“Amy (Adams Strunk, the Titans’ managing owner) is going to trust me to hire the right guy for Marcus, Jon (Robinson, the general manager) is going to trust me to hire the right guy for Marcus or I wouldn’t have been hired,” Vrabel told reporters.
Vrabel described Mariota as a “franchise quarterback” and said “we’re going to develop him.”
As for his offensive philosophy, Vrabel told the media, “We’re going to run (the football) from the quarterback being under center, we’re going to run it from the quarterback being in (shot) gun. We’re going to give Marcus some easy-access throws, whether that be RPOs (run-pass options) or run relief – we are not going to run it into eight or nine guys, and we’re not going to be silly.”
On the Titans’ website, Vrabel said, “I believe in screens, I believe in play-action, things that (Mariota) does well. “
As a defensive coach who went up against the Titans and Mariota, Vrabel said on a Titans website posting, “We were scared to death, again, when we do the stats and run the statistics and he is averaging 17 and 18 yards a completion on play action, those things scare you as a defensive coordinator. Those are big plays that change field position.”
Vrabel said, “The vision is that we’re going to do things that are going to help him, (Mariota). We’re going to get guys around him that are going to help him. We’re going to get him to play with confidence, we’re going to get him to play energetic and bring the passion of football out that he’s so capable of showing. That’s my idea for him. There’s not going to be a greater relationship that I need to foster and develop than the one with our starting quarterback.”