When Mike Vrabel was employed by his previous Patriots good friend Jon Robinson to educate the Tennessee Titans, ESPN summed up the first cause:
“Vrabel was all the time Robinson’s man. The Patriot Means is a giant deal right here, as Robinson and Vrabel spent seven years in New England along with Vrabel a participant and Robinson as a scout.”
“The Patriot Means” has turn into an act of spiritual religion. Irrespective of what number of ex-Patriots coaches fail as head coaches (see Charlie Weis, Eric Mangini, Romeo Crennel, Josh McDaniels), a peculiar NFL perception persists that anybody who has occupied the identical airspace as Invoice Belichick and Tom Brady can replicate their success.
That’s “The Patriot Means Lie.”
Would you make investments tens of millions of in a weight-loss firm the place 80% of earlier shoppers gained weight?
Whether or not coaches, scouts, and now gamers, Patriot Privilege is an actual factor, and it could smash your favourite soccer workforce.
Robinson’s hiring of Vrabel is most excessive experiment to this point with “The Patriot Means.”
Mike Vrabel is unqualified. And never simply by a little bit bit.
Previous to his hiring, Sports activities Illustrated’s Peter King, maybe Vrabel’s strongest and most influential media champion, addresses the largest elephant within the locker room:
“Vrabel can have some troublesome inquiries to reply,” King writes, “together with this one: You coached the worst scoring protection within the league in your solely yr as coordinator — why ought to we rent you as our head coach?”
The query’s logic is easy: In case you can’t efficiently handle a smaller division of seven folks, how can we entrust you to guide our firm of 53 gamers and 20 coaches?
Few, nevertheless, appear to wish a solution, and even care simply how inexperienced Vrabel is. After surveying the pre-head coach resumes of all 32 present NFL coaches, Vrabel ranks on the backside (Notice: “Administration Expertise” refers to time as Coordinator or Assistant Head Coach):
MIKE VRABEL’S RESUME RANK and THE 10/three RULE
31st — Teaching Expertise: 7 years (Texans four; Ohio State three)
31st — Administration Expertise: 1 yr as DC (tied with three others; ranked by efficiency)
32nd — Efficiency as Coordinator: Final-ranked protection in solely yr as Defensive Coordinator (DC)
Vrabel’s 31/31/32 trifecta of low teaching/administration/efficiency just isn’t regular — not now, or traditionally.
Coaches who ranked low in a single space almost all the time compensated within the different two. Solely Andy Reid bypassed the administration section, however coached 17 years throughout a number of positions first. Solely Jason Garrett coached fewer seasons, however 4 got here as a profitable offensive coordinator.
Vrabel’s expertise hole just isn’t small.
• 74% have a minimum of double Vrabel’s teaching expertise (14 years)
• 90% have a minimum of 10 years teaching expertise
• 81% have a minimum of triple his administration expertise (three years)
As a common hiring information, a standard “10/three” rule emerges (10 years teaching/three years managing).
When excluding Vrabel, 71% of all coaches met each 10/three marks, and 100% met a minimum of one marker. Solely Vrabel misses each. Vrabel’s 7/1 coach/administration break up is principally tripled by the opposite two DCs employed this yr: Matt Patricia (20/6), who reportedly seems to have the Lions job locked up, and Steve Wilks (23/three).
In justifying Vrabel, King cites the young-at-first-hired ages of Mike Tomlin, 34, and Sean McVay, 30. However age just isn’t the problem right here. Tomlin was a key coach cog on a traditionally dominant Bucs’ Tremendous Bowl protection, and as DC in Minnesota, the Vikings improved from 20th to 14th with the league’s No. 1 rush protection.
As OC, McVay posted a good 10th and 12th ranked offense in his final two years with Kirk Cousins, and restricted weapons. Tomlin (12 years coach/1 yr administration) and McVay (9/three) each got here up brief on half of the 10/three rule, however every might ease interview considerations with tangible outcomes.
Do these markers assure head teaching success? In fact not. However they’re the most effective predictors, and virtually conditions. Subsequent to each different NFL coach, Vrabel’s resume is on the backside — by far. And “I as soon as performed for Belichick” simply doesn’t reduce it.
So how did Vrabel turn into such a sizzling candidate?
King explains how NFL “enthusiasm about Vrabel stems from these information”:
• “He performed on successful groups and is aware of what it takes to win”
• “Carries a whole lot of Invoice Belichick with him from eight years as a Patriot”
• “Commanding presence in entrance of gamers”
• “Seen as a unifier who might help construct a winner”
Did you get all that? These aren’t information. They’re perceptions.
The professional-Vrabel articles are all the identical: “management,” “excessive power,” “nice communicator,” “owns a room,” “instructions respect,” and so forth. If all are true, Vrabel would be the best NFL coach since Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
Sports activities-wise, Mike Vrabel simply may need extra intangibles than Derek Jeter, the Yankee nice. Titans followers could need to put together themselves for Derek Jeter, the Marlins proprietor.
If Vrabel “is aware of what it takes to win,” shouldn’t we require teaching proof? Let’s take a better look:
MIKE VRABEL’S PERFORMANCE
Texans Rank-Yr (Defensive Coordinator)
24th, 2013 — Wade Phillips
seventh, 2014 — Crennel
seventh, 2015 — Crennel
11th, 2016 — Crennel (with out JJ Watt)
32nd, 2017 — Vrabel (many accidents)
Useless final protection. Wasted have been a few Deshaun Watson gems (see 41-38 loss to Seahawks), and one other Professional Bowl yr by Jadeveon Clowney. As much as half of the drop may be pretty defined by accidents (see JJ Watt, Whitney Mercilus, and so forth.), however after shedding Watt to harm in 2016, the Texans protection solely slipped 4 spots underneath Romeo Crennel — the NFL’s greatest defensive coordinator.
Upon arrival, Crennel circled defenses on the Texans (24th to seventh), Chiefs (29th to 11th), and Patriots (17th to sixth; three SBs). Crennel is a defensive genius with 47 years teaching expertise. Romeo just isn’t replicable.
Vrabel was in over his head, however the blame actually lies with Texans head coach Invoice O’Brien who moved Crennel to “Asst. Head Coach,” and promoted Vrabel to fend off different suitors. The irony is thick. Vrabel’s departure will right O’Brien’s blunder as Crennel will return to his previous put up. The Texans protection simply acquired a lot better.
Many famed coordinators like Crennel, Norv Turner and Dick LeBeau don’t make nice head coaches, however this dynamic hardly ever works in reverse. Administration expertise issues.
Peter King side-steps Vrabel’s efficiency, and believes Vrabel has “had a whole lot of actually, actually good expertise” due to his two teaching stints whereas additionally taking part in underneath Invoice Cowher and Belichick.
Now let’s think about if Vrabel performed underneath coach legends Chuck Noll and Bud Grant, then coached eight years underneath Cowher with three as a profitable coordinator, after which coached 13 extra seasons after that.
Nicely, I simply described the profession of Mike Mularkey, the earlier Titans coach who simply took the workforce to the playoffs, however was then fired by Jon Robinson to rent Vrabel.
Ought to Vrabel’s 14 years as an NFL participant rely for one thing?
Positively, however not as a training substitute. Ron Rivera (14/6), Todd Bowles (18/four) and Doug Pederson (11/three) all performed Eight-10 years, and have all logged extra time at each coach ranges.
The absurd concept that Vrabel “carries a whole lot of Invoice Belichick in him” is simply that.
Mike Vrabel’s resume is the anti-Belichick.
BILL BELICHICK’s REAL RESUMES:
Right here is how Belichick got here Belichick.
Belichick’s Resume No. 1: Earlier than Invoice was a Head Coach
• Teaching Expertise: 16 years
• Administration Expertise: 6 years as a Defensive Coordinator
• Efficiency: 2 Tremendous Bowls with the New York Giants as DC
Invoice Belichick actually put within the work in any respect three ranges. Vrabel hasn’t.
And even in any case that, Invoice nonetheless misplaced.
Belichick’s Resume No. 2: The Forgotten Failures
• Browns Head Coach Failure: four shedding seasons in 5 years with Browns (36-44).
• Pats’ 1st Yr Failure: 5-11 in first yr after Pats went Eight-Eight, 9-7, 10-6 earlier three years.
• Belichick’s Privileges: 2nd likelihood after bombing with Browns; third likelihood after 5-11 Pats begin
At this time, folks bear in mind Belichick Resume No. three, however neglect the laborious work, expertise — and failures.
Any sincere Belichick bio should additionally point out his freedom to fail as a white coach. The 1990s NFL employed 70 white coaches, however solely 4 black ones, and people few who slid by had no room to slide like Invoice did (see Artwork Shell; Ray Rhodes).
That said, Belichick didn’t turn into Belichick due to any “commanding presence.” He coached his tail off for 23 years. No shortcuts to Belichick Resume No. three.
Okay. One shortcut. Having Tom Brady actually, actually, actually helps.
Level is, there isn’t a Belichick Magic Mud he can sprinkle to clone himself or his quarterback.
But “The Patriot Means Lie” nonetheless persists.
New Lions soon-to-be rent Patricia? Now he’s completely different.
MATT PATRICIA’S RESUME
• Teaching Expertise: 20 years
• Administration Expertise: 6 years as Patriots Defensive Coordinator
• Efficiency: High 10 protection all six years as DC; 2 Tremendous Bowls
Patricia actually does “carry a whole lot of Belichick in him.” Uncannily so.
Regardless of his signature beard, Patricia isn’t just Patriot notion. He’s Patriot efficiency.
See the distinction?
Even nonetheless, Lions GM, and former Patriot scout Bob Quinn’s job can be on discover.
Quinn additionally fired a successful coach for his good friend Patricia, and while you try this, you higher be proper.
The overachieving and intensely underrated coach Jim Caldwell stored successful 9 video games with 7-win expertise. However Quinn failed Caldwell. Regardless of the dire want, Quinn handed on drafting Alvin Kamara and Kareem Hunt within the late 2nd spherical, the subsequent two RBs drafted. If Patricia doesn’t get a operating again or actual run-stoppers, don’t count on him to match Caldwell’s 9 wins.
And naturally, Quinn additionally interviewed Vrabel.
MIKE VRABEL IS A ‘BORN LEADER’
After Vrabel’s Lions interview, SB Nation declared: “Vrabel has every part the Lions ought to need in a brand new head coach”. The Detroit Free Press ran this headline: “If Mike Vrabel is subsequent head coach, Detroit Lions can have born chief.”
“There it’s. Case closed. Vrabel is the man — it’s genetic.
Peter King provides: “Those that know him, or have seen him coach, or have been teammates with him say Vrabel has ‘it.’”
What’s “it”? You already know: “sturdy presence,” “gamers reply to him,” “most revered,” and so forth.
You both have “it.” Otherwise you don’t have “it.”
So long as “it” isn’t quantifiable, “it” is all the time employable.
Principally, “it” is no matter a predominantly white male NFL executives and media understand “it” to be.
A number of years in the past, “it” was the X’s and O’s “Genius of Chip Kelly” who additionally lacked folks expertise. Now, “it” is Vrabel’s unbelievable intangibles regardless of no seen tangibles.
“It” may be fairly complicated.
When you’ve got ever shared a Patriots locker room rest room stall with Invoice Belichick, you doubtless have “it.”
One NFL official instructed King he thinks Vrabel might be “the subsequent Invoice Cowher.”
Like Vrabel, Cowher solely coached seven seasons, and Vrabel positive seems to be the NFL fan-pleasing, white-rugged masculine half. However Cowher didn’t Hollywood his means right into a promotion.
In three years as Chiefs DC, Cowher led the NFL’s eighth, fifth, and seventh ranked defenses.
Final week, you could possibly discover articles titled: “Peter King: Mike Vrabel is the defensive Sean McVay.”
From a “buzz” perspective, that’s true. However efficiency?
That’s Marquand Manuel — the Falcons 1st yr marvel at defensive coordinator.
Within the playoffs, Manuel out-schemed, and out-smarted McVay, and in addition held the Eagles to 15 factors the next week (not like the Vikings). Within the common season, the Falcons defensive rank shot up from 27th to eighth.
Manuel ought to have been “it.” Vrabel simply reduce the road.
Why ought to Manuel have gotten the job? As a result of Manuel carried out.
Tomlin and McVay weren’t simply younger hunches — they carried out.
Cowher didn’t simply jut his jaw out, and spit on the sideline — he carried out.
Belichick didn’t win Tremendous Bowls simply by standing close to his former head coach Invoice Parcells — he put in 23 laborious years first.
Which is why all of the Mike Vrabel media-gushing, and Patriot Means Mendacity is so rattling offensive.
Vrabel Patriot Means-ed himself into a first-rate gig with out placing within the Patriot work, and nobody appears to note or care.
Can Mike Vrabel succeed? Something is feasible. He higher rent some tremendous coordinators (who don’t go away).
Will he succeed? Not possible.
Do I would like him to succeed? Sure, on his second head coach strive — however not now.
As a result of if he did, the subsequent sizzling teaching candidate could be Pat Patriot, the Patriots mascot.
And we will’t have that.
“The Patriot Means Lie” should lastly die.