NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Day 1 of the Tennessee Titans offseason program got underway Monday at St. Thomas Sports Park and with it came the first real opportunity for new coach Mike Vrabel to begin orientation with his team.
“There wasn’t much sleep last night,” Vrabel said at his press conference. “I was pretty excited to be able to come in here and stand up here in this room, and talk to our players and see our coaches back there, see our general manager, and just start working with players. Try to start building this thing like all really good teams and programs and organizations do. They start back over. They don’t necessarily pick back up where they left off, they start back over.”
Whether your team has a first-time head coach or a ten-year veteran at the helm, Day 1 for most franchises is essentially the same. This phase of the offseason is voluntary and Vrabel stated that he did not take attendance to determine who was or was not present. Monday marked the first day that Titans players and coaches can truly collaborate and is used as a football reboot to gear up for another season. The amount of roster turnover and basic competitive advantage demand that you start anew, regardless of whom or what you have returning.
“This is a great time to come back and be with your teammates,” said Vrabel when asked about the value of this time of the year. “Take advantage of – we’ve got a great facility. If they choose to come back and work, we’re going to coach them. Everybody has got some stuff going on. Whether they’re here or not we’re going to coach them, when they come back in we’re going to coach them. So, everybody has got a different situation. Sometimes when I was a player I went to the OTAs. I was 33 years old, I had two kids, I just went to the OTAs. Then I was a 22-year-old player, I was at all the offseason conditioning. It’s year-to-year, player-to-player, case-by-case basis.”
Regardless of attendance, Tennessee’s playbook is finished and ready to be rolled out, according to Vrabel. The rookie head coach made it clear, though, that he and his staff felt it would be a mistake to rush an information download on the team and that it could be a mistake to do so too soon. “Phase One,” as this time of year is typically known, limits NFL clubs to strength and conditioning only. The team will have two weeks starting Monday before voluntary minicamp begins and the focus will be on the physical development of players for the time being.
“I felt like a coach,” Vrabel said. “I got to stand up in front of the team. There was a bunch of guys in here, there were coaches in here, there was an energy in the building. I think that’s all we can really ask for. We’re not going to complain about the rules, we’re going to work within them. We’re going to be as creative as we can in developing our players.”