Buck Reising, Tennessee Titans reporter and host of Tackling Music City, recaps the debut of the team’s online documentary series, “Igniting the Fire.”
Episode 1: The @CoachVrabel50 Era is now available on Facebook Watch
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) June 20, 2018
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — While NFL fans everywhere suffer through the six-week recess between the conclusion of the offseason and when the players report back for training camp, the Tennessee Titans are trying something new to keep their supporters engaged.
Every Tuesday between June 19 and July 24, the team’s online documentary series, “Igniting the Fire” will be available to watch on TitansOnline.com, Facebook, the Titans’ official app and the team’s YouTube channel. The episodes will be between 10-12 minutes long with the goal of providing behind-closed-doors access to Tennessee’s players, coaches, practice fields and meeting rooms.
As each episode is released, we will recap it for you on TheGameNashville.com. Here are some takeaways from the premiere episode, “Who is Mike Vrabel?”:
- Romanticizing a Firing/Hiring
- The episode (11:38 in length) begins with a clip from general manager Jon Robinson’s press conference after it was announced that the Titans would be parting ways with then coach Mike Mularkey on January 15.
- “I love our fans,” Robinson said. “I think that I made that abundantly clear in my opening statement when I was sitting here a little less than two years ago about what this team means to me, what this city means to me, what this state means to me. There’s nothing more that I want for our fans than to bring a championship here and I feel like it’s my charge to put the team in the best position to do that.”
- The intro (narrated by team play-by-play man Mike Keith) set up for the story line of the mission given to Robinson by controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk to find a coach capable of improving a franchise that had just posted back-to-back winning seasons and made it’s first playoff run in quite some time.
- No mention was made of Mularkey in the piece.
- Star of the Show
- Rookie head coach Mike Vrabel, duh.
- The focus of the piece was on the Titans hiring of Vrabel, his introduction as the team’s new coach and behind-the-scenes footage of his first few months on the job. Using clips of his first press conference, shots from the practice field and video of him teaching technique to players, the first episode painted a picture of Vrabel as exactly the bill of goods that was sold to the fan base when he was hired: a teacher, intense, focused on fundamentals, detailed and relateable for the guys in the locker room.
- Interviews with people from Vrabel’s past, such as his high school coach Gerry Rardin and former Ohio State teammate/current Cincinnati coach Luke Fickell, were featured to provide additional background.
- What We Learned
- This part was difficult for me because my initial reaction was: “Not a lot.”
- I forget, though, that not everyone has had the benefit of being at all of these press conferences, offseason practices, etc. that were featured in the episode and so my opinion here shouldn’t really count. The team’s interviews with people from Vrabel’s past have already been out there for some time now, which made it feel like most of the stuff we were seeing was just re-tread. The images from Vrabel’s past were, however, intriguing, particularly from his first years in coaching at his first gig with Ohio State. From a fan’s perspective, I imagine it was enjoyable to see something like the clips of Vrabel working with the outside linebackers on their technique and with inside linebacker Jayon Brown.
- On the whole, I think Episode 1 should be taken for exactly what it was: an effort by the Titans to keep people engaged and excited about the 2018 campaign these next six weeks when there is nothing in particular to talk about. It didn’t feature anything really new or informative, from my perspective, but my feelings on the matter are irrelevant because what I do for a living already allows for a greater level of access.