The Tennessee Titans have their next head coach. The team hired former Houston Texans defensive coordinator and New England Patriots great Mike Vrabel to lead their team following the dismissal of Mike Mularkey. The cupboard isn't bare for the team, fresh off a playoff victory with a franchise quarterback in place in Marcus Mariota. But the firing of Mularkey proves that the owner of the team thinks the time to compete is now so that the pressure will be on Vrabel almost instantly.

Hiring Vrabel

Vrabel will become the 19th head coach in the history of the Titans organization.

The 42-year old recently was residing working for another AFC South team in the Houston Texans, where he served as a linebackers coach for three years before working as the defensive coordinator for the past season. Prior to that, he held several coaching roles with the Ohio State Buckeyes, where he was an All-American in the 1990s.

Hiring Vrabel is a bold move by the Titans. He has no head coaching experience and only one year as a coordinator in the NFL. For a team that seems ready to win now, he may not be the best hire, especially with many experienced names out there. It seems as if the team is trying to hit a home run, in the same manner, the Los Angeles Rams did when they hired Sean McVay.

If it pays quick dividends, however, general manager Jon Robinson will look like a genius.

Patriots ties

There could be a New England connection that actually brought Vrabel to Tennessee. Before Robinson was making the personnel moves for the Titans, he was an executive with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Before that? Several roles with the Patriots, rising from the ranks of area scout to director of college scouting, with his ascension taking place at the same time a certain linebacker was suiting up for the team.

There's plenty of jealousy directed New England's way in the NFL. Much of it has to do with the fact that the franchise has been a beacon of stability and prestige for close to two decades now. Some of it relates to the endless cheating accusations. Either way, your franchise is doing something if it's that consistent.

Tennessee is one of several teams that have been chided as trying to copy New England's model, from Cleveland (unsuccessfully) to Kansas City (mixed results). With Vrabel in charge, the team could finally break through in a recognizable way. Or they could fall behind in an AFC South ready to rise, leaving another coach twisting in the wind.