animal care practices.”
Mike Vrabel has been around the NFL long enough to know that he will have some growing pains as a first-time head coach.
His goal with the Tennessee Titans is pretty basic.
Don’t make the same mistake twice.
”There’s going to be a lot of things that are going to come up for the first time … <a title="Randy Gregory Jersey" href="http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/randy-gregory-jersey">Randy Gregory Jersey</a> ,” Vrabel told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
”I’m going to make mistakes. I’m not going to make too many of them hopefully and not make the same mistake twice. And learn from the mistake and be able to ask for advice.”
Vrabel seemingly has been destined to be an NFL head coach for years, even during his 14-year career as a linebacker with Pittsburgh, New England and Kansas City.
The only question after Vrabel started coaching first as an assistant at his alma mater at Ohio State and then the NFL’s Houston Texans was which team would hire him first.
The Titans had tried men with prior experience as NFL head coaches in Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Mularkey. Whisenhunt was fired in November 2015 with a 3-20 record , while Mularkey was fired in January despite consecutive 9-7 seasons and the franchise’s first playoff victory in 14 years .
Controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk and general manager Jon Robinson, who first met Vrabel when both men worked in New England, hired Vrabel five days after firing Mularkey as the team’s 19th head coach.
Vrabel filled his coaching staff with a combination of experience and youth. He convinced Matt LaFleur, who also interviewed for the Titans’ head coaching job, to be his offensive coordinator and lured Dean Pees out of retirement to be his defensive coordinator.
Pees, who coached Vrabel in New England, said he always knew Vrabel would be a great coach someday even if he didn’t know if it would be in college or the NFL.
”The thing about Mike he’s everything that you expect and want out of a player <a title="Doug Flutie Jersey" href="http://www.buffalobillsteamonline.com/doug-flutie-jersey">Doug Flutie Jersey</a> ,” Pees said.
”He’s tough, he’s an overachiever, he’s smart as heck. He’s got an incredible work ethic, so when I’m watching him and watching his style of coaching I’m not surprised one bit at any of it to be honest with you.”
After hiring his coaching staff, Vrabel has made other changes with each move dissected for any signs of installing the “Patriot Way” in Nashville .
He closed the locker room to the media during the team’s offseason program, instead having reporters talk to players on the practice field. Vrabel talked about his decision but didn’t waver.
Vrabel also has tried to make clear that he’s been influenced by many coaches from Bill Cowher and John Mitchell in Pittsburgh, Bill Belichick in New England, Urban Meyer at Ohio State to Bill O’Brien in Houston.
”I think that my personality is probably different than Bill and Urban,” Vrabel said. ”Probably a little similar to Bill O’Brien. But it’s still kind of just who I am and appreciate everything that I’ve learned from those coaches.”
On the field, Vrabel has been a hands-on coach who has jumped on a blocking sled and shown rookie linebacker Rashaan Evans a specific technique he wanted. He also veered off script in practices <a title="Brett Maher Jersey" href="http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/brett-maher-jersey">Brett Maher Jersey</a> , calling out different downs and distances to test how everyone reacted – including himself.
”He’s going to be taping ankles sooner or later,” four-time Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo said.
”I mean he’s going to be cooking lunch. This guy is all over the place, and we love it. It’s high intensity, high motor, energetic. Sometimes you really can’t tell if he’s joking or not. But he’s still a player’s coach and we’re thrilled that he’s on board.”
The Titans wrapped up their offseason program last week , and Vrabel said he feels settled in now after working to get a feel for each person’s strengths and weaknesses. That also included some self-scouting for how Vrabel can improve as a head coach.
Now he’s got a break before rookies, quarterbacks and injured Titans report July 22 followed by the rest of the team July 25 for training camp. Vrabel won’t coach his first game until Aug. 9 when Tennessee opens the preseason in Green Bay. The Titans’ season opener is Sept. 9 in Miami.
And Vrabel knows he faces very high expectations even if this is his first season.
”Everybody knows what the expectations are,” Vrabel said. ”It’s to win.”
The maker of Jack Daniel’s whiskey has dropped its long-running sponsorship of Alaska’s Iditarod sled race, the company said Wednesday.
The move by Louisville, Kentucky-based Brown-Forman followed a tough year for organizers of the 1 <a title="Josh Bellamy Jersey" href="http://www.chicagobearsteamonline.com/josh-bellamy-jersey">Josh Bellamy Jersey</a> ,000-mile (1,610 kilometer) Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race who have faced financial hardships, the loss of other sponsors and its first-ever dog doping scandal.
Jack Daniel’s decided to go a different direction by shifting most of its marketing efforts to a partnership with the National Basketball Association, company spokesman Svend Jansen said in a statement.
He said a campaign against the Iditarod by People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals had nothing to do with the decision, which will affect the 2019 race in March.
”As a sponsor of The Iditarod for 15 years we have been particularly impressed with the utmost care in which the animals are treated by the race veterinarians, the dog sled teams and everyone associated with this event,” Jansen wrote in a follow-up email to The Associated Press.
Iditarod spokesman Chas St. George said organizers were notified by Jack Daniel’s that the company made the move to focus on sponsorships in other areas.
”We are confident that we will continue to grow the race with new sponsorship opportunities,” St. George said in an email.
PETA said Jack Daniel’s did the right thing. Spokeswoman Tricia Lebkuecher said the organization believes it had an impact on the decision following public protests and after thousands of PETA members and supporters flooded the company with emails urging the company to end its ties with the race.
PETA said it first contacted Jack Daniel’s following the deaths of five dogs connected with the 2017 race. One dog died in this year’s race as well, with the cause of death blamed on aspiration pneumonia.
”This is a victory for all the dogs who’ve been forced to run this cruel race,” Lebkuecher said in a phone interview.
PETA says its tally of dog deaths totals more than 150 in the Iditarod’s history. That number is disputed by race officials <a title="Daryl Johnston Jersey" href="http://www.dallascowboysteamonline.com/daryl-johnston-jersey">Daryl Johnston Jersey</a> , who say there are no records of dog deaths during the early years of the race, and an accurate count is not available.
In June, the board for the race implemented a major change regarding dog deaths. Organizers will now remove mushers from the race if one of their dogs dies while on the trail. If a dog’s death is caused ”solely by unforeseeable forces,” then a musher may be allowed to stay in the race, according to the change.
Iditarod officials also responded after one if its veteran mushers, Hugh Neff, was banned from competing in the 2019 Yukon Quest International Sled Dog Race over dog care issues.
Registration for the upcoming Iditarod start Saturday. Organizers say they have the right to ”reject any entrant that does not conform with or demonstrate humane animal care practices.”
The Iditarod also has been suffering financially and lost Wells Fargo bank as a major sponsor last year. Organizers have blamed animal rights activists for pressuring sponsors.
Last year’s race also was marked by fallout from the Iditarod’s first-ever dog doping scandal. Race officials announced that the team of four-time champion Dallas Seavey tested positive for an opioid painkiller after his second-place finish in 2017 but said they could not prove he gave tramadol to his dogs.
Officials didn’t punish Seavey but changed race rules to make mushers responsible for any positive drug test. Seavey, who won four titles between 2012 and 2016, denied giving drugs to his dogs and sat out this year’s race in protest.
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