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Tedy Bruschi Sheds Insight on Titans HC Mike Vrabel, DC Pees

Posted Jan 30, 2018

Tedy Bruschi and Mike Vrabel were teammates with the Patriots from 2001-2008. At Super Bowl LII, Bruschi called the new Titans coach “the brains of the unit” in New England, while saying he’s perfect for his new job.

SAINT PAUL, Minn. – Tedy Bruschi played 13 NFL seasons with the New England Patriots, and he’s regarded as one of the rocks during a championship-winning run.

There’s no doubt Bruschi was a heck of a player, a tough and rugged linebacker who was fiery.

But here at the Super Bowl, Bruschi raved about the “brains of the unit” – Mike Vrabel, his former teammate with the Patriots, and new Titans head coach.

“Everybody says how smart the Patriots defenses were when we played, and we were. But there was one guy that was the smartest, and it was always Mike Vrabel,” Bruschi said. “If I had a question, I would ask him. If there was an on-field adjustment, I made some, but if I was unsure of something I was checking with him.

“He was the brains of the unit. And he had guts. He would challenge people, he would challenge players, he would challenge coaches, and he would bring humor. He would lighten it up. He is the perfect person for that job in Tennessee, to be a head coach. Everyone knew he would be a coach.”

Bruschi, a three-time Super Bowl champion, like Vrabel, played from 1996-2008 with New England. Now an analyst for ESPN, Bruschi said Vrabel is already off to a good start with his hires.

On Tuesday, the Titans named veteran coach Dean Pees their defensive coordinator, while also striking a deal with Matt LaFleur to be offensive coordinator under Vrabel, who was introduced as head coach last Monday.

Pees, formerly with the Ravens, spent six seasons (2004-09) coaching for the Patriots. He originally joined the Patriots as linebackers coach, and his final four years he served as the defensive coordinator. In three of his four years (2007,’08,’09) as the defensive coordinator, the Patriots ranked in the top 11 in total defense. Over the four-year period, New England ranked second in the NFL in points allowed (17.3/game).

Vrabel and Bruschi were teammates from 2001-08.

“Mike is going to make smart decisions on who he hires and he just got Dean Pees out of retirement,” Bruschi said. “And they both are very smart people -- they get along very well based on linebacker-coach relationship. Mike and Pees always got along well (in New England).

“And Pees in Baltimore, just like Vrabes said, he wants front multiplicity, and coverage consistency – I saw the press conference, too. They’ll work great together.”

Bruschi said he plans to keep up closely with Vrabel.

He said he’ll be pulling for him.

“I will be watching every game, probably every press conference,” Bruschi said of Vrabel. “The big question, of course, is: Can Mike take all of it, knowing the player he was, the person he is, and become a good head coach? I can’t give you an answer. I can tell you how much I love him. I can tell you how great a friend he is to me. But being a head coach has a lot of responsibility. Now don’t get me wrong – I believe he can handle the responsibility. But I can’t give any guarantee.

“But I can tell you what you are getting. Is that going to translate into winning 14 games next year? I don’t know. I just know if he was still coaching at Ohio State, I’d want to send my son there. … I just believe in him, and believe he can do it.”