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Titans hire Texans DC Mike Vrabel as head coach

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The 49ers tried to land Vrabel as defensive coordinator two years ago, but it was not to be.

The Tennessee Titans have landed on their new head coach, less than a week after firing Mike Mularkey. The team announced on Saturday that they have hired Mike Vrabel to take over the role. Vrabel comes to the Titans after serving one season as Houston Texans defensive coordinator.

Vrabel was on the San Francisco 49ers radar two years ago after they hired Chip Kelly as head coach. He wanted to hire Vrabel to be his defensive coordinator, but the then Texans linebackers coach turned down the job. The 49ers 2016 defense would go on to put together one of their worst defensive performances in franchise history, particularly against the run.

Vrabel remained as Texans linebackers coach, and was promoted to defensive coordinator a year later. The Texans defense struggled this past season, but a big reason for that was injuries to J.J. Watt and Whitney Mercilus, among others. Clearly it did not reflect particularly poorly on Vrabel.

Given Vrabel’s defensive pedigree, his offensive coordinator hire will be a big one. ESPN’s Adam Schefter is reporting Vrabel might land Ohio State co-offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Day for the OC job. Coincidentally enough, Day served as Chip Kelly’s quarterbacks coach during his one season with the 49ers. Day got his first job with Kelly at New Hampshire, and was later his QB coach with the Eagles before following him to the 49ers. As some are suggesting, this could mean more of the Oregon type of offense Marcus Mariota had in college.