Eddie George has a new perspective on coaching and what it takes to be good at that job.
The way he sees it, no one in the NFL has been better this season than Mike Vrabel, who led the Tennessee Titans to a 12-5 record and the No. 1 seed in the AFC playoffs despite a rash of injuries and roster moves, including the absence of running back Derrick Henry for more than half the regular season.
“He should be the Coach of the Year,” George said this week on The Rich Eisen Show. “I really do believe that. It is remarkable what he’s done – not just made the playoffs, but (91) players have gone on that roster … and they’re the No. 1 seed.
“You would think a team like that, that was decimated with that many injuries would be a 9-8 or 8-9 team just trying to squeak into the playoffs. They’re a No. 1 seed. They beat quality teams.”
George recently completed his first season as head coach for Tennessee State University, an HBCU institution in Nashville that plays some of its some games at Nissan Stadium, the Titans’ home field and the place where George enjoyed many of his best days as a running back.
It was his first season as a coach of any kind at any level, and he led the Tigers to a 5-6 record. It was a first step in what he expects to be a return to prominence for a program that produced two Pro Football Hall of Famers – Richard Dent and Claude Humphrey – along with other notable players such as Ed “Too Tall” Jones.
George sees what Vrabel has done since he took over the Titans in 2018 as a model for him to emulate and a resource into which he plans to tap.
“He spent the last three or four years implementing his system, and we’re seeing that system work,” George said. “No matter who you plug in, it works.
“… We’ve been texting back and forth, and it’s my plan to go in there and to soak up some knowledge from him.”
During his eight seasons with the Titans/Oilers, George was a part of four playoff teams, including the only one in franchise history to reach the Super Bowl – the 1999 Titans who lost 23-16 to the St. Louis Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV – and another that played in the conference championship.
He expects Vrabel’s current team, which has a bye in this weekend’s wild card round, to be a significant factor in this postseason.
“For the national audience, yeah, they’re not the sexy pick,” George said. “Some people are surprised that the Tennessee Titans are the No. 1 seed in the AFC. … We’ll have to wait and see how it all unfolds in the playoffs.”