Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is the reigning NFL Coach of the Year for good reason.

Not only or his Titans coming off of being the top seed in the AFC playoffs last year, in his four years in Tennessee, Vrabel has never had a losing season. 

The Titans coach has demonstrated an ability to get the most out of his talent, despite the team usually sitting in the bottom ten in NFL payroll (up to 17th in 2022).

The process Vrabel takes to bringing his team together starts early, and once again, it has been on display in summer 2022.

The Titans new rookie class has been shining on the field during OTAs and training camp, and so much of what makes them great is the team environment Vrabel has created for them.

I spoke to Titans rookie TE Chig Okonkwo and rookie OT Nicholas Petit-Frere after practice on Monday to discuss how close the group of rookies are:

“Yeah man. We’re trying to be the best rookie class we can be,” Okonkwo said. “Every time we see someone make a play, we go out there and congratulate them. We’re really close, we all came in together, so whenever we see each other make a player were very excited and very happy.” 

Petit-Frere echoed Okonkwo’s statements, and gave much of the credit to his head coach:

“What I’ll say is that Vrabel does an amazing job of making sure the team comes together in OTAs and spring,” Petit-Frere said. “That’s why I feel like I have a really good connection with all the guys here. It’s a really special connection.” 

I asked Vrabel in the press conference what he does to bring unity to the rookies in camp:

“Well, they’re all in this together. I just try to do what I think is best for the team every single day and for the individuals every single day.”

– Titans head coach Mike Vrabel

Vrabel’s unique ability to unite players may just be par for the course for him, but it has undoubtedly been a factor in the Titans’ success (and the success of their rookies) in recent years.

In his first four rookie classes, Vrabel and Robinson have found a developed Harold Landry, Rashaan Evans, Jeffery Simmons, AJ Brown, Nate Davis, Amani Hooker, Kristian Fulton, David Long, and Caleb Farley into being starters for Tennessee.

Not bad for a four year run.

One week into training camp, the rookies have stood for their playmaking abilities, and their camaraderie as a class. I, much like Petit-Frere, attribute that to Vrabel.

As Tennessee begins retooling their roster and extending their championship window, Mike Vrabel’s ability to connect with young players, and more importantly, connect them to each other, may be the key to finding the talent the Titans need.

I expect rookies like Treylon Burks, Kyle Philips, Chig Okonkwo, Roger McCreary, and Nicholas Petit-Frere to all be impactful in their first season. I also expect the Titans to stay a unified and fundamentally strong organization.

Vrabel deserves the praise for that being the case.

Image via George Walker IV / Tennessean.com-USA TODAY NETWORK