Amy Adams Strunk deserves to be applauded for her leadership this week. The controlling owner of the Tennessee Titans made a difficult, but necessary decision to move on from long-time GM Jon Robinson on Tuesday.
In doing so, Strunk sent a clear message to the Titans’ fanbase and staff about the raised standards and expectations she has for the organization. That much is worth celebrating.
What transpired on Wednesday, though, was not nearly as commendable. Strunk put Titans head coach Mike Vrabel in a really tough spot when she was nowhere to be found during Wednesday’s press conference. After making a franchise-altering decision, it was Vrabel, not Strunk, that was fielding over 20 minutes worth of questions from the media.
For starters, many of the questions fans and media members have regarding Robinson’s firing can only be answered by Strunk. Vrabel shared on Wednesday that the decision to part ways with Robinson “did not include him,” and that he was simply informed of Strunk’s decision.
He cannot fairly speak to Strunk’s frustration with the roster, the future plans she has for the organization, or the rumors that Strunk felt excluded in decision making.
Why did she make this move now? How long has she known this needed to happen? Has ownership been in communication with Robinson about their frustrations? Did ownership endorse or oppose the A.J. Brown trade this offseason? Where do the Titans go from here?
Those are her opinions, her choices, and her perspective, and should have to be answered by her and nobody else.
Any other questions directed towards Vrabel specifically were effectively unanswerable. He still has five regular season games and likely at least one playoff game to coach. Vrabel can not throw his roster under the bus or give a genuine assessment at this juncture.
Instead, Vrabel had to stand there, deflect, and attempt to redirect focus to Sunday’s game with the Jacksonville Jaguars.
“My focus is clearly on the Jacksonville Jaguars,” Vrabel said when asked if he felt he had been given enough control over the roster construction in Tennessee. “My job was to do everything to support the personnel staff wherever I could.”
When asked if there were players on the roster or moves Robinson made that Vrabel did not support, Vrabel emphasized the good working relationship he had with Robinson, but would not directly endorse the roster construction. “Ultimately, I reported to Jon, Jon was the General Manager,” Vrabel said.
All things considered, Vrabel handled himself well at the podium. He was trying to be as transparent as possible without making his job more difficult or making anyone look bad. But even if he wanted to, he couldn’t answer some of the big picture questions that still loom over the organization at this time.
A move of this magnitude needs to be addressed by ownership. Amy Adams Strunk owes that to her fans as they attempt to see her vision of the Titans’ future.
Strunk made a bold, powerful, and noble decision this week. Now it’s time to answer for it and speak your mind, not hang your head coach out to dry.