From the time he was hired as the Tennessee Titans‘ head coach, Mike Vrabel has insisted on developing a team first culture that would work to limit mistakes and uphold an environment that welcomes professionalism, responsibility, and accountability.
For the most part, the work he has done hasn’t gone unrewarded. In fact, its seemingly shimmied its way into the locker room, on the field, and even among the the organization.
The results have spoken for themselves, as the Titans have reeled off a number of successful seasons in the win column, and have found ways to consistently play their best football against the best teams the league has to offer.
However, nothing is perfect, no matter how many good moments or positive developments come to be.
Vrabel’s lack of playoff success — aside from the Titans’ 2019 run — stands out as an outlier, as well as numerous mistakes from both sides of the ball, most of which have been a main part in the Titans running off the diligent course that has been prepared for them.
But none have been more significant in a sense, than the negative development that occurred just hours after the Titans’ win over the Green Bay Packers last week. As offensive coordinator Todd Downing was arrested for DUI in the wee hours of Friday morning.
The arrest came as a shock, obviously, since Downing had just been on the team plane hours before his eventual arrest.
Details from the arrest were disappointing as expected, as well as his dangerous choice to drive while intoxicated, but the entire optical view of the situation was a rather devastating development as well.
The arrest directly went against what Vrabel wants from his football team.
There’s no comparison between the two, but from a team and football perspective, the conversation needs to be had.
These type of distractions and negative outliers are usually expelled from the team in a swift and orderly manner. Since failing to do so quickly would risk further rot within the team and that’s a scenario the organization wants to avoid at all cost.
But with Downing, there seems to be a bit of uncertainty surrounding the idea of his services being kicked to the curb.
His job security was already under scrutiny in previous weeks, simply due to the fact that he wasn’t doing a good enough job at efficiently completing his task as an offensive coordinator.
However, with a concerning DUI arrest now on record, Downing’s job security has once again come into serious question. Not because of how well or poorly he executes his job, but due to the egregious mistake that luckily didn’t cause any other person harm.
That mistake causes an entirely different conversation surrounding Downing’s job security and for good reason. But at this point in time, what seems so concrete, appears to be more complicated.
There’s no word on what the Titans will do with Downing, with Vrabel recently commenting that Downing will remain with the Titans unless things change.
Vrabel has always stuck by his staff members regardless of how well they do their job, so this wasn’t in the least bit surprising to hear. Still though, it gave us a better idea on what needs to occur to suddenly jettison Downing out
Vrabel has always stuck by his staff members regardless of how well they do their job, so this wasn’t in the least bit surprising to hear. Still though, it gave us a better idea on what factors need to come to fruition before any sort of conclusion can be made.
What factors meet the level of considering moving on from Downing? Well, we don’t have a good answer at this point in time.
Whatever those factors may be though, they all contribute to the idea of Downing’s future with the team remaining in a cloud of smoke moving forward.
And for a team that wants all attention on the football portion of the job, that certainly isn’t a cloud they want to have hanging over their head.
We won’t have a definitive end to this situation until Downing’s legal situations clears, as well as any potential discipline from the NFL, both of which won’t reach conclusions for some time.
Although the NFL’s portion of things should meet a quicker end.
Whatever the case may be, this situation certainly isn’t ideal for the Titans’ moving forward. But they’ve been dealt this hand and they’ll have to work through it until it ends for good.
Featured image via Dan Powers/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wisconsin
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