It was unknown what the Tennessee Titans were going to do this offseason. After the first losing season of the Mike Vrabel era, there were rumors the Titans could trade away their aging quarterback and running back, and just start over. However, Ryan Tannehill and Derrick Henry still remain on roster as we enter training camp, as the Titans are set on competing in 2023.
Tennessee even went out and signed star wideout DeAndre Hopkins to bolster its subpar wide receiving corps -- another indication the Titans are confident in what they have entering the season. During a recent appearance on the "Bussin' With The Boys" podcast hosted by former Titans players Will Compton and Taylor Lewan, Vrabel was asked about the "noise" that the Titans were "in a rebuild year." Vrabel responded by saying he doesn't even believe in rebuild years.
"I don't ever think that in this league. I don't. Never going to believe that," Vrabel said. "I think that our guys will prepare, our guys will fight. I think we got a chance to beat anybody."
The Titans are seen as one of the feistiest teams in the league, and that's a credit to Vrabel. This team earned the No. 1 seed in the AFC in 2021 without Henry, and while A.J. Brown had the worst statistical year of his career. They also took the eventual Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to overtime this past regular season in primetime in Arrowhead with a backup rookie quarterback who completed just five passes.
While the 2022 season will be remembered as the year Tennessee lost seven straight games as injuries decimated the roster, the Titans were still in a win-and-you're-in postseason situation against the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 18. In the 82 regular-season games that Vrabel has coached, the Titans have been in playoff contention in all of them.
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The 2023 season does feel a bit different, however. Important players like Tannehill, Henry and Jeffery Simmons are still in the building, but that's not to say there hasn't been roster turnover.
"Well I mean we had to move on from veterans," said Vrabel. "I mean you get to a point where that's what happens in this league. Whether it's me getting traded to Kansas City going into my 13th year or having to move on from some players or making decisions. I mean that's how this thing goes. And everybody's aware of it."
Tennessee parted ways with several veterans that played important roles for the Titans, including Lewan, center Ben Jones, kicker Randy Bullock, linebacker Zach Cunningham and pass rusher Bud Dupree. With every offseason comes change, but Vrabel hasn't shifted his expectations for 2023.