Prior to the 2021 season, the Tennessee Titans decided to cut cornerback and former first-round pick, Adoree’ Jackson, which was a surprise at the time considering Tennessee had picked up his fifth-year option in 2020.
Granted, we figured Jackson wasn’t long for Nashville after four up-and-down years and multiple bouts with injuries, but it was thought he’d play out the final year of his deal.
However, after hearing what Jackson had to say about his time under Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, it’s easier to understand why the divorce occurred sooner than expected.
Jackson, who signed a three-year, $39 million deal with the New York Giants after being cut, says he never felt comfortable under Vrabel because the Titans head coach wanted the cornerback to play a style that simply didn’t work for him (H/T AtoZ Sports Nashville’s Sam Phalen for the transcribe).
“Vrabel got there and I had to get used to him and what he wanted,” Jackson said on the “Cut To It” podcast featuring former NFL wide receiver Steve Smith. “The type of player he wanted and the style he wanted. We didn’t gel. It didn’t mesh right. My play didn’t work and the way he was coaching didn’t work for me.”
“It matters because the game is 90 percent mental and 10 percent physical,” Jackson added. “Being coached a certain way can effect mentality and keep you from playing your own game.”
Jackson went on to say that he respected Vrabel as a person and thinks he’s a “good coach” and “smart as hell,” but that Vrabel simply didn’t know how to coach him.
“Good coach. Smart as hell,” Jackson admitted. “He knows what he’s doing but he don’t know how to coach everybody.”
If you take Jackson’s comments about Vrabel at face value, they hint at a stubborn approach, something that isn’t exactly a revelation to those who follow the team on a regular basis.
Smith chimed in about that topic, saying he hears that is the norm for guys who work under Bill Belichick before becoming a head coach.
“Bill Belichick folk, those dudes come off on their first job and they try to be Bill to a tee, and it never works out,” Smith said. “Long term it never works out because they burn too many bridges with players. That’s what I hear. They rub players the wrong way. They do.”
While Vrabel never coached under Belichick, he did play under the future Hall of Fame head coach for eight seasons while with the New England Patriots, and we definitely see some Bill-like tendencies from Vrabes, especially when it comes to giving information about injuries and how he deals with the press in general.
But it’s hard to knock Vrabel’s process in any way, as he’s overseen four winning seasons, including three straight trips to the playoffs (one of which ended in the AFC Championship Game) and two consecutive division titles.
Vrabel was also awarded the AP NFL Coach of the Year for 2021 after doing a masterful job with a Titans team that saw a ridiculous amount of injuries, leading to Tennessee fielding an NFL record 91 players. The team wisely rewarded Vrabel with a contract extension earlier this offseason.
Jackson will get his first chance at revenge against the Titans when his Giants travel to Nashville in Week 1 of the 2022 campaign.