Adventures in Texans Coaching: Vrabel Offered 49ers DC Job, Pasqualoni Resigns
It was just a matter of time before teams started sniffing around Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel, who was reportedly offered the 49ers DC job this week.
Coaching staff churn and attrition can occur for a handful of reasons. When you have issues with certain areas of a football team, the turnover is due to termination and, hopefully, change for the better. For the Houston Texans, such is the case with areas such as wide receivers (Stan Hixon replaced by Sean Ryan) and special teams (Bob Ligashesky replaced by Larry Izzo).
Then there are areas of your team where your proficiency catches the attention of your competitors, and they decide if you can't beat 'em, join 'em. With the improvement and production from the Texans' linebackers this past season, it was just a matter of time before teams started sniffing around Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel. After being hired as the new head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, Chip Kelly made the call to Vrabel, and according to ESPN's Dianna Russini, Vrabel was offered the defensive coordinator's job Wednesday afternoon:
49ers have offered Mike Vrabel the DC job. 49ers waiting to hear his answer per sources #49ers— Dianna Marie Russini (@diannaESPN) January 20, 2016
To a nationwide audience, the indoctrination into understanding Vrabel as a coach began during this past season's Hard Knocks, in which we got a fantastic window into his communication style and coaching methods. Needless to say, Vrabel was a Hard Knocks home run. However, the real proof of his coaching acumen came during the season, in which Whitney Mercilus posted easily the best season of his career, Jadeveon Clowney looked solid enough in his first non-injury-truncated season, and rookie Bryant McKinney was a regular contributor by season's end. All three gave Vrabel tons of credit.
It remains to be seen if Vrabel actually accepts Kelly's offer. If he did, Vrabel would be accepting a DC job in a division with the Seahawks and Cardinals, and would also be accepting a job on a team whose offense will likely run high tempo, meaning the time-of-possession battle will be tilted heavily against whoever the defensive coordinator is. We will find out soon enough.
In other Texans coaching news, defensive line coach Paul Pasqualoni resigned on Thursday to move back to the East Coast:
Paul Pasqualoni, 66, coached Texans D line one season and did a good job. He replaced Bill Kollar.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) January 21, 2016
Former Texans DE Anthony Weaver is candidate 2 replace D line coach Paul Pasqualoni, who resigned 2b with family on East Coast.— John McClain (@McClain_on_NFL) January 21, 2016
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Pasqualoni spent one season with the Texans, replacing Bill Kollar, who left the Texans to take over the Broncos' defensive line duties this past season. Overall, Pasqualoni did a good job, overseeing the development of sixth round rookie Christian Covington and the collectively positive play of the starting unit of Jared Crick, Vince Wilfork and some other dude named Watt.
As reported above by John McClain, it would appear the inside track to replace Pasqualoni is owned by former Texan Anthony Weaver, who played defensive end here from 2006 through 2008 and was a very popular player in the locker room. He spent seven years in the league as a player before embarking on a coaching journey that has taken him to a couple of stops in college and position coaching stints with the Jets, the Bills and most recently the Browns. His most notable stop was in 2013 in Buffalo, where he coached a Bills defensive line that had three Pro Bowlers, including Mario Williams's best season as a pro with 13 sacks.
So while most of the Texans' staff has taken some much-needed time off, Bill O'Brien remains busy assembling the rest of the staff.
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