Why change now? Titans ready to bring "Old School" approach to AFC Championship

Derrick Henry
Posted at 5:13 PM, Jan 15, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-15 22:27:09-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF)  — Tennessee Titans' head coach Mike Vrabel has been here before.

Vrabel appeared in five AFC Championship games as a player for the New England Patriots, winning four.

Sunday's game against Kansas City will be Vrabel's first as a head coach, but sometimes you have to look back to go forward.

"I think there’s always experiences that you try to draw from as a player," Vrabel said Wednesday, "I spent 14 years in the National Football League, and I don’t even know how many playoff games, but those were good experiences about preparation and really focusing on what got us to this point."

What got the Titans to this point, one win away from the Super Bowl, has been the perfect recipe of complimentary football. Derrick Henry living up to his "Tractorcito" nickname chewing up yards on the ground and Ryan Tannehill's quality over quantity passing attack.

It's a far cry from the Titans' subpar start to the season. Consistency has been the key to the turnaround, coupled with a long look in the mirror.

"On October 14th, we were 2-4. I was a bad coach, and this was a bad team," Vrabel told reporters. "We tried to believe in each other, we tried to improve, tried to prepare, trust each other, execute. That’s what’s gotten us here, so we can’t change and start to make things up now."

The Chiefs will come into the AFC Championship with the same mindset. Kansas City has the most prolific offense in the NFL behind quarterback Patrick Mahomes.

Houston went up 24-0 last week before the Chiefs went on a 51-7 run to win the game by 20. A performance so dominant the stadium ran out of fireworks to set off at the end of the game.

The Chiefs offense, reminiscent of an NBA fastbreak, matched with the grind it out style the Titans embrace has led to a lot of new school vs. old school takes by the national media.

Vrabel says it's just part of the game.

"I think that if Old School is hustling, being physical and playing hard, then that’s, to me, football. The schemes are always going to be great. Everybody’s got a great scheme, but it’s the players and the teammates that make the scheme really work."

Kansas City's last loss came at the hands of these Titans on November 10th at Nissan Stadium. Since then, it's been seven straight wins, all but two coming by 10 or more points.

Confidence is running high in Kansas City. It's running high in Music City too.

"I think that when you can run the football against the Baltimore Ravens, the New England Patriots and take care of the football, I want our players to play with confidence too," Vrabel said, "There’s a lot of ways that these games unfold."

The AFC Championship kicks off at 2 p.m. on NewsChannel5.