The Texans began their offseason workout program Monday morning. For the first time since head coach Bill O'Brien and his new staff took over, it was a chance to have the team together. The new regime's headlined by O'Brien, with defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience as well.
And linebackers coach Mike Vrabel is a well-known commodity, too.
Last week at South Carolina's Pro Timing Day, ESPN's Tedy Bruschi spoke about
Vrabel. The duo helped form the cornerstone for a trio of Super Bowl wins with New England. Understandably, Bruschi thinks his former teammate will be a plus.
"He'll bring the perspective of a former player, which you always need on staff," Bruschi said. "Not only a former player, but a former player that has done it on a championship level."
In a 14-year NFL career, Vrabel spent his first four years in Pittsburgh, followed by eight in New England with a two-year stint in Kansas City. He rang up 57 sacks in that span, started 140 games and helped win a Super Bowl ring in 2001, 2003 and 2004. From 2011 to 2013, Vrabel coached the linebackers and defensive line at Ohio State.
The key attribute Vrabel will contribute, according to Bruschi, is his brain.
"I think he brings his intellect, first of all," Bruschi said. "His knowledge of the various schemes that
we ran. His experience that he had at Ohio State."
During their time together with the Patriots, Bruschi said it was clear Vrabel would one day "be a coach". After all, in many ways, Vrabel served in that capacity on the field.
"He was always the one that was making adjutsments as a player, before they needed to be made," Bruschi said. "He was the intelligence of the operation. I was the middle linebacker, but a lotta times I was going 'Vrabes: what do we got here?' And he would give the answer. He's going to bring that there."
Vrabel and Bruschi played together under Crennel, who served as New England's defensive coordinator from 2001 to 2004.
Currently on the roster, the Texans linebacker corps is led by captain and returning starter Brian Cushing inside. Whitney Mercilus and Brooks Reed started outside last year, at the weak and strong side spots respectively. Jeff Tarpinian, Mike Mohamed, Justin Tuggle and Ricky Sapp saw playing time in 2013 with the Texans, and Trevardo Williams was on the injured reserve last year. The team signed Paul Hazel this offseason.