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Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Mike Vrabel turns down 49ers defensive coordinator job


Mike Vrabel has turned what would have been a promotion in favor of remaining with the Houston Texans.

John Middlekauff of 95.7 The Game in San Francisco reported on Thursday that Vrabel turned down an offer from Chip Kelly to become the defensive coordinator of the 49ers. Vrabel has served as the linebackers coach in Houston for the past two seasons.

Why would he do that? The assumption is that Vrabel did not want to risk working in a system that seemingly sets defenses up to fail. Kelly runs a quick-tempo offense that ranked last in the NFL in time of possession each of the past three seasons. Kelly’s defenses are on the field more than any other unit in the NFL, which makes stopping opponents a major challenge. That’s one of the reasons the Eagles’ defenses never ranked higher than 28th in the league while Kelly was in Philadelphia.

Vrabel, 40, will likely have other opportunities. One of them could even come in Houston, where current defensive coordinator Romeo Crennel is 68 years old. If Vrabel went to San Francisco and was unable to overcome the same obstacles Kelly’s teams faced in Philly, that would reflect poorly on him and could negatively affect his future job prospects. It’s hard to blame Vrabel for declining the offer.

Eric Mangini, the current D-coordinator for the Niners, is likely to remain in his current position.

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