The Los Angeles Rams have targeted current Houston Texans linebackers coach Mike Vrabel for their head coaching vacancy. This comes as a surprise especially because Vrabel has no head coaching experience prior to this interview. Vrabel spent time with Ohio State University as their linebacker and defensive line coach from 2011-2013 and with the Texans as the linebacker coach since 2014.
Were Vrabel being targeted for any position other than head coach, the Texans could have denied the Rams or other interested parties from interviewing him, even if the opportunity was for a promotion such as defensive coordinator, because Vrabel is still under contract with the Texans. The league mandates, however, that a candidate’s current team must allow him the opportunity to interview only for a head coaching position with another team in the league if that interview is requested.
Vrabel has been one of the most sought after coaches from the Texans staff. Last season, he interviewed for the San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator position. He was offered the position and turned it down after the Texans gave him a pay raise to return to Houston. Around Houston, some thought exists that Vrabel would be the successor to current coordinator Romeo Crennel when his contract expires.
Vrabel has been instrumental in the development of his linebackers, especially Whitney Mercilus and Jadeveon Clowney. The two have taken the next step as players under Vrabel, turning the defense into one of the top units in the NFL over the past three seasons.
According to Fox Sports, the Rams already have interviewed Atlanta offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan, Arizona offensive coordinator Harold Goodwin, Washington offensive coordinator Sean McVay, and Carolina assistant head coach Steve Wilks. They plan to speak with New England coordinators Josh McDaniels and Matt Patricia this weekend, along with Buffalo interim coach Anthony Lynn and other candidates.