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From the NFL Combine: Hot Topics With Titans HC Mike Vrabel


INDIANAPOLIS – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel talked to reporters here on Wednesday at the NFL Combine.

Vrabel tackled a variety of questions during his time at the podium, and later during a spill-over session with reporters.

Here's a look at the hot topics…

-Vrabel provided further insight into the hiring of Tim Kelly as Passing Game Coordinator.

Kelly, formerly with the Texans, will assist offensive coordinator Todd Downing and the offensive staff where the team needs help.

"I hadn't had a role like that until last year, and Jim Schwartz and I had multiple conversations and I decided to add that role on defense," Vrabel said of Schwartz, who served as senior defensive assistant last year with the team. "And that was something that I know helped us, not only during the week, but also on game day, someone that has had experience that wasn't looking for some sort of credit, that didn't have an agenda.

"When that person, the right person, became available in Tim Kelly we were able to make it work. So I think we're still trying to define what that (job description) is – right now there's conversations between me and Todd and Tim and (offensive line coach) Keith (Carter) as we watch through our offseason and the coaching staff and what we may want to add, and we'll see where things progress during the season and what area or focus he may concentrate on."

-Vrabel offered a great deal of praise for center Ben Jones, who is scheduled to become a free agent later this month.

"Ben does a great job of always being available," Vrabel said. "Whatever his level of play is, his availability and his durability has been something I have respected the most. Obviously, the husband that he is and the father that he is, and the teammate that he is, is exceptional, but just judging from his performance on the field, his durability and availability is something that I will always admire."

-Vrabel was asked if offensive lineman Dillon Radunz is ready to start for the Titans in 2022.

Right now, Vrabel said the answer is no. But the plan is for that to change in time.

"Dillon is not ready today," Vrabel said. "But my charge to Keith (Carter) and everybody that is going to help him … that is all of our jobs, and most especially Dillon. He is going to have every opportunity to start."

Vrabel said it's going to be a huge offseason for Radunz, and he's confident he'll make great strides.

-Vrabel said he remains confident in quarterback Ryan Tannehill, while acknowledging he made some mistakes in the team's playoff loss to the Bengals.

"Ryan has won too many games for us, has been a part of too many huge victories for us, has done too much for us," Vrabel said. "Now we have to be better. That's unacceptable, Ryan knows that -- he'll tell you that. You can't make some of those mistakes. But he's not the only one out there making mistakes."

Vrabel said there were a "lot of contributing factors" to the team's 19 interceptions in 2021.

-Could the Titans entertain the idea of using receiver A.J. Brown like 49ers weapon Deebo Samuel?

Well, Vrabel said the Titans evaluate everything in the offseason.

"Deebo plays running back, and he plays receiver," Vrabel said. "That's a very unique skillset, and I think that would be a conversation that I would have with A.J. and how comfortable …. We've handed it off to him, but I think there are some differences.

"I get it. I am just as curious as what (the 49ers) do with Deebo and I watch and I see the runs that they have with him. … A lot of these are skillset driven. In conversations with A.J. to date, the focus is on making him a better receiver, and then expanding what he does for us. Not to say that he couldn't or he won't, but I don't know that he's going to have 100 carries or whatever Deebo had. I can't sit here and promise you that. I don't know that A.J. would want 100 carries from behind the center."

-Vrabel said members of the team's coaching staff will meet with draft-eligible players for visits starting next week following the NFL Combine.

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