PHOENIX – Titans coach Mike Vrabel spoke to reporters here at the NFL owners meetings on Monday at the Arizona Biltmore Hotel.
Vrabel tackled a wide variety of questions during his 30 minutes of availability, including questions on quarterback Ryan Tannehill, safety Kevin Byard, the team's new free agents, recent additions to his coaching staff, the potential for joint practices during training camp, and more.
Here's a look at some of the highlights:
I asked Vrabel to give a Cliff's Notes version of the team's new free agent acquisitions – OL Daniel Bruskill, OL Andre Dillard, CB Sean Murphy-Bunting, DL Arden Key, LB Azeez Al-Shaair and LB/special teams ace Luke Gifford,
Here's a clip on what he said on each player:
Here's more of what Vrabel said on Monday:
-Vrabel offered praise for safety Kevin Byard. "Kevin is under contract, and Kevin is a valuable, valuable member of our football team," Vrabel said. "I've said that – his durability and his leadership… The communication has been really good (with him). I've tried to make a great connection with him as a player and captain on our team for five years. Those are conversations that happen between Kevin and his agent and Ran (Carthon) and myself, and we'll try to find ways to continue with our football team."
-Vrabel recently hired Matt Jones, formerly with Tennessee-Martin, as an offensive line assistant coach while also hiring Tom Quinn and Anthony Levine as special teams assistant coaches. Levine, who played at Tennessee State and in the NFL with the Ravens, was a person the team targeted. "We're excited to get rolling with him – he has a lot of passion for coaching, a Tennessee State guy," Vrabel said. "And Tom Quinn brings that veteran presence. We were really excited to be able to add both of those people to the special teams. And Matt is an o-line guy. Loved the interview, love his energy."
-Vrabel was asked if he expects Tannehill to be the team's starter in 2023. "Of course. Of course, we do," Vrabel responded. "We are in March, and we are continuing to build a football team, the best football team we can. And Ryan is getting healthy. He has been putting the work in. It is good to see him around the building. So yeah, we always expect that. But to make predictions – I think I have been through this last year (with A.J. Brown) – I am not going to commit to anybody being on our roster in September. I've seen it change too quickly. Of course, we want Ryan as our quarterback, and everybody else that has helped us win. That is what we want."
-Vrabel said he's had conversations with other NFL coaches about the team having joint practices during training camp. "We'd like to," Vrabel said. "We've had some conversations with a few teams – can't really commit to anything right now because of the schedule. But I think we'll probably travel to somewhere and work, and then probably host somebody the third week. … There's some data that some of these injuries we can try and mitigate after the first two weeks of training camp. So the recommendation is that the joint practices occur after the first preseason game. So, we'll try and do weeks two and three potentially."
-Two players who suffered injuries last year and missed the 2022 season – linebacker Chance Campbell and lineman Jamarco Jones – will factor into the competition leading up to the 2023 season. "I've had communication with both those (players)," Vrabel said. "We've seen Chance back in the building as he recovered from the knee surgery. Jamarco, disappointed, I know he is disappointed in the injury and coming back and trying to compete in training camp. It didn't work out like any of us wanted it to. He will have an opportunity, and we'll just have to see. He has to come back healthy, he has to come back ready to go and I think he understands what the competition is going to be. We have to have competition throughout our roster, that is something that's critical. That's the only way everybody gets better."
-Vrabel said kicker Caleb Shudak should expect competition as well. "I would anticipate us adding another kicker. I am not closing the door on bringing Randy (Bullock) back either. We have to provide some competition there and everywhere else."