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Head Coach Mike Vrabel


Was the decision to start quarterback Joshua Dobbs to see how he compares to quarterback Malik Willis or because you believed Joshua Dobbs gave the Titans a better chance to win?

Probably a little bit of both. Last week seeing - really it was a great opportunity to evaluate Joshua (Dobbs). We'll make a decision going forward. He did some good things. We certainly would like to have a couple throws back. We will kind of see where things are here in a couple of days.

When did you know Joshua Dobbs would start this game?

Early in the week I told both of them.

How did you like how the defense performed and did penalties end up being your downfall on defense?

We just beat ourselves too much. It is too hard to beat the Cowboys or any good football teams when you beat yourself. We competed. I was extremely proud of the way that the 47 guys who we had up tonight competed, certainly not without mistake, but we gave ourselves a chance. Then again, we just did too many things that that hurt us and stole drives or allowed drives to continue. We didn't get the drive stop with a field goal down there in the red zone.

Once you made the decision to go to Joshua Dobbs was there ever any thoughts to go to back Malik Willis if performance dictated so?


Does bringing in Joshua Dobbs from the practice squad to start say anything about Malik Willis' progress?

We are excited about having Malik (Willis). We are excited about some of the things that he has done. We will continue to digest this over the weekend and make a decision. Malik (Willis) has worked hard, but then we just have to see where we are at with the quarterback position here going down to the last week of the season.

Was there panic from some players in some big moments like on cornerback Tre Avery's 51-yard penalty?

We just had a critical penalty. You think guys panic? They are out there playing their butts off, man. They made a mistake.

You had three pass plays over 30 yards tonight and that is something that hasn't been a part of your offense in recent weeks.

We protected well. Throughout the course of the game – I mean, there were times where it was obviously a passing down, but there was time for Joshua (Dobbs) to progress through and move the ball downfield. Treylon (Burks) was held, I think his left arm was grabbed. The same guy who called the 50-yard pass interference penalty. I didn't see it the same way on our sidelines. I don't know what to tell you. I thought there were opportunities where we could have helped Joshua (Dobbs) out as well. We couldn't come down with a catch. There were also other times where we made plays down the field, hit the screen versus pressure, and all those things. Hassan (Haskins) had one of the better runs of the year on fourth-and-two. He ran over a really good player and fell forward for a first down.

Did the roughing the passer call on Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and the no call on Joshua Dobbs seem similar?

Those are judgment calls and I think that was bad judgment.

Did safety Kevin Byard ask to play and how do you think he played?

I value Kevin (Byard)'s opinion. I value his role on this football team as a captain. You have to make decisions. I felt like where we were in that case, that he was going to play. He wanted to play. That was the plan. He played. He took advantage of his opportunities when the ball came his way, whether it was deflected, tipped, or whatever. He tried to tackle and come down for support. All those things aside, I appreciate his leadership. It was a different week. The whole circumstances with next week and trying to prepare a team. I am proud of the way that they fought. I am sure that everybody expected us to just lay down. I know that we didn't do that.

Was there anything that you took away as positive momentum moving into the regular season finale?

There were things when we didn't beat ourselves or we didn't extend drives or penalties. Third downs were a little bit disappointing. We stopped the run with whoever we had in there, with whatever group or front. We stopped the run. They even had the one big one. It would have been much less than that if we had just done our job and been where we were supposed to be, we wouldn't have given up the long one. That were some positives. Certainly, the penalties are a negative. Being able to avoid some of those. Offensively we got into a rhythm. We kept competing. We need to run the football better, but that is kind of been where we've been the last couple weeks. Doing some good things, just not consistently enough. Then unfortunately beating ourselves. The margin for error when you do that is pretty thin.

How did quarterback Joshua Dobbs' play pump some life into the offense?

Guys were – Woody (Robert Woods) had a big third-down catch over there on the sidelines. That was a good ball and needed some protection to get there. We will see where it went and watch the tape. I thought that there were some good. I wish Treylon (Burks) would have been able to come down with that one. It was a little behind him, but I think he expects to make that catch. I thought the timing on it was good and it was going to the right spot.

How impressive that Joshua Dobbs had this impressive of a night after only being here for a short time?

Eight days or nine days. He was excited for this opportunity to get his first start. Something that we've always said since I've been here is that it doesn't really matter how you end up here or how you get here. The only thing that matters is what you do when you're here. We have had a lot of guys take advantage of those opportunities. Joshua (Dobbs) wanted to try to do the best that he could. Unfortunately, we lost and I'm sure he would like to have the interception back, but he did some good things just not well enough.

What has to happened to be able to flip a switch and win next week?

We just have to get some guys back healthy and clean up some of the little details that show up. You only get one opportunity sometimes with a call on offense or defense versus the same exact look. It is going to happen in the game and if you don't hit it you can't say, 'Oh darn, we will just rep it again in practice.' We have had far too many of those, but we will get them cleaned up. We will have to eliminate big plays on defense, run the football, and take care of it. The same thing we always say, just do a little bit more consistently. I'm excited to watch these guys walk back into the building next week energized, recovered, and rested. I'm excited.

Do you feel like you got more from everybody that you challenged them to give after last week?

I think so. I haven't watched the tape, but I felt like the guys - some of the leadership was really good. They had some good performances just not good enough. Buying into the meetings and buying into the details. You never know when you're going to get your opportunity to make a play and be ready to make it.

Was the team operationally smoother tonight?

Without looking at the tape, maybe. There were still a few times where you have to fix those mistakes. Everybody is responsible for that, whether the formation gets called right or wrong on a play, you have to know the gameplan well enough to know where you line up and hear the call. There were some mistakes like there is every week.

Did you have a chance to talk to quarterback Ryan Tannehill before putting him on injured reserve?

Of course I had a chance to talk to Ryan (Tannehill). It is always difficult, but you have to be realistic as well with where we are at, with what was a realistic expectation for him to come back is, how long that would be, and what that may look like when he did come back. That was the decision that we made. He was obviously disappointed. We talked about his toughness. No different than all the other guys that we have had to put on injured reserve.

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