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Head Coach Mike Vrabel


Was it helpful to get the forced turnovers on defense on a day where the offense struggled?

There was some good defense. It is great to get turnovers and for the most part take care of the football. That is going to be the formula, if you guys haven't figured that out. That is going to have to be how we play. It is a battle. That is a very good defense. We were close on some things. We will have to continue to work and look. I am just extremely proud of these guys and proud of all three phases.

What does the different players battling through injuries today say about the toughness of this team?

It is amazing. I never would have dreamed that given the opportunity to be a head coach in this league, that I would be able to coach a bunch of guys that are as tough as these guys and care about each other like these men do. I know this is professional football and there are a lot of tough guys. I understand that but top to bottom, it becomes somewhat infectious when guys are peeling themselves off the turf, getting checked out, getting taped up and doing what they have to do to be out there. I am extremely proud of their toughness, their resolve and mental toughness.

Was defensive back Andrew Adams one of the players that rose to the occasion today?

Him and T-Mitch (Terrance Mitchell) were both signed on the same day. Neither of them were working. They were on practice squads. They took advantage of their opportunities. I know that it hasn't been perfect, no one is. They made huge plays today, turnovers, one that pretty much iced the game and the other one broke it open.

How important was it to not give up the touchdown after the Titans lost the fumble?

The defense did a great job of holding them to a field goal. That was key. We had the one drive that they're going to reflect back on. I will have to look back and see where we went off out of the half. Other than that, I thought they played great. They made them earn it. They were able to get the two turnovers.

Colts quarterback Matt Ryan had a season-best game the week prior, what went differently this week?

We communicated. I don't think we were caught off guard by their ability to work on the football. I thought the communication was there. I thought we had guys out on the field that were supposed to be out there. We made them earn it. When the quarterback was forced to hold the football, guys were getting to him and making him move around.

On tight end Austin Hooper's progression leading up to his season best game today?

Huge game. He helped us out. Where we're at right now, there has not been a whole lot of opportunities for production. We've talked about this, just the number of snaps. We clearly have appreciated what he has done and his work. Given the opportunity, that is what you have to do. You have to go make some plays. He came up huge. Ryan (Tannehill) has always had trust in him. We were just able to get him out there today. He had two really nice catches down the field. He had the third down catch, being able to cut back in and keep that drive alive, which was great.

*Was there anything that led Andrew Adams to the success he had today? *No, just some of those quick game passes it looked like he was involved in. He was down around the line of scrimmage. I will have to take a look at the film, but the interception was a great job by the players getting the check and then executing it. Bud (Dupree) being able to match the hand and the other guys, the defensive backs, Kristian (Fulton) and Andrew (Adams) being able to break on it. It was well-executed against their empty.

Was quarterback Ryan Tannehill efficient in not getting the offense in trouble and taking what the defense gave him?

That is kind of what we have to do. We have to find ways to win football games. I am really proud of the way that they did that, especially Ryan (Tannehill). We have to continue to protect him better. Nothing good comes from having your quarterback hit in this league. We know that. We will have to get back to work. His toughness is off the charts, along with a lot of other guys. I appreciate them all.

How impactful was it to have safety Amani Hooker shift into the nickel corner position?

We will take a look at the film. I'm sure there were some plays he would like to have back. I can remember a pass in particular over on their sidelines that we probably have to be a little better on and challenge. I saw him replacing, I saw him fitting on a run, I saw him playing fast. I'll try to take a look at the film. He really has a full grasp of our defense. Whether it is what the corner is supposed to do, what the safety is supposed to do, or what the nickel is supposed to do. He has a versatile skillset. He has shown that since he has been with us.

What is it like to be 4-2 with four straight wins after beginning 0-2?

We were coming off a Bye being able to get a victory after a tough week of work against an opponent that clearly showed that they weren't going to go away. I'm proud of our guys for finding ways to win and hopefully we can continue as we work our way into Houston in this division. It certainly feels good to be able to say that we have won four games in a row by, for the most part, doing things the way that we think that they need to be done right now.

What does it mean to have outside linebacker Bud Dupree back on defense?

It gives us some size and some speed. We will see how he played and take a look at it. Those are our expectations for those players that are at a certain level and a compensation level. That is how this business works. Players that you pay a lot to, they have to perform. It should come as no secret in a salary cap.

What was your reaction to that 10-yard pile push by running back Derrick Henry and the offense in the fourth quarter?

Unbelievable. I felt like that just pretty much summed up everything that we wanted to do. Good defense, good run defense, they're fast, they're big in the middle and we were close. It was great to see Derrick (Henry) bust out of there at the end. That 10-yard pile push or that run for 10 yards, you were starting to look at the clock and you were like, 'OK, it is going to be third down at the two-minute warning and then what's going to happen?' Next thing you know they keep pushing the pile. I know that those guys will be excited and hopefully there is a good picture that we can hang in the hallway.

How impressed are you with linebacker David Long Jr.'s ongoing effort?

These are guys that have played a lot of football for us. Whether it is Bud (Dupree), Jeffrey Simmons, Denico Autry, Kevin Strong, Amani Hooker, David Long Jr., we have high expectations for them. That is how it has to go. They have to tackle the guy with a ball, they have to rush, they have to cover. There is no magic defensive pill or call that is going to get all that to happen. When we win it is on them, and that we do not let them throw the ball over our heads or have X-plays, we do a good job on third down and get some turnovers. All the credit goes to the players. That is what has to happen in any professional sport, is that your front-line players have to play good for you to win. Let's make sure everybody understands that.

What is your knack for finding players who don't have teams and getting them to a place where they can contribute?

There is usually an opportunity. We try to meet with them. Whether it is Anthony Midget or Scott Booker, those two players for example, (Terrance) Mitchell and (Andrew) Adams, they meet a lot. Given the opportunity, they've tried to take advantage of it. I don't know if there's any knack other than trying to spend some time with a guy and put him in places that we feel like he can help us. Then there is also a need. There was a need because somebody is out, just that they're given an opportunity.

Being 5-0 in games following a Bye Week in your head coaching career, what do you attribute that success to?

I would look at the turnover margin. Probably they play better, and they play well. We take care of the football. I haven't looked at what those numbers are after the Bye Week, but I would start there, start with the turnover margin.

What happened with Ryan Tannehill to hurt his ankle and have him miss the one snap when quarterback Malik Willis replaced him?

I don't know. We will take a look at it. I thought it was a play that was going to help. I liked the call. We have to execute better. It has got to be better. We will continue to find ways to have Malik (Willis) help us. He didn't bat an eye going in there when Ryan (Tannehill) was down for the snap. Those are good things.

Have you gained even more appreciation for Ryan Tannehill's toughness with the amount that he has been hit these last few years?

I've said that since he's been here. That is the one thing I show the team. How many quarterbacks turn their back in this league, then turn around and throw a strike or some sort of outward breaking route with guys barreling into him, which we would like to not have. He does that. It has certainly helped us, and I've always had that appreciation for him.

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