Head Coach Mike Vrabel


How do you feel about a five-game winning streak and a three-game lead in the division?

"Just trying to separate ourselves right now with the opportunities that we have by playing division opponents. It's not going to get easier. We told the guys, we won one game in a row five times. That's all we've done. It's going to be a new challenge, a bigger challenge, coming in this week, we're going on road."

What can you say about DT Jeffery Simmons and how he dominated today?

"Just some of these guys, again, whether it's Jeffrey or Ben (Jones) or the ability for Derrick (Henry) to continue to show up week in and week out and prepare in the off-season, there is a lot of guys. Certainly Jeff's performance, attitude, leadership, he's a large part of our team. I appreciate who he is as a person, as a father and as a teammate."

Did the game go on script in terms of not asking a lot of QB Malik Willis and letting RB Derrick Henry and the defense roll?

"Malik, first NFL start on the road, crowd noise, all those things. We tried what we felt like gave us the best chance to win the football game. That is going to change each and every week."

Without your starting quarterback, is today when you challenge everybody to do more?

"I think instead of doing more, maybe do our jobs a little better and make the plays we're supposed to make, not think that we have to somehow win the game by ourselves. I think that hopefully we didn't try to do that and try to do somebody else's job. We just need to do our job a little bit better."

Your team is proud of running the football and defense. The idea that you shut them down the way you did in the second half and only needed to throw once, is that your quintessential identity?

"I think that we continue to figure out who we are. I think we have. That's going to have to change and modify. But I think the guys that have embraced it, there are a lot of examples that will be easy for me to coach from, whether that be penalties, operation, not getting enough turnovers, not taking care of the football on the punt return and the interception there. There will be a lot of things to coach. My job is to continue to coach them, demand a lot of them, get better and find ways to improve."

The identity has seemed to stay the same now for a number of years. Do you feel like you're getting back to what you expect of your team?

"When you give up 200 yards rushing in the first week of the season, and I know that's a long time ago, we still believe that we know how to stop the run. We feel like we know how to run it. They were coming in, running the football. We gave up a few that I think we probably shouldn't have, but we stood up to the challenge of stopping the run and making them earn it. It could have been a really, really special performance had we been able to get a stop there at the end. You got to do it each and every week, and we'll have to go on the road and do it in primetime on the road in a hostile environment."

Two turnovers in the first half, but they went backwards 13 yards both times. How big was that?

"I mean, huge. I think they're starting to get some confidence and starting to get better. Kristian Fulton is out there challenging and tackling. When you have corners that can match really good receivers in this league, but also are willing to tackle, now you're starting to look at a pretty quality player. We demand a lot, try to push Kristian. I know Coach Midget does the same and Shane (Bowen), and just to try not to be a guy that just covers. You see him showing up. Andrew Adams is getting better. Got some performances from some guys inside, and it's good to have Zach (Cunningham) back and David Long, all of them. I think they're starting to build some confidence in what we're doing, but it will be a huge challenge next week."

How do you think QB Malik Willis handled the week and how did he do today?

"I thought it got better. Today, there were some good things and some things that, if he's quarterback for us next week, that we'll have to be better at. But that will be about the same for everybody."

What are your thoughts on the offensive line and the blocking for RB Derrick Henry today?

"I think that's another group starting to build some confidence, and how we finished the game against the Colts may have a lot to do with that. We saw a lot of pressure in the second half and a lot of moving parts. For the most part, they stood up and got Derrick going, got him into the second level and great to see those guys doing that."

What can you say about RB Derrick Henry's performance today?

"I think we've come to expect that from him. He puts so much on himself. We all have to find ways, something good, bad, or ugly happens to get back to center, get back to work. Derrick, he expects more of himself than anybody on this football team or any coaching member would, so I'm glad we have him."

RB Derrick Henry passed Eddie George today for most touchdowns in a career by a Titan. As a coach, do you get excited about an accomplishment like that for one of your players?

"Sure. I mean, I come to work every day with Derrick, and Valentina and Adrianna were at the kids' Christmas party. Of course I do. You get to know these guys, spend a lot time with them. This is our fifth year being together – good times, bad times, frustrations, kids being born. There are a lot things that go on over the course of five years that I've had the luxury of making connections with these guys that have been here since I got here."

This team overcame a lot of adversity last season and faced a challenge today. Do you think what you were able to do today builds off what this team has done in the past?

"I think every situation is different. You have to see what the situation is, who is available, who you're playing, try to come up with a plan that you can communicate and teach to the players. It'll be no different this week. Todd (Downing) will say who is available and who's not, and we'll go from there. We try to make sure that everybody come to work believing in the same things that we believe in around here and understand that they practice and prepare as a starter. If they're not, then they go on to the next week, and sometimes they are and they get called up. Whether that's Chris Conley or Murch (Larrell Murchison) or any of these guys who came up today. Logan (Woodside) was prepared to go in there if he had to."

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