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Head Coach Mike Vrabel


What worked so well for the offense this game against a team that has bedeviled you the past three games?

Just looking at what we needed to do was get into the drive, get the first first down, how critical that was. Allow things to flow, allow the play passes to work, some of the stuff that we had schemed or game plan for them really allows that to mature and gives it a chance. We were able to run the football. We were not able to run the football against them last year and we won one-on-one. There were times where we blocked them and they pressured and Tyjae (Spears) stepped up, blocked the guy, lost his helmet. The guy must have got frustrated, hit the quarterback late. When we went out on routes, we won one-on-one. For the most part, we were able to take care of the ball and we did some great things in the red zone.

How much do you tell your guys this is how we can play when we execute on all these phases like that?

That's what we try to do and next week will be a different challenge. We go on the road in the division. But that's obviously what we're trying to do, play complementary, feed off each other, fuel each other, have a level of speed and violence to our actions. I thought there were some good extra efforts, guys blocking down the field. Nick (Westbrook-Ikhine) makes a nice play, he blocks for Derrick (Henry) and things come around, Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) comes up huge. We missed some him early on. But again, when we need a conversion or we need a play, he's been there for us. So we got everybody involved.

Once you got the lead how did that free up the defense to come after Joe Burrow?

Well, we mixed in there. I think Shane (Bowen) called a good game. Again, it's all credit to the players for keeping it in front of them and tackling. We knocked it off of him a couple of times, and that was great to see. We got the stop in the red zone when we needed it on the first drive and then really settled down after that.

Was there more play-action today?

I'm sure you guys will tell us the numbers here tomorrow. You can only run play-action when you're running the football, really. That's only going to work. So, we hit some and missed a couple others. So we'll just keep figuring it out.

How do you like the way Tim Kelly layered his offensive play-calling today?

I think all the credit goes to the players. It does. We make all this up about play callers. Give them a play and they go execute it. It's up to the players and they did a great job. That's what I'm saying.

What was the key to getting Derrick Henry going with tighter closer pitches?

Just what we're trying to do, whether we toss it back to him and work an inside zone or outside zone, gap scheme, multiple different looks that we try to give him.

How much more effective is it in the red zone when you can use the wildcat package with Derrick Henry?

Never hurts. Never hurts when you have a guy in there that can run it in. Well executed by Derrick (Henry) and Cheddar Bob (Josh Whyle).

Did you guys have a conversation about maybe switching it up after the timeout?

No. Yeah we did. We had zero—run it again. Call it again.

How much of a gamechanger was DeAndre Hopkin's 38-yard catch on third-and-three with the game tied at 3 in the first half?

Again, we've needed some conversions, we've gotten them from Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) in some big opportunities. So I know that the production will continue to come, but when we've needed a play, he's come up huge.

On the third-and-16 penalty, were they calling the hit on Ryan Tannehill or were the calling the hit on Nick Westbrook-Ikhine?

I think they called roughing the passer, right? They don't tell me anything, guys. We warned them twice for their kicker going out there and kicking in between timeouts and they warned them on the second time. I don't know. They don't tell me much.

What were you thinking on the Tyjae Spears bobble and run?

Pick it up and go make a play.

Is it pretty impressive that he can do that?

Run where they ain't. It's a guy making a play, you know what I mean? Like, I don't know. That's what this game's about. We got actions and we got responses. And Tyjae (Spears) responded, I'm sure he didn't want to drop the ball or the ball wasn't perfect or wasn't blocked great. That's what this game comes down to. That's what I try to tell them.

How did you see the offensive line respond this week in practice and today?

They showed up and worked. Not that it was perfect, but there was certainly some time to throw. I thought a good example of that was the throw to Tyjae (Spears) there on third-and-five, maybe six. Ryan (Tannehill) was able to progress. He had one-on-one with (Logan) Wilson. Ryan was able to look over after a few pumps and throw it to him and Tyjae broke a tackle and got a huge first down there. So they gave him time to progress and I thought they did a decent job in the run game.

How good was it to see some of the deeper guys on the egde, like seeing Trevis Gipson make a play like that?

Great. Yeah, I think that was cool. We had some guys playing their first time for us as Titans and he was one of them. We talked about those guys making a play. Shy(heim) Carter playing in his first NFL game. (Josh) Whyle continuing to get—gave him some more snaps today and he came through. Caleb Murphy, Colton Dowell. So it's the way it kind of shook out there today. It was good to see them all go out there and contribute.

Mike, you've scored a lot of touchdowns in your career.

Not that many.

Was your confidence in the creation and execution of that play pretty high?

It was very high. We go in there, and game plan, and look at stuff, and figure out what we want to try to run and then the players go and execute it. It's them, it's Derrick (Henry) executing in practice. To Derrick's credit, he wants to practice it until he can't get it wrong. That was well executed.

How do you like the way your guys on the back end performed? It seemed like they tackled well, no explosives.

If we can be aggressive and still make them earn it right and not have those mistakes down the field, I thought they mixed in coverages and man and zone. Just being able to swarm, stay on our feet, not let those quick game. We tipped a couple of passes, need to get some more. Holding a talented offense to three points, that's a good job. A good day's work.

How important was the ten-minute drive to start the third quarter and how crucial was time of possession and third down today?

Well, third down and red zone is going to be where the game's won. You know, it wasn't the prettiest ten-minute drive, but it certainly was very effective.

Do you wonder at all where that's been in terms of complementary football?

Not anymore, no. Every week is a challenge and I know that where it's been and what it's doing. We're trying to look at what we do well and keep doing it.

The way Azeez Al-Shaair was rushing the quarterback today, was that something you guys wanted to do coming in?

Well, we're just trying to add a backer to kind of speed up his clock a little bit and maybe get some protection on the back or free up one of those defensive linemen. May be different next week.

In what ways did the receiver step up with Treylon Burks out?

Well, Nick (Westbrook-Ikhine) and Chris (Moore), they have made plays throughout the early part of the season when called upon. Those guys work extremely hard. They play on special teams for us, they know all the receiver spots. Invaluable, versatile players. So I was happy to see them have success and they both came up with big plays today. And you saw Chris in there as a gunner, as a plus-50 gunner, knocking a ball loose. We'll have to get guys closer there the next time when we make a play. Mason (Kinsey) did a nice job catching punts. Hop (DeAndre Hopkins) came up with the plays that he needed as well.

How happy are you for Derrich Henry to pass Earl Campbell and it come in a win?

Always happy for our players when they have success and how important Derrick (Henry) is to this franchise and this team and me and everybody else. I told them tell the Buckeye, Eddie George, that Derrick's coming for him.

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