Head Coach Mike Vrabel


Sunday, Oct. 18, 2020

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Q. Mike, your team just keeps finding new ways to win games. This went a little tighter than you would like, but like to see you pull a win out.

MIKE VRABEL: Give them a lot of the credit. We were in this position last year. Got up 14-nothing at halftime. They were down 11. We didn't play well enough in the third quarter. Too many mistakes on both sides of the ball to have to put us in that position. Again, give them a lot of credit. They have a talented team and they played extremely hard and well today.

But I give our guys credit. I give our guys credit for fighting, being tuned into the situation. Guys stepping up when I they have to. Taking advantage of the opportunities all throughout our team. And we'll continue to work and continue to get better.

Q. You had a lot of guys play well. Running back really was impressive. What did you think about Derrick on the long touchdown run and what he was able to do at the end?

MIKE VRABEL: I mean, just obviously we all witnessed somebody taking a game over when we had it, and then we tried to throw the play-action down there and I thought he made a great catch. That's something that he's been practicing and working on with Tony. It's looking back, maybe turning his body, getting back to the quarterback, and Ryan gave him a good ball. That was a huge play there in overtime.

He put us on his back and carried us. Again, the carries, what Jeremy was able to have, I think helped Derrick as well.

Q. Do you feel like in some ways, every challenge that's put in front of this offense, it somehow finds a way to step up when necessary.

MIKE VRABEL: Yeah, I think they're just prepared for whatever situation comes up. You know, we can't ever guarantee what situations are going to happen, what front they're going to play, what coverages, so it's a continual process of just being ready for situations as they come up throughout the game.

And obviously we would've loved to get some stops. I don't know, they went for fourth-and-goal on the one both times. I thought we played well, just not well enough. But there will be some things we'll have to clean up in all three phases.

Q. The Simmons sack and the Henry touchdown certainly seemed to take everything back. How big a combination play from maybe two of your best guys?

MIKE VRABEL: Sure. I think that in this league your best players have to play, good players have to play great for us to win each and every week. So hopefully we'll continue to get him prepared. It was great to have Jeff back. Means a lot to him, this game means a lot to him.

And then Derrick, when you just keep giving him opportunities, just cool to see him have some success. You know, I think the expectations are probably a little high throughout the league, whatever it may be, about Derrick. They think every time he's going to touch the ball it's going to be a 30-yard gain.

But it was great to see him have that success today.

Q. What's the thinking with Ty Sambrailo alone on Watt?

MIKE VRABEL: There are some times we have to make some decisions. You know, certainly we'll have to address those. And, again, I think Ty comes in there and does a nice job for us. We're sure lucky to have him. He's one of those guys that takes advantage of the situation. We'll continue to work and make sure that we're trying to find ways to help people where they need help.

Q. Just how much confidence do you and the rest of the team have in both Derrick and Ryan no matter the situation to make those key clutch plays late in games?

MIKE VRABEL: Well, it takes -- you have to have done it with some consistency to be able to build that kind of confidence. So I think that there are times in all three phases where we start to do that, build that confidence, and we'll have to continue to do that. We've got to get our bodies rested. This was a tough turnaround for a team that was clearly ready and they played well.

Again, I give our guys credit. All credit goes to the players. I'll have to do a better job of continuing to coach in all three phases.

Q. Derrick Henry was clocked at 21.6 miles per hour on that run, 94 yard touchdown. Have you ever seen a guy that big and fast, and you've seen a lot of the football?

MIKE VRABEL: No, not with a football in his hand. You know, again, I think the best thing was that he was able to lower his target on the stiff arm, something we've been working with him about, people coming at his legs. I hope we got a good picture of it, Stretch can find one, where he's taking his hand down in the helmet that's coming at his knee to be able to fend them off and able have the speed to pull away from DBs.

Q. Is Ryan checking into a run on that Derrick Henry 94-yarder?

MIKE VRABEL: You know, Ryan has a lot of flexibility at the line of scrimmage, but there are times where he checks in and out of plays that we give him. You know, there are a lot of things. He could be moving things around and doing different things.

Q. I noticed that AJ was not in early on the last drive that sent it into overtime. Were you just trying to preserve his legs and have some faster guys out there that were healthier and put him in once you got close to the goal line?

MIKE VRABEL: Just trying to manage the situation and where each and every guy is based on their level of fatigue. It's a long game. Really just making sure that guys are ready to go.

Q. Mike, just wondering what you see when you're watching a drive like Ryan had to tie the game at the end? I think he completed eight passes in 106 seconds and gets up there when it's a scramble at the end and throws a good ball for the touchdown. What are you seeing from your quarterback?

MIKE VRABEL: Just a control and a calmness. These are … this is how we try to practice. We have done that. We moved quickly. Moved efficiently. It's not just the quarterback. It's everybody getting set, getting aligned, getting the call in quickly, getting the receivers set, the linemen set. These guys are back there blocking sometimes and don't know and they're turning around and spreading the line of scrimmage and try to put a lot of pressure on the defense moving that quickly.

Then guys coming through. I thought there were some great catches along that drive as well. It's a testament to the entire team, most importantly the players.

Q. Will Fuller's touchdown. What went wrong on that this play?

MIKE VRABEL: A lot. They scored a long touchdown. Not very good coaching, playing, not very good execution. That's usually my response again to anything that isn't up to our standards. We have to do a better job coaching and teaching it, and then we'll have to execute better.

Q. Mike, I'll play the Debbie Downer guy here. I guess on the other side of the ball, defensively are you concerned that eventually it might catch up to you if the offense doesn't score 30, 40 points a game? What are your concerns on that side of the ball?

MIKE VRABEL: I think we just have to continue to play better in all three phases. Get better, communicate better, practice better, play better. That's what we're trying to do in all three phases.

And you don't ever have to preface anything by being Debbie Downer. We're all going to try to get better, and we knew this was going to be a tough game.

I think defensively I would say that there is a lot of positives and then there is just unfortunately some uncharacteristic X-plays that might kind of overshadow a lot of the stuff is that good and positive that we have to continue to build on and do, and then eliminate the other stuff that we always talk about gets you beat. Thank you, guys.

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