NASHVILLE – Titans coach Mike Vrabel was part of a live Q & A with season ticket members on Thursday night.
Fans were able to catch up with Vrabel on the team's offseason changes and more on a video conference call that was led by Mike Keith and Amie Wells of the Titans.
Here's a look at the hot topics from the roughly 45-minute call….
-Vrabel said the Titans have started the virtual portion of the draft process. "We've met with some players on Zoom, and that process is off to a great start."
-Vrabel discussed the decision to elevate Shane Bowen from outside linebackers coach to defensive coordinator: "I think first and foremost, Shane is qualified, and he is very intelligent," Vrabel said. "I think he communicates well, and I think he has a great vision for what we want to do." Vrabel said he'll continue to be involved on defense, just like he is in all facets of the team. "Nothing is really going to change," Vrabel said. "I am still going to have an input on what I feel like is all three phases of our football team. … I like being a part of all three phases, and that won't change. Shane is now going to have the title that everybody covets."
-Vrabel had some high praise for Todd Downing, who was promoted from tights ends coach to offensive coordinator to replace Arthur Smith. "I think he has a great understanding of our offense and what we are trying to do, having really assisted Arthur as a tight ends coach but also someone who could help him. Todd has called plays before… He was a large part of what we did in the red zone, and his knowledge and his passion, and again, I think he did a great job with the (tight ends) unit that he had." Vrabel made it clear the offense, despite finishing 2nd in the NFL last season while averaging 31 ppg, needs to find ways to improve this offseason. "There were games where we didn't play very well," Vrabel said. "We have to play better against elite defenses – Chicago and Green Bay, we didn't play very well. The second Ravens game, Pittsburgh … there's some things we have to do better and I am confident that we will."
-In promoting Bowen and Downing, the team will also have continuity, which Vrabel believes is important. "The continuity is something that I always covet," Vrabel said. "We have to continue to push each other, and we have to do some things differently. … But continuity is something that I believe in. I believe in developing players, I believe in developing coaches."
-A fan asked Vrabel about the risk vs reward as it relates to free agent defensive lineman J.J. Watt: "When you go into free agency, there's a lot of things about player acquisition that go into it: What is best for your football team? Cost is also a part of it. The fit is a part of it, and then the need. … You mentioned J.J. Watt, and there will be other veteran players that become available that we'll have discussions on, and we have had discussions on J.J. Watt. … There's a lot of things that go into bringing in free agents, certainly ones that are past 30 or in the back half of their career. Those are all things that you wage and determine."
-Another fan asked Vrabel if the team would pick an offensive player on a defensive player in the first round of the NFL Draft: "Hopefully we can pick the best player. … We have to do a great job at player acquisition, whether that be our activity in free agency and then the draft."
-Vrabel was asked how the Titans will deal with decreasing salary cap: "We'll have to make some decisions, and we'll have to do it with the best interest of the Tennessee Titans in mind. Sometimes that's re-signing our own guys and sometimes players go. …. Sometimes (another team) is willing to offer them and compensate them more than what their current team is willing to, and their right is to go and do that for their family. Sometimes it works where you can re-sign your own guys as well."
-Vrabel said running back Derrick Henry "understands this offense, and this team is going to be put on his shoulders, and he is very comfortable with that." Vrabel said the Titans must find ways to help him improve, "and we have to continue to be creative with how we get him the ball, and how we run the football."
-Vrabel indicated the Titans plan to pursue all options to improve the pass rush in 2021: "It could happen really in both (free agency and the draft)," Vrabel said. "When you have needs, you are always looking to fill them in the best way, and that may be in free agency, and it could potentially be in the draft. You could find a player that you like at different parts of the draft that could help you out on the edge as well."
-Vrabel was asked if the Titans might draft a kicker in the NFL Draft: "If there's a kicker available that we like. … We have got to make more kicks. … We feel like we are going to have to address that position and see what Stephen (Gostkowski) is going to do. His contract is up, (we'll see) what he wants to do. But we're going to have to have guys in here that have competition and we want to find somebody that is going to make them."