NASHVILLE – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel held a video conference call with reporters on Wednesday, as the team progresses during the early portion of training camp.
Vrabel led off the presser addressing the absence of linebacker Vic Beasley, the team's free agent acquisition who played previously with the Falcons:
"I know there's probably a lot of questions and concerns about Vic Beasley, so I want to address where we are with that," Vrabel said. "Me personally, we are excited to see Vic when he gets here. He is not here – everybody else is. He is under contract, and we expect him to be here. I've reached out, have not had much conversation with him. We still looking forward to getting him in here and coaching him when he gets here. I want to coach him and want him to be a part of the football team. That's where I am at."
Some of the other highlights of the 20-minute call:
-Vrabel named linebacker Rashaan Evans, quarterback Logan Woodside and receiver Rashard Davis as the team's Offseason Performers of the Year.
"It was much different this year – we couldn't evaluate many guys and the effort that they put in outside of Zoom," Vrabel said. "So we just tried to give it some thought and observation throughout those meetings, guys that showed leadership and improvement through the course of our installation. Logan Woodside was one of those players that we recognized in front of the team, Rashard Davis was one of those players as well as Rashaan Evans."
Evans, a first-round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, led the Titans in tackles in 2019, and he's vowed to be a better leader this fall. Woodside, who is competing for the back-up QB spot, helped organized workouts with many of the team's receivers in Nashville this offseason. Earlier this offseason, Vrabel lauded the work of Davis, who got some playing time at the end of the 2019 season.
"I was excited to be able to offer those guys that award," Vrabel said. "And it was very well deserving."
-Vrabel gave an update on where the Titans are in different phases of camp.
All the players are lifting and running, he said. Starting on Friday, the rookies will be able to take the field with the coaches, along with quarterbacks and those who reported to camp in the first wave because of injuries.
The veterans continue to get acclimated, and after the weekend "we should have everybody on the same schedule" working into the OTAs, he said.
The first day of practice open to media is August 14. The first day of padded practices is tentatively scheduled for August 17.
-First-round pick Isaiah Wilson signed his rookie deal with the team earlier this week, the same day he was taken off of the COVID-19 list.
Now, he's on the verge of taking the field with his teammates for practices.
What does Vrabel want to see from him early?
"I want to see him being a great teammate, working hard, learning our system, learning how we do things," Vrabel said of Wilson. "(I want to see him) build a routine. Those are things he can focus on now, and once we are able to get out on the field with him continuing to work our techniques, our fundamentals, the way we are asking him to do it. And his effort level, how he plays and his willingness to finish each and every play."
-Vrabel said he's hopeful the Titans will benefit from having 10 of 11 starters back on the offensive side of the ball.
When asked about the role he'll have in making things go, he deferred to players.
"I believe that players are more important than plays," Vrabel said. "Everybody has great plays, and we sit around and draw up defenses and offenses and I think that is great. Everybody is a guru, but at the end of the day players are more important than plays, and teammates are more important than players. We have to come together as a team with new people and new players, new coaches. And, of course, we've added things in all three phases. We have to find ways to improve right now without full-speed practice reps. We have to find ways to take the meetings to the walk-throughs, and to show those techniques in a walk-through atmosphere and when were are able to get on the field, we have to transfer that to another level of speed."
-Vrabel gave an inside look at what team meetings are like in the days of COVID-19, and social distancing.
He described meetings in a way that paints a much different picture than what things have been like in the team meeting room at Saint Thomas Sports Park prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
"We've gotten used to the two (video) screens and the wireless mics and the players spread out," Vrabel said. "We have to make sure we are communicating. We ask a lot of questions, and we want players to actively participate in the meetings, so that is something we are working through. They are all wearing masks and some guys are 20 and 30 yards away, in the back. So, it is critical that I move around."
While answering a question about protocols, Vrabel mentioned there has been some conversation about players wearing a mouth shield and a visor in practices and games.