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Hot Topics from Titans coach Mike Vrabel's Press Conference


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – One of the most talked about plays from Saturday's preseason game against the Steelers was an incomplete pass from quarterback Marcus Mariota to receiver Corey Davis.

On the play in question, Mariota and Davis both accepted blame after the game. Mariota said when the defense blew a coverage, Davis adjusted the pattern because he was thinking "home run," and he should have been thinking the same thing as well.

Instead, the third down, first quarter pass landed short of Davis, and the ball fell incomplete.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel pointed the blame elsewhere – at himself.

"Everything falls on me," Vrabel said. "That's it. I've got to make sure Marcus understand where Corey is going to be. 'If you're uncovered, here's where we're going to be.' The most important thing is that Marcus and Corey are on the same page. So up until this point, I haven't done a good enough job of making sure both of those guys know where each other is going to be on every single route. I'll make sure that that happens."

With more games plays, Vrabel believes Mariota and Davis should gain an even better understanding about each other.

"We have to make sure that happens sooner rather than later," Vrabel said. "It is important that Corey and Marcus are on the same page."

Some of the other hot topics discussed during Sunday's presser:

Starters vs Vikings?

Mariota played just 19 snaps against the Steelers, and the first team offense played four series.

Defensively, the starters were on the field three series.

So how much will the front-line guys play in the preseason finale on Thursday against the Vikings?

"My thoughts right now are just try to evaluate who is healthy, who will be available and then we'll make a decision later on in the week as to what we feel is best for the team," Vrabel said, "and just trying to evaluate where guys are health-wise."

A dozen players didn't make the trip to Pittsburgh, and those players will be evaluated this week as well, Vrabel said.

Ups and downs

The Titans lost 16-6 to the Steelers on a day when the offense never really got in sync.

Defensively, Vrabel said he saw some positive signs despite allowing an early touchdown.

"I thought we played the run well, and were square," Vrabel said. "We set good edges, had single-digit missed tackles. I think when you do that you have a chance to be successful."

Vrabel said the Titans covered well for the most part, but thinks cornerback Adoree' Jackson might be kicking himself for allowing a deep ball that went for a touchdown.

Vrabel liked the fourth down stop, and the interception by linebacker Robert Spillane.

"Offensively we just have to continue to build the trust and confidence in each other," Vrabel said. "We were able to throw the ball -- Blaine (Gabbert) I thought threw the ball well, and it was good to see Anthony (Firkser) catch the football. (Devin) Ross had some good plays."

Vrabel said the Steelers gave the Titans first team offensive line some trouble. He said the team needs to improve on some of the pressures the Steelers presented in the game.

Jayon Brown call

Titans linebacker Jayon Brown was flagged for hitting a defenseless player when making a tackle against the Steelers.

Vrabel said the team turned the call into the league to review. He wondered if Brown violated the NFL's "lowering the head to initiate contact" rule instead.

"Clearly he can't put his head down like that," Vrabel said of Brown. "I'm trying to work through this clarification. … Jayon has to do a better job keeping his head up and playing with his eyes up and seeing what he is hitting. There's just some things we ask every week. We ask them to review plays and get feedback."

Firkser performance

Tight end Anthony Firkser led the Titans with five catches for 68 yards against the Steelers, and he scored on a three-yard touchdown catch.

Vrabel said the Harvard grab did some nice things.

"I think anybody that goes out there and executes in the game helps their case," Vrabel said. "He was able to get some chunk plays down the field, get open, catch the ball, move forward, take care of it.

"He's done that since he's been here, and it's nice to see that carry over into the games."

Roster cuts, numbers game

By next Saturday, the Titans must trim the roster from 90 to 53 players.

Some of the decisions will be impacted by health.

Vrabel was asked about the numbers game at each position, and trying to decide how many players to keep at each spot. He talked about his regular discussions with Titans general manager Jon Robinson.

"We are looking for the best players, but I think you try and figure out what the roster is going to look like," Vrabel said. "Jon and I discuss that most every day, where we see it shaking out, who can help us on fourth down. There's a lot of factors that go into extra guys at what normally, traditionally would be X amount at this position, where do you basically 'rob Peter to pay Paul' discussion that him and I have and will continue to have this week."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 of the preseason on Saturday, Aug. 25, 2018 at Heinz Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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