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Hot Topics from Titans Coach Mike Vrabel's Monday Presser

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel watches from the sideline during the first half of an NFL football game against the Jacksonville Jaguars Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018, in Jacksonville, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Vrabel held a press conference on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team's 9-6 win over the Jaguars.

This Sunday, the Titans will face the Philadelphia Eagles at Nissan Stadium.

Here's a look at some of the hot topics:

Emotional Coach

Vrabel sprinted off the field on Sunday after the win, following a quick handshake with Jaguars coach Doug Marrone.


"I was just excited," he said. "I wanted to be able to recognize our players. I wanted to get over there as soon as I could, in that tunnel, and see each guy as they came in. I didn't want to be late to the party.

"I wanted to get over there and I wanted to thank all those players as they came up the tunnel and just congratulate them … and thank them for their efforts."

RB Carries

Titans running back Derrick Henry picked up 57 yards on 18 carries on Sunday, while Dion Lewis had 26 yards on seven carries.

On the season, Lewis leads the team with 143 yards rushing on 39 carries, while Henry has 139 yards on 46 carries.

Vrabel sounded OK with the split so far.

"I think it is similar. I think it is good. They are both helping us, and they are both going to play – we've said that," Vrabel said. "As long as they are both helping us win, and we are trying to put both players in the best possible spot that we can, and the best position, I think we'll go with where we are now.

"If it looks like a guy is going, he's running … and he gets tired, the next guy needs to go in and we'll keep flip-flopping them around," Vrabel said.

Lewis is second on the team with nine receptions (for 50 yards) while Henry has one catch for five yards on the season.

Latest on Conklin, and Kelly

Titans right tackle Jack Conklin was among the team's inactives on Sunday despite practicing during the week.

Kelly was also inactive and missed his second straight game with an illness that hospitalized him.

"We saw (Jack) work out a little bit before the game," Vrabel said. "Hopefully we can look to get him back in some capacity and he can help us moving forward."

As for Kelly, Vrabel said he's back with the team.

"He's back in here today, seeing the doctors, working with the trainers, and working his way back in," Vrabel said. "We'll see kind of see as the week goes on where we're at with Dennis and if he'll be available."

Barfing for the Boys?

Television cameras caught Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan, um, losing his breakfast on the field in pregame warmups.

When Vrabel saw footage of it on Sunday night, he kidded him about it.

"I saw it late last night and sent him a text. I said, 'Were you puking for the boys?'" Vrabel said with a smile.

So, how did Lewan repond?

Vrabel grabbed his phone, and looked at his texts before stopping.

"There is a little bit of colorful language," said Vrabel, smiling. "Just joking. He was laughing. … That's pre-game. That's how it goes."

Game Balls?

Vrabel handed Marcus Mariota a game ball in the locker room on Sunday.

Who else received game balls?

"Wesley Woodyard was very productive, is a great leader for us," Vrabel said. "On the defensive side of the football, Jurrell (Casey) played well as a player of note. Jayon Brown is improving, and played well yesterday, is a player of note.

"Offensively, the backs played hard, got a lot of tough yardage. And special teams, LeShaun Sims was a player that really played well for us on special teams. Ryan (Succop) made three out of four kicks and was a player of note."

Calling All Fans

Vrabel recognized the fans for noise they created in the team's home opener against the Texans on September 16.

The Titans won that game 20-17, and Vrabel said he'd love to see another great atmosphere at Nissan Stadium this Sunday.

"It will be fun to play back here at home," Vrabel said, "and get our fans going. We appreciate their support in our first game … and need them out here and loud, loud on third down, and loud throughout the game.

"And we'll try and give them a great show and give them something to cheer about."

Mariota Outlook

Vrabel complimented Mariota again on Monday. Vrabel gave Mariota a game ball for his performance in the team's win over the Jaguars.

"Make no mistake – Marcus came in and won the football game," Vrabel. "We wouldn't have won the game without Marcus. It was fun to see him come in and compete for the team. … It was a great win, and we can thank Marcus for that one."

(I wrote a separate story today on the team's QB situation: CLICK HERE).

Mariota replaced an injured Blaine Gabbert in the first quarter of Sunday's game. Gabbert started the contest for the second week in a row in place of Mariota, sidelined since Week One and limited in practices because of an elbow injury, but was knocked out of the game with a concussion.

Mariota, wearing a glove with two fingers exposed, completed 12-of-18 passes for 100 yards in the contest while also running for 51 yards on seven carries. His biggest run of the game came late, when he bolted for 15 yards and a first down in the closing minutes on a third down play.

Mariota said it was the first time he'd come off the bench in a game since he was in high school.

"It's what he can handle," Vrabel said of the plan for Mariota this week. "It's what he feels like he can handle physically with his recovery, and what the trainers feel like is best for him. We'll do what's best for Marcus as he continues to come back. But we'll give him everything he can handle and he'll tell us what he can handle and what he can't physically."

Mariota acknowledged earlier in the week – and again on Sunday -- he still felt some numbness and tingling in his fingers as a result of the injury. Mariota said the whole hand is affected by the injury "but the numbness and the (tingling) is a couple of fingers. The weakness is the whole hand, and that is what I am working on."

On Monday, Vrabel acknowledged Mariota still can't make all the throws.

But Vrabel said he hopes the package might be expanded this week in practices leading up to Sunday's game vs. the Eagles.

"There's just really certain throws that he can't make right now, so we'll work our way through that, whatever that may be, and when he improves we'll be able to do some more things with him, and he'll talk with Matt (LaFleur) and figure out the best game plan for us moving forward," Vrabel said.

"I think hopefully this week the whole package will try and come back. That remains to be seen, it's Monday. So hopefully we can get more than what it was last week."

Update on Gabbert

Gabbert, who left Sunday's game after taking a blow to the head, is in the concussion protocol, and is being evaluated, Vrabel said.

"Once I get the report from the doctors, and Blaine sees the doctors, we'll have a better idea on what his availability is going to be and what it might look like," Vrabel said.

At that point, Vrabel said general manager Jon Robinson and himself will have to make a decision on where the Titans need to go with the back-up quarterback position.

Vrabel once again mentioned receiver Darius Jennings as the team's emergency quarterback, and he tossed in running back Derrick Henry's name as well. He said the Titans probably wouldn't be in a position to carry three quarterbacks on the roster heading into game day, but he didn't rule it out.

If another quarterback is needed, the Titans would consider all options, Vrabel said. Quarterback Logan Woodside, on the team's practice squad, is "in the conversation," Vrabel said.

"We'll continue to evaluate where we're at with that position, and seeing how much he can handle," Vrabel said. "Whether we look to bring in a veteran guy, or we look to move forward with Logan on the practice squad (is to be determined)."

What About Adoree'?

Titans cornerback Adoree' Jackson also left Sunday's game with a concussion, and didn't return.

He's in the concussion protocol as well.

"He'll be evaluated on a case by case basis," Vrabel said. "And we'll see where he's at when he sees the doctors and works through that protocol. When they tell us he's available then we'll make a decision moving forward to see if we can use him or not."

Take a look at the best photos from Tennessee's 9-6 victory at Jacksonville on Sunday, Sept. 23, 2018 at TIAA Bank Field. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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