Hot Topics from Titans Coach Mike Vrabel's Monday Presser


NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Vrabel held a press conference on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team's 38-10 loss to the Colts.

Next Monday, the Titans face the Texans in Houston.

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

The Message

Vrabel isn't happy with his team's performance in Sunday's loss.

But he reminded his players the lopsided loss counts the same in the standings as the one-point losses to the Bills and Chargers earlier in the season.

"They may feel differently, but at the end of the day they all mean, and they all add up, to the same thing," Vrabel said. "We are 5-5, and we have a great opportunity to go to Houston and compete against a team that's won seven games in a row.

"We can't sit there and be so down and so negative that we can't come back and play. … We have to move forward. The season is not over."

Vrabel circled back at the end of the presser to hammer the point home.

"We are not dead – we're 5 and 5," Vrabel said. "We are still in this race, as bad as it was (on Sunday) – and it was bad. Put it all on me. I've lost five games, and the players have won five. I have to do a better job of not losing them, and they have to do a better job of losing them."


Before Sunday's loss, the Titans had beaten the Cowboys and Patriots in back-to-back games.

Earlier this season, the Titans beat the division leading Texans, and the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles.

The team has also turned duds versus Buffalo, Baltimore and now Indianapolis.

"Not consistent enough," Vrabel said. "I've tried to point all the good, and I've tried to point all the bad, and tried to eliminate the things that get you beat. A lot of those things that get you beat showed up (on Sunday)."

Mariota Update

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota's status for next Monday's game against the Texans will be determined during the course of the week, Vrabel said.

Mariota left the Sunday's game vs. the Colts with what was announced an elbow injury, and he did not return.

Vrabel shed further light on the injury during the press conference today.

"He is getting treatment, and it's really not even the elbow," Vrabel said. "He got a stinger. When the guy hit him in the head, he got a stinger. So then he was evaluated by the independent neurologist, and he was cleared. He is not in the concussion protocol or anything like that. So we'll have to see where he's at. It may include, like a lot of injuries, getting a second opinion and making sure he is OK to play."

The Titans return to practice on Wednesday as preparation for Monday's game in Houston heats up.

"I am hopeful -- we saw him this morning and we are hopeful that he'll check out and he'll feel good enough to play on Monday," Vrabel said. "But being less than 24 hours after the game, some of these things take a little bit of time to kind of cool down and really just treat and diagnose.

"We just have to make sure that he is healthy enough to play, and if he is not then we have to make sure that we get somebody in here. But again, we just have to give this thing another day, and make sure that the doctors that are seeing him, and Marcus, and whether he gets a second opinion or not – all those things take a little bit of time and hopefully we can know sometime tomorrow before we start moving into Wednesday."

Encouraging News on Pees

Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees is returning to Nashville on Monday, and the team is encouraged by the news it's received in the past 24 hours.

Pees left Sunday's Titans-Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium with a "medical issue," and he remained in an Indianapolis hospital overnight for tests. Vrabel on Monday said "everything that would be really worrisome has been ruled out from the neurologists in Indy."

"All the tests came back very positive, and Dean will be able to probably on his way home from Indy, probably as we speak now, and is wife is with him, so that's good," Vrabel said. "I want to thank (Colts GM) Chris Ballard and the Colts organization – they went over and checked on him as we were getting on the plane last night. I thought that was a really classy move.

"So it looks like he'll be headed back."

Pees left the press box in the first quarter in a wheelchair. Vrabel said he called the defense the rest of the day.

Vrabel said his challenge now will be to keep Pees from working too much, too soon. He expects him back coaching again, he said.

"Dean loves this team, he loves his players," Vrabel said. "He wants to come in – he is not coming in today. He is going to go home and rest. I told him to work banker's hours for the rest of the week – come in at 9, and make sure you are out of here at 5 o'clock. But I do see him coming back shortly. But I want to make sure he is getting plenty of rest, and we are not rushing anything. We do have an extra day with the Monday night game.

"We'll help him (in preparation). I feel confident in the guys we have here. I'll be in there, and I am in there a lot as it is. I don't think it is going to be anything different. I sit in there with those guys all the time. And I think when Dean feels good enough to be here an extended amount of time – he'll be here plenty. We'll make sure he has everything he needs at home. … He is trying to come in this afternoon, and we have the security guards are making sure he doesn't come in here."

Jack Conklin

Vrabel was asked about tackle Jack Conklin, and whether he's performed up to expectations.

Vrabel said Conklin missing reps hurt him, and said he's continued to work on things coming off the ACL.

"But I thought he was better to start the game yesterday, and I think he'll continue to improve," Vrabel said. "We just have to all play better."

Vrabel said the Titans have talked about different combinations on the offensive line. He said Dennis Kelly is capable of playing guard, if needed.

As for protection on Sunday, when Mariota was sacked four times, he spread the blame around the offense.

The Tennessee Titans take on the Indianapolis Colts in Week 11 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Nov. 18, 2018 at Lucas Oil Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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