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 21-0 loss to the Ravens.

This Sunday, the Titans face the Chargers in London.

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

Issues on Offense

The Titans haven't scored a touchdown in the past two games, and in three of six games this season.

Vrabel said the turnovers cost the team in a 13-12 loss to the Bills, and said the flow of the game was interrupted on Sunday vs. Baltimore because the Titans couldn't get off the field on defense on third down, and the offense made things difficult because of penalties and sacks.

The Titans managed just seven first downs and 106 yards of offense on Sunday.

Vrabel said the Titans need to improve in the running game. On Sunday, the team ran for 55 yards, but a big part of the problem is the team ran the ball just 14 times, and it couldn't commit to it.

Vrabel said the Titans receivers needed to be more physical against a Baltimore secondary that's known for being physical. When asked what he'd like for the team's offensive identity to be, Vrabel said the offense needs to be more efficient, sound, and physical.

"We're going to continue to work and develop, and we have to get better in all phases of our team," Vrabel said.

Protection Plan?

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was sacked 11 times in Sunday's game.

Vrabel said the Titans have to keep games close to keep defenses from being able to come after the quarterback. Vrabel gave the Ravens credit for being good on defense.

But he said the Titans have to do a better job in protecting Mariota, while noting he could do things to avoid the sacks himself. Vrabel said the Titans had too many breakdowns in protection, and a lot of the damage came inside.

"Sometimes the ball has to get out, and we have to block better," Vrabel said. "It's a lot of both. There's times where we have to do a better job of stepping up, and there's times where we have to do a better job of blocking and giving the quarterback a chance. It all goes hand in hand. Nobody is at fault, except for me, and then down to the coaches and to the players. We'll coach it better, and we have to execute in better."

When asked of Mariota got a little gun-shy when facing pressure, Vrabel shifted his answer to the entire team.

"I think that we all got a little gun-shy," he said. "That would be defensively, that would be the guy calling the game, and that would be the players.

"When a team is able to convert third downs, and they are able to force you into three-and-outs and force you into really not playing good football, everybody stands around and kind of wondering. And at that point somebody has to go out and do their job, make a play and try and change the momentum of the game."

"0 and 0"

Six games into the season, the Titans are 3-3, tied for first in the AFC South with the Jaguars and Texans.

While Vrabel isn't happy with what he's seen in recent weeks, he knows the team's goals are attainable.

"We are 0 and 0," Vrabel said. "In my mind, in this team's mind, we are 0 and 0 and we are in the same place we were when we got on the plane and went to Miami (for the season opener). We have to improve.

"We have a logjam in our division and we have to get on a plane and we have to go to London and we have to play a tough opponent and we have to win. We have to find a way to win.

"We're 3 and 3. So we're in the same place that the Jaguars are, and we're in the same place that the Texans are. Now, what we do from this point on and the 48 hours after that game are going to be critical to how we play going forward."


Titans linebacker Derrick Morgan is expected to miss "a few weeks" with a shoulder injury.

"That's unfortunate," Vrabel said. "He'll be out for a little bit."

Guard Quinton Spain is "day to day," Vrabel said, and the team hopes to get him back this week.

The good news is linebacker Wesley Woodyard, who has missed the last two games, is expected to return this week.

Vrabel said he was pleased with what he saw from rookie linebacker Rashaan Evans, who has seen his snaps increase in recent weeks with Woodyard sidelined.

Tackle Dennis Kelly was active and in uniform, but he didn't play on Sunday. Vrabel said he was available if the team needed him.

Butler Critique

Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler gave up a touchdown pass to Ravens receiver Michael Crabtree on Sunday, and he's been victimized on several deep balls this season.

Vrabel was asked about his evaluation of Butler's performance.

"Malcolm plays extremely hard," Vrabel said. "It is not about effort, it is about technique. When you give up a pass – anything that has to do with eyes. … You have to know where to look."

Vrabel the Titans can do a better job of coaching when discussing whether he expects him to improve.

London Trip

The Titans are scheduled to practice in Nashville on Wednesday and Thursday before traveling to London to face the Los Angeles Chargers on Sunday.

Vrabel said he's talked to other coaches about the best way to handle the trip, from when the team would arrive and when it would practice during the week. He called it a "unique situation."

The Chargers are coming off a 38-14 win over the Browns, and they're 4-2.

"As soon as we walk away from (this press conference), we'll have to go back to getting ready for the Chargers, who ran for 240 yards against the Browns," Vrabel said. "I'm sure they'll be licking their chops to get a piece of us right now, so we'll have to improve quickly."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Baltimore Ravens in Week 6 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Oct. 14, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

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