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Hot Topics from Titans Coach Mike Vrabel's Monday Presser


NASHVILLE – Titans coach Mike Vrabel held a press conference on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team's 18-6 preseason loss to the Steelers.

The Titans will face the Chicago Bears in the preseason finale on Thursday in Chicago.

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

Pass Protection

The Titans surrendered seven sacks against the Steelers, including a sack of quarterback Marcus Mariota that resulted in a safety.

Back-up quarterback Ryan Tannehill was sacked three times, and QB Logan Woodside was sacked once.

Vrabel said the issues were across the board, from the offensive linemen to the quarterbacks to the running backs to the receivers to the tight ends.

"I hope that we can get them fixed – that's why we coach, that's why we practice, that's why we try to instruct the guys so that everybody is on the same page," Vrabel said. "And I really do mean this is all 11 guys that are on the field – first group, second group, third group, coaches. It's a collective effort … and it is never going to be one person."

Harold Landry

Titans edge rusher Harold Landry hasn't played in the preseason, and he hasn't practiced since the team's work against the Patriots leading up to an August 17 preseason game.

Vrabel indicated Landry could return this week.

"Harold has continued to work himself back," Vrabel said, "and I would imagine that we'd see him this week. And we'll get him out there and get him ready to go. We're trying to get everybody ready for the season the best that we can."

Starters vs. Bears?

The Titans have a short turnaround before playing again in the preseason, with another game now just three days away.

Vrabel wouldn't commit to playing time for the Titans starters vs. the Bears. He did say, however, his thought process against Chicago won't be impacted by what happened on Sunday night. Across the NFL, teams rarely play many of their starters in the preseason finale.

"I'll probably keep it to the originally plan," Vrabel said. "There will be some guys we play, and some guys we don't. I'm going to meet with (the trainer) here and see how guys are health-wise and go from there."

Starting Offensive Line?

Leading up to Sunday's game vs. the Steelers, Vrabel indicated the team would likely decide on its starting offensive line after the game.

Vrabel didn't commit on Monday, saying the team is working through those decisions.

The starting o-line on Sunday night looked like this: LT Dennis Kelly, LG Rodger Saffold, C Ben Jones, RG Kevin Pamphile, RT Jack Conklin.

Vrabel was asked about the potential of Corey Levin playing center, with Jones bumping to guard, or vice versa.

"We're always looking for the combination that gives us the best chance to succeed," Vrabel said. "We'll continue to look at that this week. That's part of my job, (OC) Arthur Smith's job, (o-line coach) Keith Carter's job, everybody's job, to find where guys are best for the team and for themselves."

Vrabel said "we're going to wait" when asked about naming the starting o-line for the regular season opener vs. the Browns. Asked specifically about Pamphile, Vrabel said he's done some good things, but "there's some things he has to improve on."

"We're going to continue to prepare and get guys in there and get some sort of rotation that we feel like we can go into the season with and be successful," Vrabel said. "We are still working through the roster, we're working through lineups. We have another week of preseason left."

Return Game

Vrabel indicated on Sunday night the team plans to continue working with Adam Humphries and Adoree' Jackson at punt returner.

Jackson was a popular topic on Monday following a night when he opted to let a couple of punts drop without fielding them near the end zone. One of the punts was downed at the four-yard line, which set up a safety when Mariota was sacked in the end zone.

Vrabel wasn't critical of Jackson for his decision-making. He listed a bunch of factors the team looks for in coaching players to make the right decisions.

"I think everybody used to say you put your heels on the eight-yard line and make a decision," Vrabel said. "We want to try to make sure that we are giving ourselves the best chance to field them, and not get the ball downed inside the five-yard line. That's why you have to keep teaching these guys."

Roster Decisions

The Titans currently have 90 players on their roster, and by Saturday, the team must be down to 53 players.

Roster cuts are looming, and players know it. But they have to stay focused, Vrabel said.

"I think everybody realizes there are some spots on this roster – there are certain guys who are going to be on this football team, and there's certain positions where some guys are competing," Vrabel said. "There's a lot of positions that are open based on special teams value and versatility."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 3 of the Preseason Sunday night at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page, AP)

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