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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 23-20 win over the Los Angeles Chargers.

Next up for the Titans is a game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

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

Big Defensive Stop

The Chargers had multiple opportunities to score once they reached Tennessee's one-yard line in the closing moments, but it didn't happen.

On the game-deciding play, linebacker Wesley Woodyard stripped the ball out of the hands of Chargers running back Melvin Gordon, and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey recovered it in the end zone.

But a lot more happened on the play, Vrabel said.

"I saw great effort, great effort by 11 guys that were determined to make a play," Vrabel said. "I saw a player (Jeffery Simmons) playing in his first NFL game knock a guy back two yards and create penetration. I saw Wood get his hand on the ball, and us able to finish it."

Jeffery Simmons

Speaking of Simmons, Vrabel told a story about his sit-down meeting with the rookie defensive tackle on Saturday morning, when he told him he felt good and wanted to play after practicing all week.

The Titans elevated Simmons to the team's 53-man roster in time for the game. He'd spent the first six weeks of the season on the team's Non-Football Injury list while coming back from the ACL injury he suffered in February.

"(He said) Coach, I'm ready, and I am confident in being able to go and play in the game," Vrabel said of Simmons. "It was up to him. It was, 'Jeff, you just have to tell me – you are cleared medically, and you have to tell us that you have the confidence to go out and play.' … I am not going to sit here and say, 'Hey, we're 2 and 4 and you're playing.' I would never do that, I would never want anyone to do that to my son. And he came in, and it was a cool thing, he was emotional to be able to recognize that dream and play in the National Football League."

Simmons, the 19th overall pick of the NFL Draft, had four tackles, including two for a loss, and a sack in his first NFL game. He played 21 snaps, and that number should go up, Vrabel said.

"It was cool for him to be able to play in his first game and be able to contribute the way he did," Vrabel said.

Henry's Production

Titans running back Derrick Henry ran for 90 yards and a touchdown on Sunday.

In seven games, Henry now has 506 yards and five scores, along with 120 receiving yards and a touchdown.

"He is running hard," Vrabel said of Henry, "and certainly is giving us a chance."

4th and Inches

Some wondered why Vrabel didn't punt it instead of going for it on 4th and inches in the final minutes.

On the play on question, Ryan Tannehill was ruled short on a sneak, although replays showed the Titans got a bad spot.

Vrabel wasn't second-guessing himself on Monday.

"We weren't able to execute on 4th and two inches," Vrabel said, "but that was the easiest decision of the season, to go for it. … I wouldn't need analytics and neither should you. We needed two inches. Philip Rivers would have had more than ample time (to drive the field)."

Vrabel said he didn't challenge the spot because he knew officials wouldn't overturn the call "because if they can't see the football on the spots, they are next to impossible to get."

Tannehill's Starting Debut

In his first start as a Titan, Tannehill completed 23-of-29 passes for 312 yards and two touchdowns, with a 120.1 rating.

Tannehill's 79.3 completion percentage (23-of-29) set a career high for games with a minimum of 20 attempts. His completion percentage also qualified (minimum 20 attempts) as the 10th-best in franchise history.

Tannehill's 120.1 passer rating ranked 10th in his eight-year career (minimum 20 attempts).

"I think he was decisive," Vrabel said. "It wasn't perfect. But he trusted (players), let plays develop.

"I think Ryan took advantage of the opportunity. He was excited to be able to lead an offensive football team and a football team."

Davis and Brown

Corey Davis had six catches for 80 yards against the Chargers.

A.J. Brown had six catches for 64 yards in the contest.

"There were some really cool shots, watching on film, of these guys going and attacking the football," Vrabel said. "The quarterback throwing it into tight coverage, and I felt like really Corey took that to heart, going and attacking the football and we're going to need that.

"Those guys, Corey and A.J., they are big players and they have strong hands. They have great hands, and strong hands. They are physical with those contested passes."

Vrabel also singled out receivers Adam Humphries and Tajae Sharpe for making plays, along with tight ends Jonnu Smith and Anthony Firkser.


Titans tight end Delanie Walker played just five snaps on Sunday, as he dealt with an issue related to his previously existing ankle injury.

Vrabel said the team's medical staff will work with Walker to get him back to better health. Walker missed practice time leading up to the game with the ankle.

"I am frustrated for (players), or disappointed for them when they can't operate and function at a level they want to," Vrabel said when asked about Walker, "whether they are sick, whether they are injured, whatever the case may be. So we'll evaluate him as we move forward and hopefully we can get him in a position where he can help us, because that's what he wants to do, and that's what we want him to do."

Asked about the chances of cornerback Adoree' Jackson, tackle Jack Conklin or guard Nate Davis practicing this week after leaving Sunday's game with injuries, Vrabel said "we'll see."

"They are all day to day," Vrabel said. "We're hopefully we'll be able to have them and work out with them."

What about Succop?

Titans kicker Ryan Succop remains on the team's Injured Reserve list.

He's not eligible to play until after the team's Week 8 game against Tampa Bay. The Titans face the Carolina Panthers in Week 9.

Vrabel said he "thinks so" when asked if he thinks Succop will be available at some point.

Succop is currently working on his kicking routine, Vrabel said.

"One thing we asked Ryan to go through yesterday was to go through a kicking workout, just like he would in a game," Vrabel said. "We're trying to get him back."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 7 of the 2019 season at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)

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