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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 34-10 win over the New England Patriots.

This Sunday, the Titans face the Colts in Indianapolis.

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

Mariota Improvement

Titans QB Marcus Mariota completed 16-of-24 passes for 228 yards and two touchdowns against the Patriots, and posted a passer rating of 125.0. He ran for 21 yards on two carries, including a 20-yard sprint.

Mariota's passing totals in the past two games – wins over the Cowboys and Patriots -- include a 69.9 completion percentage (37 of 53), 468 yards, four touchdowns, no interceptions and a 122.2 passer rating.

Vrabel said the improvement is based on a number of things.

"I think it's a lot of things," Vrabel said. "I think protection has probably been better. I think the routes have probably been better. I think his understanding of the offense, and what he is seeing is better. And I guess probably some of his health."

Derrick Henry's Day

Titans running back Derrick Henry ran for 58 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, on 11 carries.

Vrabel called Henry and tight end Jonnu Smith two of the team's players of note on offense.

"He did a good job throughout the game," Vrabel said of Henry. "It was fun to see him get it going in the goal line."

Defensive Standouts

Vrabel named defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, linebacker Brian Orakpo and cornerback Logan Ryan when asked about the players of note on defense.

"They all played very solid games, and very good games and really stuck to the plan that we talked about all week," Vrabel said. "Any time you get veteran buy-in, it makes things a lot easier as a coach at this level.

"… Not that they lit up the stat sheet – it is not always about that. It is about providing leadership, fixing things during the game, communication during the game and executing the game plan."

Special Praise for Adoree'

Vrabel called cornerback Adoree' Jackson the "player of the game."

"He played like a No.1 corner yesterday," Vrabel said of Jackson, who matched up with Patriots receiver Josh Gordon throughout the contest.

Gordon made some plays, but Jackson limited his big plays as the Titans kept New England's offense in check.

"I think he is a dynamic player who can play multiple coverages, multiple techniques," Vrabel said of Jackson. "He has helped us in the punt return game. … I think he is a good tackler, and I think he is a lot tougher than what maybe people think. He plays through pain and discomfort to make sure he is available throughout the week and on Sundays."

Vrabel said fellow cornerback Malcolm Butler also "had a much better day."

"He took care of his techniques, took care of his assignments," Vrabel said of Butler. "He understood the defense and how he fit in it. It wasn't perfect, but it was a good step for him and our defense on Sunday."

Injury Update

Titans running back David Fluellen is out for Sunday's game at Indianapolis, and he's expected to miss time in the coming weeks after suffering a knee injury.

Vrabel said "it's not an ACL." He said the Titans will monitor Fluellen's health in the coming weeks.

Receiver Taywan Taylor (foot) could return to the practice field this week after missing Sunday's game, and there's a chance he could play vs the Colts. Tackle Jack Conklin (concussion) is improving, and could return soon. Vrabel said Conklin remains in the concussion protocol, but "he is on track" and "he is feeling better."

Linebacker Derrick Morgan (shoulder) was close to playing vs. the Patriots, but Vrabel said he held him back. Morgan is expected back soon, he said.

Special Teams

The Titans had a big day on special teams against the Patriots, and it started with a 58-yard return by Darius Jennings on the opening kickoff.

Jackson also averaged 14 yards on three punt returns, punter Brett Kern averaged 48.2 yards on five punts (with a 42.2-yard net), and kicker Ryan Succop made both his field goal attempts. Meanwhile, the Titans coverage teams held the Patriots in check.

"I think that is a great role for him," Vrabel said of Jennings. "I think he's tough, he's fast. And when you have a guy like that behind you, and you are on that kickoff return unit blocking, it is amazing to watch guys strain for extra blocks because they know that the guy behind him is going 100 miles an hour and he is hitting it."

Next up: The Colts

Vrabel was asked about his plan to keep the Titans focused after Sunday's big win.

It shouldn't be hard, he said. The Colts are now 4-5, and have won three straight games.

"It should be easy for me to be able to point out everything that Indy does well," Vrabel said. "They have won three games in a row, averaging 29 points a game, haven't allowed a sack in three games. They have two running backs that average 5.3 yards a carry, or better, the punter is No.1 in the AFC in net punting, (they're) 52 percent on third down, and they have a young , fast, aggressive defense.

"So it won't be hard for me to look for clips of Indianapolis playing good football."

The Tennessee Titans take on the New England Patriots in Week 10 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)

The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the New England Patriots in Week 10 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Nov. 11, 2018 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)