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Hot Topics from Titans Coach Mike Vrabel's Monday Presser


NASHVILLE – Titans coach Mike Vrabel held a video conference call on Monday, one day after the team's 27-24 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Next up for the Titans is a game against the Bengals on Sunday in Cincinnati.

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

The Day After

The Titans fell behind 27-7 on Sunday before rallying, but in the end it wasn't enough.

On Monday, coaches were making corrections, and looking ahead.

"You're either going to learn from winning, and get better, or learn from losing," Vrabel said. "We lost yesterday, and we didn't do enough in the end and got off to a slow start and spotted them too much. So hopefully we can make some corrections and continue to improve."

Vrabel said he likes the resiliency shown by his club, but he made it clear he wasn't happy with plenty.

"Nobody played well enough or coached well enough yesterday … because we lost," Vrabel said. "I would say everybody did some good things, and unfortunately we didn't do enough of them. Hopefully we can start stringing some of these positive plays together and the consistency can continue, not just have it be 70 percent good plays and 30 percent bad, with big plays, and missed tackles and missed blocks, dropped passes, poor protection. All three phases we just have to be more consistent."

Third Down Defense

It seems like third down defense has been a topic every week, and once again it's front and center when it comes to issues in need of repair.

The Titans allowed the Steelers to convert 13-of-18 (72.2 percent) on third down Sunday, and on the season the Titans are allowing opponents to convert 61 percent of the time.

Vrabel said the Titans have to help one another on the field, from the pass rush to play in the secondary.

"It all has to be tied together," Vrabel said. "We have to have 11 guys executing. We have to coach it better, and we have to execute it better. … We have to make sure we are all on the same page, that we are coaching as well as we can, and that we are executing better."

What's Up with Adoree?

Titans cornerback Adoree' Jackson returned to practice last week, but he didn't play on Sunday.

Jackson remains on the 'Designated for Return' list, but he hasn't been activated from Injured Reserve.

Will he be back for the Bengals?

"I think he just wasn't (ready)," Vrabel said. "Hopefully the extra week will give him an advantage to be able to be with us. We'll see how that goes throughout the week, and what it looks like when we practice on Wednesday."

Sambrailo Praise

The Titans placed Taylor Lewan on Injured Reserve last week, and moved Ty Sambrailo into the starting lineup at left tackle against the Steelers.

Vrabel complimented Sambrailo for his play a day after the Steelers managed just two sacks, with none of them Sambrailo's responsibility. The Steelers recorded 24 sacks in the first five games of the season.

"I appreciate what he did, and how he played," Vrabel said of Sambrailo. "He has played throughout the course of the year at different times, which probably got him ready for that. If we get that type of play from Ty going forward, that would be a huge positive."

Faith in Gostkowski

Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski missed a 45-yard field goal in the closing minutes on Sunday.

On the season, Gostkowski has made three game-winning kicks, but he's also just 10-of-16, along with missing a pair of extra points.

Vrabel gave him a vote of confidence on Monday.

"I thought he struck (the ball) well (on Sunday), and hammered the 51-yarder," Vrabel. "He came back and unfortunately that one at the end there, kind of leaked out of there. But we have a lot of confidence in Steve, and he'd been hitting the ball well. Just, unfortunately, didn't make it."

Special Teams Issues

In addition to Gostkowski missing the kick that would have sent the game into overtime, the Titans also botched a punt following a low snap (which resulted in an incomplete pass by punter Brett Kern), and returner Kalif Raymond mishandled a kickoff that backed up the Titans. Steelers return man Ray-Ray McCloud returned a punt for 57 yards, and the Titans also hurt themselves with a penalty.

While there was some good – Kern averaged 60.5 yards, and Gostkowski's 51-yard kick – the bad hurt and Vrabel knows it.

"That wasn't anything near where we could play on special teams," Vrabel said. "I thought that coming off the Bills and even some positive plays we had against the Texans, that wasn't anything near where we need to be from a special teams unit. It has to be better, and it has to improve. … We have to be better on special teams – we have to be better coaching it and we have to be better executing."

Next Up: Bengals

The Titans travel to Cincinnati on Sunday, and it will be the team's first road game in over a month.

Bengals quarterback Joe Burrow, the No.1 pick of the 2020 NFL Draft, has already thrown for 2,023 yards and nine touchdowns in seven games.

The Bengals are 1-5-1, and they're coming off a 37-34 loss to the Browns. Four of Cincinnati's five losses have been by five points or less.

"They're talented, they have really good receivers," Vrabel said of the Bengals. "We have to go back on the road – we haven't been on the road in a while. So obviously it is a new opponent to prepare for, somebody that we haven't faced, so we'll have to put a lot of work in and continue the focus of improving."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in Week 7 at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)

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