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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 42-36 overtime win over Houston Texans.

Next up for the Titans is a game against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

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

Consistency Needed on Defense

The Titans have allowed 30 points or more in three of the team's five wins, and opposing teams continue to have way too much success against the Titans on third down.

The Texans converted 7-of-14 vs the Titans on third down, and on the season the Titans are allowing opponents to convert 57.8 percent of the time – that's last in the NFL.

The Titans are currently ranked 27th in the NFL in yards allowed, and ranked 15th in the NFL in points allowed.

"I just would like to get back to a level of consistency and I think that's probably the thing that's hurt us the most is too many positive plays, too many good plays," Vrabel said. "Six stops inside the two-yard line or whatever it is, and then the two that they score on fourth down, or the positive third-down plays that looks like it's coordinated and it's run well and it's executed well, and then the x-plays that there's not a level of communication or execution. I think that's probably the biggest thing, is the consistency. I felt like we stopped the run, but then late in the game they run the ball a few times there in four-minute. I just think that's the biggest thing is we have to just be more consistent. There are too many good plays in there to get overshadowed by the bad ones."

What About Adoree'?

Titans cornerback Adoree' Jackson remains on Injured Reserve, where he's been since the start of the season because of a knee injury he suffered the week before the opener.

Jackson worked on a side field last week.

Is he close to returning?

"Adoree' is working his way back," Vrabel said. "Hopefully we'll see where he is on Wednesday. He did some work today with the trainers and so we'll see how he recovers, and hopefully he can transition to doing some stuff on Wednesday, and if he does we'll see where he's at. We'll see how he responds, see how he feels tomorrow and maybe we can try to get him back and we'll see how he feels, but he hasn't practiced in a while. It'll be important to see what the what the fatigue's like and how he responds to a little bit more work."

12 Men on the Field

The Titans were penalized for having 12 men on the field on defense late in the contest on a 2nd and 1 with the clock running.

At least some have speculated it was a strategic move by Vrabel, designed to stop the clock to allow the Titans more time to score when they got the ball back.

Well, the Titans ended up scoring with four seconds left in regulation to force overtime.

Vrabel didn't offer much insight when asked about the sequence on Monday.

"We have to do a better job with penalties," he said. "We had seven of them I think, pretty uncharacteristic. We had a few on offense. We have to be better in all areas and I think the penalties are one thing that we focus on, communicating, trying to give ourselves the best chance to win a football game."

Lewan to IR, So What Now?

Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan has been lost for the season.

Lewan, a three-time Pro Bowler, delivered the news on Monday, and Vrabel confirmed it. Lewan left Sunday's game against the Texans with a knee injury.

He was placed on Injured Reserve on Monday.

Now, the Titans must do their best to replace Lewan, who has started 85 games since being drafted in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.

Ty Sambrailo stepped in to play left tackle on Sunday, and he's been the first off the bench this season. Dennis Kelly, meanwhile, has started all five games at right tackle.

Vrabel on Monday said the team will evaluate all options while placing Lewan on Injured Reserve. He said tackle Isaiah Wilson, the team's first-round pick in the 2020 draft who was added to the 53-man roster last week after spending the first part of the season on the team's Reserve/COVID-19 list, is making progress.

"Disappointed for Taylor – he works extremely hard and we're confident he'll be back (next season)," Vrabel said. "But that's kind of what we've done, it's how we operate – we'll get the next guy in there and we'll see what is best for the team and try and move forward with the next guy in there. Ty has played a bunch in that back-up role in the first five games."

Sambrailo, signed by the Titans as a free agent after playing previously with the Broncos and Falcons, played in 57 games with 13 starts before joining the Titans.

Wilson has worked hard on his conditioning to put himself in a better position to help the team, Vrabel said.

"Ty has played in this league – he's played multiple positions and he has versatility," Vrabel said. "He had to play in there (vs. J.J) Watt early (vs the Texans), but I thought he settled down and played well like he has in the past for us when he's needed to come in there and play.

"As for Isaiah, we haven't practiced much. We have to get out there and practice and evaluate where that is this week and see where he can help us."

On Monday, after news of Lewan's injury surfaced, Vrabel was even asked about scenarios like moving Kelly from left to right tackle, or even moving guard Rodger Saffold to tackle, a position he's played in the past.

"We'll go through all the scenarios and we'll figure out which ones we think are best for the players, and best for the team," Vrabel said.

More on Wilson

Vrabel shed more light on Wilson's conditioning, and work ethic later in the video conference call.

The Titans have eased Wilson back into practices after he was removed from the Reserve/COVID-19 list last week.

"I'm going to evaluate Isaiah from where he's at now going forward, not about potential, hypothetical, how close," Vrabel said. "I'm excited to see where he's at now, now that we can probably practice and put a couple days together and see what that looks like, and evaluate him from this time going forward. He had gotten cleared and we had taken him off the reserve list, and then we weren't able to do much. He's in shape. He's in condition. He's made a commitment in that regard, and so now we'll just have to see the next step is what it looks like here with a few days of practice, of continued practice. We haven't had pads on really since going all the way back to Minnesota."

Vrabel was asked if he's confident Wilson will be able to help the team in 2020.

"The commitment that he's made since being on the reserve list I think has been positive, been good, been very good," Vrabel said. "Now we just have to take it to the next level of going out and executing on the football field, and practicing and knowing what to do and playing and finishing and doing all those things that we ask our offensive linemen to do."

Up Next: Steelers

The Steelers are among three unbeaten teams left in the NFL.

Pittsburgh is 5-0, and led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger, and a formidable defense.

"They are well-coached -- they're extremely well-coached," Vrabel said of the Steelers. "They're talented. They play well. It has been tough for people to run the football on them. We'll have to get to work. We've already started to get to work on that and how we're going to try to do that. But it'll take all 11. We'll have to give them a good plan and make sure that they understand it, and then go out and execute, and we'll have to get in there and block for us and stand up to the front and we'll have to block them. They're good on the edges and they're very good inside."

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