NASHVILLE – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel held a press conference on Saturday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team's 23-3 win over the Falcons in the preseason opener.
Next up for the Titans is a game against the Buccaneers next Saturday, but not before two practices in Nashville – including an open practice at Nissan Stadium on Monday night – and joint practices in Tampa on Wednesday and Thursday.
Here's a look at some of the hot topics discussed at today's presser:
-Against the Falcons, the defense allowed only six first downs, 138 total yards and 21 net passing yards.
The Titans racked up five sacks in the contest, led by outside linebackers Rashad Weaver and Wyatt Ray, who had 1.5 sacks each. The Titans also forced a turnover with linebacker David Long's interception, and cornerback Breon Borders had a near INT taken off the stat sheet following a review.
Yes, the Titans were playing with a lot of back-ups, but it was encouraging.
"I think we have a standard on our football team that we try to live to, a certain way we want to play in all three phases, and defensively they did that," Vrabel said. "Offensively they did at times, not quite as consistent. And I would say special teams was somewhere in between, had some big plays, had some positive plays, but I think needs to be better. And defensively there's a lot of things we need to work on."
-Even before the game, Vrabel said rookies Dillon Radunz and Rashad Weaver enjoyed a good week of practices.
Then in the game, Weaver was not only credited with 1.5 sacks, he also had two quarterback hits, three tackles, and one tackle for a loss in the contest while also batting down a pass. Radunz played at right guard and right tackle, and held up mostly well.
Vrabel said both players did good things in the preseason opener, but he noted they still need to clean things up from a technique standpoint.
"Some of those guys who have continued to improve, they took the next step in the game," Vrabel said. "And then there's some guys that we're going to need to see more of practicing against Tampa, and playing against Tampa."
-Rookie receiver Dez Fitzpatrick is clearly one of the players who needs to do more.
Vrabel said Fitzpatrick needs to "show is a lot more in practice" when asked about him on Saturday, and he didn't elaborate.
Fitzpatrick played a good chunk in the second half, but he was a spectator during the first half as a big group of receivers worked in front of him.
-Running back Darrynton Evans is day-to-day after suffering a knee injury on Friday, and he'll be evaluated.
"I would just say day-to-day and we'll see where he is when we get down to Tampa," Vrabel said.
Kicker Tucker McCann is "sore" after being hit on a roughing the kicker penalty on the Falcons, and he'll continue to be evaluated as well.
"We'll see where he's at," Vrabel said of McCann. "He's pretty sore. I don't anticipate it being lengthy, but I can't tell you that for sure until we see where he's at at the end of day, and moving into tomorrow."
Vrabel did not provide injury updates on safety Brady Breeze and linebacker B.J. Bello, who didn't return to the contest after suffering lower leg injuries.
-The Titans opted not to take a large number of players to Atlanta for the game.
First-round pick Caleb Farley, however, made the trip, even though the plan was for him not to play.
"I felt like him being around those guys and not having played for as long as he's played, that he could kind of see what it was like," Vrabel said of Farley. "And he really wanted to go. He came to me and said: Coach, I really want to see what this is like.' … Caleb came and said he wanted to go, so I decided it would be best to take him."
Vrabel said the team continues to watch Farley in his rehab.
"I hope that we can keep progressing each and every week with Caleb," Vrabel said, "the stuff that we give him, the added team reps, and the added volume."
-The Titans ran for 138 yards on 37 carries in the contest, led by Mekhi Sargent's 58 yards. Brian Hill added 33 yards rushing, and Evans had 26 yards before he left early. Jeremy McNichols had 17 yards.
Starting running back Derrick Henry didn't make the trip to Atlanta.
"I thought they all did some nice things – they all had an opportunity to protect, they all had an opportunity to get some carries and get into the flow of the game," Vrabel said of the backs. "There were some good runs, and some that were one guy away, one cut away. But for the first live action I thought we were efficient running the football, not a ton of negative plays."
-Vrabel complimented Chester Rogers for being aggressive on his 57-yard punt return against the Falcons.
"I liked it that he got into the return, and he got vertical," Vrabel said. "He didn't sit there and try and circle it up. He got vertical, but it was (also) blocked well."
-Vrabel said linebacker David Long, who had a nifty INT in the contest, "has had a really good camp."
"You see how comfortable he is," Vrabel said. "He is developing a role. I thought he was good on special teams last night. … It looked like he was playing fast."
-Vrabel said he thought quarterback Logan Woodside handled the blitzing by the Falcons well.
Vrabel said Woodside's out route throw to receiver Fred Brown in the two-minute was one of the best balls of training camp, because it was on time, and was in a great spot.
"That was encouraging," Vrabel said. "(Logan) showed some toughness."