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Hot Topics from Titans HC Mike Vrabel's Monday Presser


NASHVILLE – Titans coach Mike Vrabel held a video conference call on Monday, one day after the team's 31-30 win over the Minnesota Vikings.

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:

Winning Close Games

The Titans have won three straight games decided by three points or less to begin the season.

Counting Sunday's win, the Titans have won their three games by a total of six points.

"I think it is much more valuable than losing by one," Vrabel said. "But we have to be able to play better, and to try and not be in those tight games. But I do think our ability to function when the games are tight or when we're behind or have to execute those situations, that can only help you. It's not what we want to rely on, but we gain confidence that the players don't panic, and we're able to execute the situations as they come up down the stretch."

Simmons Standing Out

Titans defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons was especially disruptive on Sunday.

Simmons was credited with a sack, two tackles for a loss, two quarterback hits and four tackles again the Vikings.

Vrabel said it might've been the best performance of his young career.

"I think it probably was," Vrabel said. "I think he is just getting a lot more comfortable, and I think he is feeling better. He plays extremely hard, and his technique is really improving. In college I think Jeffery relied on his natural ability, which is very high. And now I think he has really started to improve and understand how his technique can help him affect the game and make plays for us and be disruptive."

Shane Bowen in COVID-19 Protocol

Vrabel said Titans outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen did not travel with the team to Minneapolis for Sunday's game due to COVID-19 testing protocols.

The team found out on Saturday morning.

In Bowen's absence, Vrabel was even more involved in the defense. Vrabel said special teams coach Craig Aukerman also had more responsibility as a result.

"Shane wasn't with us, and he's not currently with us as it stands today because of the COVID protocol that we have to follow," Vrabel said. "We've followed all the protocols as it relates to COVID, that's all I'll say about it. As for (when he comes back), we're not into timetables or returns to play or coach."

Vrabel said defensive assistant Matt Edwards has stepped up in Bowen's absence with the outside linebackers as well "and we'll continue along that process."

Taylor Lewan Update

Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan left Sunday's game with what was called a shoulder injury.

Lewan remained on the field for several minutes while being tended to by trainers. He eventually walked off slowly on his own power, but later left the sideline and headed to the tunnel on a cart.

Lewan did not return. Ty Sambrailo finished the game in Lewan's place.

"Not much to offer on Taylor," Vrabel said. "I would say that Ty, other than a few plays in there, did a really nice job. I was proud of the way that he stepped in there and played."

What About Adoree Jackson and Isaiah Wilson?

Titans cornerback Adoree' Jackson remains on the team's short-term Injured Reserve list, and rookie tackle Isaiah Wilson remains on the team's COVID-19/Reserve list.

Vrabel said he's hopeful both players could be in a position to return at some point in the not-so-distant future.

"It's a little early in the week, but we're hopeful that they can maybe practice," Vrabel said. "We'll see kind of where they're at – we'd really like to see Isaiah and be able to continue to work with him and get him to continue to improve and evaluate him. So hopefully that will happen.

"Hopefully those are two good candidates to maybe get back at practice."

Tackling Issues

Vikings running back Dalvin Cook racked up 181 yards on Sunday, including a 39-yard touchdown run.

Vikings receiver Justin Jefferson had seven catches for 175 yards, including a 75-yard touchdown catch.

The Vikings scored four touchdowns a week after the Jaguars put up 30 points on the Titans.

"We didn't tackle terrible vs Jacksonville," Vrabel said. "We didn't have a double-digit missed tackle game. We did yesterday. So, we'll have to do a better job in space against talented players. A lot of times it is about space in this league with skill players."

Next Up: Steelers

The Titans face the Steelers on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

Pittsburgh, led by quarterback Ben Roethlisberger and a menacing defense, is 3-0 so far.

"This week's challenge is Pittsburgh and they bring obviously a fantastic defense – No.1 in a lot of categories," Vrabel said. "The offense has been able to run the football, and they've been very efficient throwing it, so there's a lot of problems they bring that we'll have to be ready for."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Minnesota Vikings in Week 3 at U.S. Bank Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)

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