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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 31-10 win over the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Next up for the Titans is a game against the Detroit Lions on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

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

Overall Defense

The Titans didn't record a sack on Sunday, but pressure was better.

Jacksonville quarterbacks were flushed out of the pocket, and were forced to make throws under duress.

In the secondary, cornerback Malcolm Butler had an interception, and several others got their hands on the football.

Vrabel was encouraged, but he's still looking for more.

"There were some good things, but we missed some opportunities," Vrabel said. "That's the biggest takeaway, is that we missed some opportunities to sack the quarterback, to intercept the ball."

Vaccaro Update

Titans safety Kenny Vaccaro practiced all three days last week, and he was expected to play on Sunday.

But Vaccaro came down with an illness, and was added to the Injury Report on Saturday, and listed as questionable. The team then ruled him out for the game on Sunday morning.

The Titans adjusted their plans. Amani Hooker started opposite Kevin Byard at the other safety position.

"That's part of the job, we have to make a roster designation … before the game about who is going to be active and who is not going to be and I think it is always a good reminder when these things come up that everybody should be prepared to play in the football game up until that time," Vrabel said. "Guys were ready to go. … Hopefully we'll get Kenny back this week and we'll see how he is when we get back to practice."

Gostkowski Success

Titans kicker Stephen Gostkowski has had his moments this season, good and bad.

On Sunday he was really good, and he's been consistent in recent weeks.

Gostkowski hit a 53-yarder at the halftime horn, and he made all four of his extra points.

Against the Jaguars, Gostkowski improved his season totals to 7-of-8 from 50 yards and beyond in 2020. His previous career high the most field goals in a season of 50-plus yards was five in 2013 with the Patriots.

On the season he's now 17-of-25 kicking field goals, and 39-of-41 kicking extra points.

"He is having good weeks of practice," Vrabel said of Gostkowski.

Closing in on 2,000

Titans running back Derrick Henry went for 215 yards and two touchdowns on Sunday, and he now has 1,532 yards on the season.

On Sunday, Vrabel admitted players lobbied to get Henry another carry or two so he could get over 200 yards. Henry then busted off a 20-yard run to get over the mark.

Now, the opportunity for Henry to get to 2,000 yards for the season is a popular topic.

So, how does Vrabel view important milestones, and how might he and the Titans handle things down the stretch?

"I think it's a fine line," Vrabel said. "It's a good situation to be in, but it's not the easiest one when a player has an opportunity to be five yards away from 200 yards for the fourth time, and two touchdowns, be the only player in NFL history to accomplish that. Those are things that I have to weigh, and there will be second-guessing no matter what we do, or what decisions we make.

"I just think you have to look at the situation and see what is going on, understand how excited the players are for Derrick, and the offensive line," Vrabel continued. "I think they feel as much a part of what he does, like it's them doing it. And I think that's great for our psyche, and our confidence, and everything that we're doing. But also being smart with where he is at physical, and where everybody is at physically."

Sustained Success

With their win at Jacksonville, the Titans improved their record to 9-4 and secured a winning record for the fifth consecutive season—every year since Jon Robinson was hired as general manager in 2016.

The team's five consecutive winning seasons make up the second-longest such streak in franchise history, trailing only the Oilers' seven straight years above .500 from 1987 through 1993.

Vrabel gave credit to others.

"I think it starts at the top," Vrabel said. "I think the direction that we get and the support that we get from (controlling owner) Amy Adams Strunk. And then obviously Jon, the direction in which the franchise wants to go, his leadership, his support of our coaching staff, and the type of players that he wants to bring in."

Tye Smith Stepping Up

The Titans have dealt with all kinds of injuries in the secondary, especially at cornerback. Adoree' Jackson hasn't played, Kristian Fulton has spent most his year on Injured Reserve, and over the weekend Breon Borders joined him there.

On Sunday, cornerback Tye Smith stepped up and had a solid day.

Smith was credited with three tackles, including one for a loss. He also made several plays on the ball in coverage.

"It was good to see," Vrabel said. "Tye has worked hard to earn that opportunity, to get back in there, and I thought he played with a lot of confidence, with the toughness in the run game and triggering and showing up. He got his hands on a couple of balls, they tried to double-move him down in the red zone and he was on top of that.

"Tye is one of those guys who is willing to do whatever you ask him to help the football team. So we'll get him back in here this week and he'll start preparing and taking a look at another group of receivers."

Respect for Matthew Stafford

Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford left Sunday's game against the Packers with a rib injury, and did not return.

Following Detroit's 31-24 loss, Stafford reportedly underwent X-rays to determine the extent of his injuries.

Vrabel praised Stafford, and said the Titans will begin plans to face him.

"I think you always just prepare for him to be out there, until they're not," Vrabel said when asked how to prepare for a team with uncertainty at the QB position. "Some of these guys, these starters, that always find a way to make it out there, their durability, their toughness. I have a lot of respect for Matt for what he has done. So I would imagine that he would be out there until he's not and then we'll have to see what (backup quarterback) Chase (Daniel) has and where he is most comfortable within their offense."

The Tennessee Titans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 14 at TIAA Bank Field.

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