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Hot Topics From Titans HC Mike Vrabel's Monday Presser


NASHVILLE – Titans Coach Mike Vrabel held a press conference on Monday, one day after the team's 16-15 loss to the New Orleans Saints.

Here's a look at the biggest topics from the presser:

-Vrabel said the Titans will continue to find ways to utilize running backs Derrick Henry and Tajae Spears. Vrabel made it clear Henry will be a big part of the offense moving forward a day after Spears logged 34 snaps, and Henry just 30. "Derrick gave us a chance to win with his performance," Vrabel said, "and so did Tyjae." Henry ran for 63 yards on 15 carries, an average of 4.2 yards per carry. Spears, meanwhile, carried the ball three times for 27 yards. "We'll find ways to get both of them involved," Vrabel said. "Derrick will be a large part of what we do."

-Vrabel was asked why quarterback Ryan Tannehill was so "off" on Sunday, when he threw three interceptions, completed just 16-of-34 passes, and missed at least two wide open targets with errant throws. "I don't know," Vrabel said. "I wish that I knew. I wish that I could tell you. We have to be better. Ryan has to be better. We have to hit guys that are open, and we can't force the ball into double coverage. And so we have to give him cleaner pockets like we gave him in the second half earlier. … We have to be better, and we can't turn the football over." Vrabel said Tannehill had already met with the receivers and coaches on Monday, "and he'll respond like he has," Vrabel said. "He's been a great competitor for us, and he's been unbelievably tough and determined and I am positive those results will be different."

-Vrabel didn't make a big fuss about the controversial incomplete pass call on Sunday, when it appeared Saints quarterback Derek Carr fumbled as he was hit. The play was blown dead while safety Kevin Byard was running for a touchdown, but a replay didn't overturn the call on the field. He did express some frustration over a lack of consistency from officiating on calling that particular play. "They are certainly not going to reverse it on replay," Vrabel said. "Next week it is going to be a fumble, the week after that it is going to be an incompletion, the week after that it's going to be a fumble. … What they are going to tell you is the call on the field matters, the call on the field is important." Vrabel said "there's nothing I can do" while pointing further questions to officials. "It's not why we lost the game," he added.

-Vrabel said he felt the team's best chance to win the game was to kick a field goal to make it 16-15 with 2:17 left and then get the ball back with a chance to win the game on a last-second field goal. But the Titans couldn't get a stop, as the Saints managed to get two first downs and run out the clock. "I believe our best was to win the game was to play defense, and stop them," Vrabel said, "which we didn't do, and that's unfortunate."

-Vrabel said receiver Treylon Burks "will be a big part of what we do moving forward" a day after he caught just two passes for 18 yards while being targeted just three times vs the Saints.

-Arden Key was credited with 11 QB pressures and 1.5 sacks on Sunday while Denico Autry was credited with six QB pressures and 1.5 sacks. "I think (Arden) and Denico certainly affected the quarterback and made plays on the football," Vrabel said. "Denico had some tackles for loss and showed up in the backfield and set the edge and both of them factored and that was really good to see. … We'll need as much of that as we can get."

-Vrabel said trainers cleared cornerback Kristian Fulton to come back in the game after his hamstring injury. The Titans played Fulton on third down vs the Saints, and "we'll see where he is moving forward."

-The Titans gave up 305 passing yards on Sunday, and Vrabel said the play of the secondary needs to improve. "We need to challenge," Vrabel said, "and we have to play square."

-Vrabel said it was a special moment seeing Tim Shaw and Steve Gleason representing their teams as honorary team captains. Shaw and Gleason are both battling ALS, and the former NFL players were at the coin toss in the wheelchairs they use on a daily basis. "That was a unique moment for me, to be able to see Tim and Steve there, together, before the game," Vrabel said. "Hopefully that brought some awareness to an unbelievable disease but also to two great alumni of the National Football League."

-The Titans are disappointed with the 0-1 start, but Vrabel did his best to put things in perspective. "It's a long season," Vrabel said. "(Sunday) was a great test (vs) a good football team on the road, in an unbelievable environment. It could have been a lot better; it could have been a lot worse. Our job is to win the game, and we didn't. But our guys fought, and they competed. We need to keep improving. The teams that improve are going to be the ones playing in February."

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