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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 at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after his team's 17-10 win over the Broncos.

Here's a look at the hot topics from today's presser as the Titans turn their attention to Thursday's game vs the Packers:

-The Titans tallied six sacks and 18 quarterback hits on Sunday against the Broncos.

DeMarcus Walker (1.5), Rashad Weaver (1.5), Mario Edwards (1), Naquan Jones (1) and Dylan Cole (1) all tallied sacks on a day when key players like Jeffery Simmons and Bud Dupree didn't play.

"All the credit goes to the players," Vrabel said. "They take advantage of the opportunities. They stopped the run, and … that way they have a chance to affect the game and rush. I think you earn the right to rush the quarterback, and this week will be the same thing."

-Next up is a game against the Packers, and quarterback Aaron Rodgers.

Rodgers has completed 219-of-337 passes on the season for 2,315 yards, with 17 touchdowns and seven interceptions.

The Packers are led in the running game by backs Aaron Jones (738 yards) and AJ Dillon (454 yards).

"This team has rushed for over 200 yards in four games – in three of the four games that they've won," Vrabel said of the Packers. "They can run it with the best of them – they have two great backs. It looks like the line is coming together. So, this will be a huge challenge to play the run this week."

Rodgers has been sacked 20 times in 10 games this season.

"He can still scramble," Vrabel said of Rodgers. "Teams have been able to affect him – he has seven fumbles. But if you let him stand there, he can create throws from all different levels. … You are going to have to be relentless, you are going to have to be coordinated. He doesn't run like he (did) when he was younger, which was very good. Now he is just mobile enough to create and buy time to throw the ball down the field which I think ultimately is what he wants to do."

-Vrabel offered some praise for tight end Chig Okonkwo.

Okonkwo came up with a key 41-yard grab in the fourth quarter of Sunday's win over the Broncos.

"We'd like to (get him more involved)," Vrabel said of the rookie. "Trying to continue to find ways to get him the football. … We'll continue to try to find ways to get everybody involved and do things to help us. Yesterday (Chig) came through with a big catch. We'll see where it goes this week."

-Quarterback Ryan Tannehill returned to action on Sunday after missing the previous two games with an ankle injury.

Tannehill completed 19-of-36 passes for 255 yards and two touchdowns against the Broncos, with no interceptions. But the Titans struggled early on offense, punting on their first six possessions.

"I thought he was probably average, just getting back in there," Vrabel said. "I thought he made some good throws, and I thought there were some decisions that he probably could have made that were better. But then also, everybody … has to be on the same page and we have to protect and we have to be where we're supposed to be, there's a timing element at times.

"But Ryan will be the first to tell you that wasn't his best game, but he came through with some big throws when we needed it. … There were a lot of really good things as well."

-Vrabel was asked about offensive coordinator Todd Downing and if he's satisfied with the way play-calling has gone this year.

Vrabel said the operation is key, "but I think players are more important than plays, teammates are more important than players. Hopefully we're getting these guys the call, and they understand the details.

"But there is no magic call," Vrabel continued. "We called a flea-flicker yesterday, and it was very well executed by the players and that's why we scored a touchdown. We have to make sure were are getting them the call, and that we are communicating, and the call that we are getting everybody understands what is being asked of them."

-The Titans played without five starters (DL Jeffery Simmons, OLB Bud Dupree, ILB Zach Cunningham, CB Kristian Fulton, S Amani Hooker) vs Denver.

So, could some of those players be back on Thursday night? Or, could the team could opt to hold them until the team's November 27 game vs the Bengals to allow them more time to heal?

"We are never going to put a player in jeopardy," Vrabel said. "We won't do that. So, if they can do their job, and they can protect themselves and there's a small chance they are not going to make it worse, then we'll do everything we can to put them out there.

"We want and need everybody, but we have to make some decisions on who can play."

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