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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 20-17 overtime loss to the Chiefs.

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

-Quarterback Malik Willis completed 5-of-16 passes for 80 yards in the contest.

Willis also ran for 40 yards on eight carries.

"(Was there) improvement? Yes," Vrabel said of Willis. "There's things that all of us could have done to be better. You have to convert some third downs and be able to stay on the football field."

-So, what's the deal with starter Ryan Tannehill?

Vrabel said Tannehill worked hard to be available for Sunday night's game, but he wasn't ready.

"He worked extremely hard to try and get into a position to play in the football game," Vrabel said. "We go through this with all the injuries: Can they reasonably do their job up to the expectations that we have? Can they protect themselves out there? And, can they make it worse?

"I wasn't able to answer all of those questions for him to be able to play in the game."

-Receiver Treylon Burks, placed on Injured Reserve on October 8, is eligible to return this week vs the Broncos.

The Titans would have to move Burks to the 'Designated for Return' list, which would open up his practice window. The team would then need to activate him from Injured Reserve.

"We'll see how he is feeling," Vrabel said of Burks. "He has worked extremely hard to stay in shape and condition, take care of his body, lift. … I think this is the best he has been from the standpoint of handling a distraction … Whenever he is ready, I'm excited for him to get back out there.

"We'll see where that is this week because he has been in here, he has been on time and he has done everything that we asked him to do. We'll just have to see where he is at physically."

-Vrabel praised running back Derrick Henry, who shook hands with the players on defense after the game while thanking them.

"He's a team captain, and he wants to win," Vrabel said of Henry. "Derrick is a great teammate and he knows what we need to do to win, and that's to stick together."

-Vrabel was asked what defensive back Joshua Kalu could have done to avoid being flagged on the goal-line while defending Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce.

Vrabel said "it starts by you have to get your hands inside so you are not forcing that official to making a decision."

While the defender is entitled to the position on the field, "when you get your hands outside you force (officials) to make a decision and that's the decision that they went with."

-The Titans have been outscored 96-33 in the second half of games this season.

The shortcoming on offense contributed to the team letting the lead slip away in Kansas City.

Vrabel said the team didn't take advantage of the field position against the Chiefs because of "self-inflicted wounds, the unforced errors," and that led to the team squandering opportunities.

-Vrabel said the Titans tried to run the ball, but the team wasn't as efficient as it needed to be, and the long down-and-distance situations made it more difficult.

"We have to be more consistent throughout the game, and finish the game off," Vrabel said. "We'll get back to work and we'll focus on how we can do that against Denver."

-The Titans only caught five passes against the Chiefs, and none of them came from a receiver.

Vrabel said the team had some opportunities – I'm assuming he's referring to the throws to Chris Conley and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine – "and we would like to have come down with some of those."

"We have to continue to work to get some separation when we are getting matched," Vrabel said, "and being good in zone."

-The Titans defense was on the field for 100 plays, counting penalties.

Vrabel said that's as high a number as he's seen since college.

Vrabel said the team played with great effort, but the Titans are going to have to be better with the details in all three phases.

"We are going to go out there and we are going to fight, and we're going to swing," Vrabel said. "But to beat good teams, you have to have more than that. You have to have the details, and you have to have the execution."

-The Colts fired head coach Frank Reich on Monday.

Vrabel had some kind things to say about Reich.

"I think Frank is an unbelievable football coach, I think he is an unbelievable man," Vrabel said. "I've gotten to know Frank well over the time that we've been in the division, some of the committees that we've been on. His wife, Linda. We all know what we sign up for, and this is the other side of it that is difficult. You never want to see anybody lose their job and they made a decision. … Ill try to support him any way I can."

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