NASHVILLE – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel held a video conference call with reporters on Monday, one day after the team's 34-3 win over the Miami Dolphins.
Here's a look at the hot topics as the team begins preparations for Sunday's game against the Texans in Houston.
-Vrabel praised the team's fan base right off the top, and he encouraged them to make the trip to Houston for Sunday's game. A win against the Texans would secure the No.1 seed in the AFC for the Titans. "I think our fans have been fantastic," Vrabel said. "I think they have been unbelievable, the support that we've had. … I hope that they get on a plane, and they go down and they support us in Houston. We've had a great number of fans travel with us on the road in L.A. and Seattle and these different places, and Indianapolis, to watch us play. Hopefully they'll continue the excitement and help us this week as we travel on the road to get a road victory."
-Vrabel said running back D'Onta Foreman, who has three 100-yard games in the last five games, has shown the ability to fit into the team's run scheme, and hit some runs. "I think he's a very good natural runner, and I think he catches the ball well," Vrabel said of Foreman. "He's tried to improve, and he runs hard. He is decisive." Vrabel said Foreman has responded well to adversity, learning from his fumble in New England earlier this season. "He had a great day for us yesterday," Vrabel said of Foreman's 132-yard, one-TD effort against the Dolphins. "And hopefully he'll be able to continue to help us." Vrabel said the team's ability to have success on the ground in the absence of Derrick Henry "is a testament to the staff and testament to the players," from backs Foreman, Dontrell Hilliard and Jeremy McNichols to the team's offensive linemen.
-Speaking of Henry, who has been out since suffering a foot injury in the team's October 31 game at Indianapolis, Vrabel said the Titans have discussed him being 'Designated for Return from Injured Reserve' this week, which would allow him to practice. At that point, the Titans would have a 21-day window to activate him, which would allow him to play. "We've discussed it," Vrabel said. "We'll see where that goes. (Derrick) is doing some work today, and we'll see when that window opens and probably make a decision mid-week."
-Vrabel said tight end MyCole Pruitt, who suffered a gruesome ankle injury in Sunday's game, was scheduled for surgery on Monday. "I was able to talk to him last night," Vrabel said. "It's disappointing, and it's sad to watch guys who put a lot into it and see anybody get injured." Vrabel said the Titans will continue to evaluate the position, which now includes Geoff Swaim and Anthony Firkser on the active roster, and Austin Fort on the practice squad. "We'll look at all possibilities," Vrabel said, "to see how we'll replace MyCole."
-The Titans captured the AFC South with Sunday's win, but players after the game said they're nowhere close to satisfied. Vrabel hammered that point home again Monday. "I think we are always looking for more," Vrabel said. "That's our goal, is to win championships, and it starts with winning the division." Vrabel said this is a critical week, and the Titans will prepare like they always have to be ready.
-Vrabel said linebacker David Long came out "favorable" in his return to action after missing a long stretch while acknowledging the Titans now have plenty of depth at the position with Zach Cunningham, Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans. "We're looking to get Jayon back (off the COVID list) and we'll see where everything goes," Vrabel said. "That's a deep room, and they all kind of do things a little bit different and have different strengths."
-Vrabel also praised defensive lineman Denico Autry for his versatility, and instincts. He said he's played in a lot of spots for the Titans, either outside, or beating guards inside on rushes that have either led to sacks, or incompletions, by Autry or his teammates. "I love who he is," Vrabel said of Autry.
-Vrabel said defensive back Chris Jackson's tackle on the opening kickoff of the game was one of the team's best plays on special teams. Vrabel said Jackson fought through traffic to tackle the ball carrier inside the 20, "and that was a great way to start the game." Vrabel also said punter Brett Kern had some great punts and return man Chester Rogers fielded some "gnarly punts." Vrabel said he saw room for improvement on special teams, "but all in all I did feel like we won that phase as well."