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Hot Topics From Titans HC Mike Vrabel's Season-Ending Press Conference


NASHVILLE – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel held his season-ending press conference on Monday at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park.

Vrabel tackled a ton of topics on the day.

Here's a look at the most noteworthy topics in quick-hitting fashion:

-Vrabel acknowledged there will be changes, and he presumably was talking about his coaching staff, and the team's roster. "Change is obviously a part of this league, it's a part of professional sports," Vrabel said. "I think there will be conversations here in the short term about the general manager, and (wherever) that goes, that person and I will have conversations. We'll have conversations with Amy (Adams Strunk) about the extent of the change that we have. I don't think is something that is going to happen necessarily overnight, but there's going to be change."

-Vrabel said he has not yet made any changes on his coaching staff. He was asked specifically about offensive coordinator Todd Downing. "Our offensive coordinator, and Todd," Vrabel said, "will be a part of the conversation and it will be part of my evaluation this week as it relates to the football team."

-Vrabel on his final message to the team: "I thanked them. I thanked the guys that started this process on April 18th – they've been through a lot. I thanked them for the dedication. Other than a few games that I felt like maybe we were outmanned, I felt like we competed. Unfortunately, we were 5-6 in one score games, and that's something that had been a strength of ours in the past and it wasn't." Vrabel said he also expressed to his players to stay in communication.

-Vrabel made it clear fixing the offensive line is a big priority: "When you don't protect your quarterback, they get hurt, or they turn the ball over. We have to do that. … We need to find guys that can protect the quarterback."

-When Vrabel was asked about defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons, Vrabel reminded "Jeff is under contract," speaking on his one-year option. He went on to describe how important he is to the team in terms of his "leadership, accountability and performance."

-When asked about quarterback Ryan Tannehill, Vrabel said he wants Tannehill to "get as healthy as he possibly can and go and be our quarterback and figure out things that are going to help us win."

-Vrabel said he's looking forward to working with Amy Adams Strunk in the process of the organization finding the next general manager. "I'll help in any way that I can," Vrabel said. "We've had good conversations about it. It's not like Amy has kept me in the dark about the process and how it's going."

-Vrabel spent a lot of time talking about the injury situation over the last couple of seasons. He said the team will address it, and it will continue to look into the reasons why just as it has been a problem. Vrabel said the team will look closer at soft tissue injuries. Vrabel said how the team practices, regeneration days, and ways to test players to precent injuries will also be considered. "We've had two awful years as it relates to injuries," Vrabel said. "Prior to that I think it was at a level where you could say it was in the range of normal." Vrabel acknowledged the Titans have drafted some players with an injury history. "I don't know if that is always a predictor of the future," Vrabel said. "In some cases, it maybe was, and it some cases it wasn't."

-Vrabel said his message to Malik Willis moving forward "is to continue to improve, continue to develop and continue to work on those things that we've continued to discuss" to help him be a better quarterback.

-Vrabel said he was pleased with what he saw from quarterback Josh Dobbs in his short stint with the team, and he anticipates the team will have a conversation about his potential future with the team. "I enjoyed having him here, and I think he made an impact in a short amount of time," Vrabel said. "We'll have those conversations and see where we end up."

-Vrabel was asked to evaluate himself following a season when the team ended with a seven-game losing streak. "We didn't do a good enough job – we lost too many games," Vrabel said. "That self-reflection, nobody would evaluate that they did a good enough job because we didn't win. … The short answer is: It wasn't good enough."

-Vrabel said receiver Treylon Burks needs to work to continue to get better following his rookie season. "I think he realizes what he can do," Vrabel said, "if he's in shape and he's ready to go and he's big and he's healthy. He worked his tail off and had some unfortunate injuries – he hurt the toe, had the concussion. But I am excited to work with him and I am excited for him and his future. It probably got off to a slow start, but that's how you learn sometimes, by going through it."

-Vrabel said outside linebacker Harold Landry, who suffered a torn ACL before the season, "looks good … and hopefully he'll be ready to go (next season) and have a full recovery, and get back to playing the way he was before he got injured."

-Asked about the identity of his football team, Vrabel said: "The same thing I've always wanted it to be – smart, tough, and fast," Vrabel said. "(I want it to be) physical. I still think there is a degree of physicality that is required in this game at every level. Fundamentally sound, play with technique. But we have to get faster. We have to be a faster football team. Rarely are we the fastest team out there."

-Speed is a big priority for the team this offseason, as Vrabel closed out today's 30-minute plus presser with this: "You want the fastest roster that you can (have)," Vrabel said. "You want a fast everybody – you want your d-line to be able to run, you want your corners to be able to run, receivers. It's a fast game, so that's what you're trying to do all the time – find as fast a players that can play football as possible."

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