Hot Topics From Titans HC Mike Vrabel's Sunday Presser


NASHVILLE – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel held a video conference call on Sunday, one day after the team's 27-24 loss to the Chicago Bears in the preseason finale.

Next for the Titans is a round of roster cuts – all NFL teams must be down to 53 players by Tuesday – and then preparation for the regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals on September 12 at Nissan Stadium.

Here's a look at the hot topics from Vrabel's presser:

-Vrabel, who remains in quarantine after positive COVID-19 tests last week, said "I feel fine, I feel great." He said he's still going through the quarantine period, and he's not sure when he'll be able to come back to Saint Thomas Sports Park, whether it's Tuesday or Wednesday.

-Vrabel watched the Saturday night's game from his basement at home. "It looked like operationally it was fine," he said. "Stretch (John Streicher) had a challenge, a decision down on the goal line. I don't think we played particularly well, certainly not the way we need to try to play football games to win. But I felt like (the staff) handled it well."

-Vrabel said the Titans haven't yet started the roster-trimming process. All NFL teams must be down to 53 players by Tuesday at 3 p.m. "Those are things that (GM) Jon (Robinson) and I work through," Vrabel said. "Right now, I don't think that we've made any roster cuts."

-Vrabel, when asked about defensive lineman Denico Autry working with the OLBs in practice last week, said he'll be predominantly with the d-line group, "but there are some things in the nickel that he does or will have to work on" and he could be asked to do something different occasionally, Vrabel said. Autry made his preseason debut on Saturday night, and Vrabel noted "he did some things that were really good."

-Vrabel recognized the work done by fullback Khari Blasingame, who worked on special teams, on third down, carried the football, protected, and also played fullback. Blasingame caught a screen pass and raced 50 yards downfield in the game. "That is just one example of a player at that position that did a lot of different things and filled a lot of different roles," Vrabel said.

-Vrabel said rookie cornerback Caleb Farley continues to work and develop, but noted he needs to show more consistency in different aspects. "The thing that I appreciate is that he is willing to learn," Vrabel said of Farley, "and he is receptive to coaching."

-Vrabel, asked about receiver Marcus Johnson leaving Saturday's game early, noted "he has a limp." He gave no further details.

-Vrabel said it's been tough being away from the team while in quarantine. "I think you put so much into this business, in this job, in this life, and you build such strong relationships with guys," Vrabel said. "And you miss that. It's like when you're a player and you are injured, and you're not out there. The show goes on. So, I think sometimes you have to fight that urge of letting your mind wander. I miss them and I want to be there to coach them and help them and try and lead this football team and try and do my job in person."

-Vrabel said he's remained in contact with the players on the team's COVID-19 list. The players have been participating on Zoom, he said. Vrabel said all the players are working their way through the protocols "and I would say that everything is on schedule." "I text them all every couple of hours," Vrabel said. "I text them, check in on them. They are able to be on Zoom and meet and I'm sure try and be able to get outside and at least get some air. I think as they pass through the protocols we'll get them back, get them working, and evaluate them."

-Vrabel said it was a mixed bag for rookie receiver Dez Fitzpatrick on Saturday night. "He didn't block like we expected him to block last night," Vrabel said of Fitzpatrick, "but he ran a really cool route and Matt (Barkley) threw him a great ball." The route he ran showed improvement, Vrabel said, while noting there were other examples of Fitzpatrick needing to finish plays better.

-The Titans will focus on conditioning and technique during their four-day practice week this week, "things that make a huge difference, we believe, in the outcome of games and how you prepare for the season." Vrabel said the team will get some preliminary work on the Cardinals "and how we may want to prepare to play that football game."

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