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Hot Topics From Titans HC Mike Vrabel's Sunday Presser


NASHVILLE – Titans Coach Mike Vrabel held a press conference on Sunday at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after his team's 23-17 preseason loss to the Bears.

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

-Vrabel said the Titans let quarterbacks Malik Willis and Will Levis alternate series so they'd be in situations that would help them get more familiar with what could be a realistic scenario this fall. "When you start to look at back-up quarterbacks," Vrabel said. "They're going to have to be able to go in there at a moment's notice. Sometimes they're going to have a week to prepare and they're going to know, but I would say most of the time they're going to have to come in off the bench and be ready to execute. So those are some of the things we're trying to recreate."

-Levis completed 9-of-14 passes for 85 yards on Saturday, with a passer rating of 51.2. Levis was intercepted late in the contest, ending any last-second hopes of a win. Vrabel gave a quick evaluation of the rookie QB's performance: "Just letting the game come to him, just take what's there," Vrabel said of areas Levis could improve. "Just trying to make sure we are not overdoing it, we are just playing one role, a large role as the quarterback in the offense – taking what they give you, and when there's opportunities to work the ball down the field, do that. He did some nice things, and (he) would like to have some things back."

-Willis completed 16-of-25 passes for 189 yards in the game, with an interception and a passer rating of 70.2. Willis also ran for a touchdown, and for 22 yards on three carries. Vrabel said the throw to tight end Josh Whyle that was intercepted was probably on both players (the ball was high, but it did go off Whyle's hands). "I thought there was some composure," Vrabel said of Willis. "There were some opportunities for him to run, and he ran. But he did a nice job when he did get out of the pocket keeping his eyes down the field and was able to be a thrower when he felt like there was something there. I am never going to restrict his ability to make plays with his feet, just be smart with the football."

-Vrabel said the performance of the first-team offensive line – LT Andre Dillard, LG Peter Skoronski, C Aaron Brewer, RG Daniel Brunskill, RT Chris Hubbard – "was efficient, and I thought they did some really good things. We were able to run the football. … I thought there were some good looks there, things that we've worked on in practice. We got some pile push, and some guys cleaning up the pocket. We got some movement."

-Rookie running back Tyjae Spears was effective running the ball, as he ran for 32 yards on six carries early, including a 14-yard run. "He did a nice job out there in the open field," Vrabel said. "We'll just keep working, progressing, and hopefully give him some more work this week."

-Vrabel complimented the play of defensive backs Eric Garror, Armani Marsh and Anthony Kendall for their play. "They're not the biggest players, but they're competitive," Vrabel said of Garror and Marsh. "Obviously they came in here on a tryout basis and both of them came have been able to earn a roster spot. … I thought Anthony Kendall, the short amount of time he had on special teams, did a nice job in his gunner rep." Vrabel said some players earned more playing time with their performance on Saturday, while others will maybe slide back on the depth chart with reduced reps.

-Vrabel on ways the team needs to get better: Conditioning could improve, because it impacts concentration and the ability to be more effective. Special teams also needs to get better, from covering kicks to returning kicks. "We have to put the ball better," Vrabel said. "We absolutely have to punt the ball better."

-Vrabel said linebacker Chance Campbell, who was credited with three tackles, "played with some good speed. His speed showed up, his speed showed up on special teams."

-Vrabel said Terrell Williams did a nice job filling in as head coach for the weekend. The Assistant Head coach/Defensive Line coach led the team in meetings, and in Chicago at Soldier Field. "It was a lot of fun (to watch him)," Vrabel said. "The most important thing is it was well-deserved. It's something I absolutely should have done. It was cool just to see him communicate."

-Vrabel when asked if the eight sacks allowed should be attributed to the back-up offensive line, or the quarterbacks holding the ball too long: "Blame everybody. Blame them all."

-The Titans are scheduled to travel to Minnesota on Tuesday to practice against the Vikings on Wednesday and Thursday, ahead of Saturday's preseason game. "I think they have good skill players, and I think that's something that can help us," Vrabel said of the Vikings. "I think defensively, they're multiple. Kirk (Cousins) has always done a fantastic job at the end of the game, situationally. So, a lot of factors that can help us. … It's a good football team."

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