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Hot Topics From Titans HC Mike Vrabel's Sunday Presser


NASHVILLE – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel held a press conference on Sunday at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after his team's 13-3 preseason win over the Buccaneers.

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

Progress from Burks?

Titans rookie receiver Treylon Burks has just one catch for four yards in two preseason contests, and it came in Saturday night's game.

Vrabel said he was encouraged by some of the things Burks did without the football against the Buccaneers, including his work as a blocker.

"There were times when he was open," Vrabel said of Burks. "And there were times where we would like to see a better route. (He) just needs to continue to progress and work on the conditioning in the game and all the things that are required from the receivers."

Malik's Evaluation

Quarterback Malik Willis started his second straight game against Tampa Bay.

Willis completed 7-of-17 passes for 80 yards and a touchdown, and he also ran for 42 yards on five carries.

Vrabel said the timing route Willis threw to Nick Westbrook-Ikhine for a 21-yard gain stood out.

"It's something he didn't do last week," Vrabel said. "And we worked on it in practice, and it was cool to see him be able to hit that."

But Vrabel said the operation at the line of scrimmage, the command, and Willis staying in the pocket longer are things he needs to continue to work on.

"I don't want to see anybody get hurt, especially our quarterbacks," Vrabel said. "You run out of the back of the pocket in this league, these guys are coming. So, we'll continue to coach him on his pocket presence and being able to keep his eyes downfield. It's such a fine line."

As for quarterback Logan Woodside, who completed 7-of-11 passes for 56 yards and an interception last night, Vrabel said he thought he made good decisions for the most part.

"I think the decisions were OK," Vrabel said. "I think the execution by both quarterbacks has to be better."

Right Tackle Spot

Dillon Radunz and Nicholas Petit-Frere are getting plenty of work in practices and preseason games at the tackle position.

But only one of them will be chosen to start at right tackle, opposite left tackle Taylor Lewan.

Vrabel said he's not ready to name a starter, however.

"Nicholas got a couple of series at right tackle (on Saturday night), and then went over to left," Vrabel said. "We're not ready to make anything permanent right now, but we'll see where we're at this week against Arizona."

Vrabel said Radunz "settled down" and had some good blocks in the run game, "and I thought there was a couple that he missed."

What About Left Guard?

As for the other open spot on the offensive line – left guard – Aaron Brewer has gotten most the first-team work there this offseason.

Vrabel said he's liked what he's seen.

Jamarco Jones, who is also contending for the spot, missed practices with the Buccaneers last week and he didn't play in Saturday's game.

"I think (Brewer) is in a good place," Vrabel said. "Practicing against Tampa Bay, it's a good scheme, with good players. That's what it is going to be like every week. But I think Brew has tried to look at the things we asked him to focus on coming out of last year in the opportunities that he got with us, and he has done that. And practicing against Jeff (Simmons) and Teair (Tart) and our guys up front has helped, too."

"A Bright Spot"

Rookie Kyle Philips continues to make plays for the Titans.

Philips made a splash in the return game against the Buccaneers, when he returned three punts for 77 yards, including a 35-yarder.

"Well, that's a bright spot," Vrabel said of Philips. "We don't want to catch them in the end zone, but I love what he did – being decisive, getting upfield, making guys miss. … Kyle judged the ball well and we want to make sure we continue and hopefully we make that a strength."

Farley Talk

Vrabel spent some time discussing cornerback Caleb Farley.

Farley, a first-round pick a year ago, played a good bit against the Buccaneers.

Rookie Roger McCreary started the contest for the Titans, but his snaps were limited.

Vrabel said Farley was emotionally spent during the first of two joint practices with the Buccaneers, "which then caused him to be physically spent." He thought Farley did a better job of keeping his emotions in check the second day of practices, and thought he had good back-to-back days taking the preseason game into consideration.

Vrabel Award

At the end of today's press conference, Teresa Walker from the Associated Press presented Vrabel the 2021 Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA) Coach of the Year award.

Vrabel said he plans to put the award in his office.

Check out the video below.

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