NASHVILLE – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel is back, and he held a press conference on Wednesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
Vrabel spent the past 10 days in quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19 on August 22.
Here's a look at the hot topics from Wednesday's presser …
-Vrabel said he feels good, and he's glad to be back. "This is home, this is what we as coaches know, and this is what I love to do," Vrabel said. "It's great to be around everybody again. You realize how much you miss it, and how much you miss the interaction with the staff, the players and everybody." Vrabel said everyone in his family is healthy, including his wife and kids. He said he spent most of the time in the family's basement.
-Vrabel said he decided to change the team's practice schedule this week to look out for the health of his football team. Instead of practicing on Wednesday and Thursday, Vrabel converted practice days into regeneration days for the players with meetings, conditioning & lifting. "Just figuring out what is best for the football team," Vrabel said. "We are focusing on conditioning. Next week is a long week, and the more I thought about it, I think this is going to be best for our football team." The Titans won't practice on Saturday and Sunday, and they'll return to the practice on Monday to ramp up preparations for the regular season opener against the Arizona Cardinals.
-Vrabel said having veteran quarterback Matt Barkley on the practice squad gives the team a lot of flexibility. "I certainly like Matt's demeanor and willingness to work," Vrabel said. "Like his arm talent. So, we'll keep working with him on the practice squad."
-Vrabel said the team could end up placing players on short-term Injured Reserve, but he didn't name which players might be candidates. He said discussions are on tap with the team's training staff, and GM Jon Robinson.
-Vrabel indicated he expects to get some players back from the Reserve/COVID-19 list in the coming days.
-Vrabel said receiver Dez Fitzpatrick, who was added to the team's practice squad after being waived on Tuesday, needs to show more consistency and "willingness to play without the football in your hand." Vrabel said the team will continue to coach him up "and we'll see where it all goes as the season unfolds."
-Vrabel said the Titans have a challenge in the season opener against the Cardinals, and quarterback Kyler Murray. "They are obviously talented," Vrabel said. "They have a dynamic quarterback that can go 80 yards. I saw third down-and-17 and he scrambles for a first down. He goes 70 yards against Carolina, 70 yards or something like that. Pulls it in the red zones, 20-yard touchdowns, he slides, he makes you miss, and he has a strong arm. I think that was the thing that shocked me the most was how strong his arm is. He is very willing to throw outward breaking routes across the field. Two good tailbacks, Obviously (DeAndre) Hopkins, our familiarity with him, A.J. Green, the inside receivers, the ones they have coming back. They have some new pieces and center that I have a lot of respect for who has been a great player for a lot of years. They have a lot of length on defense, on the edges, and then they have added length inside with (Zaven) Collins and (Isaiah) Simmons. Budda Baker is a very disruptive player from anywhere on the field. We could go all the way down and through the roster, but talented and a lot of length on defense that we will have to deal with when we try to either run or throw the football."