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Hot Topics With Titans HC Mike Vrabel From the NFL Combine


INDIANAPOLIS – Titans coach Mike Vrabel spoke with reporters for over 20 minutes here on Tuesday at the NFL Combine.

Here's a look at some of the nuggets from today's availability:

-Vrabel was asked if the team would be open to possibly drafting a QB in this year's draft: "I am going to say this for every player: I am open to adding great players to our roster, whether that's at quarterback, that's at running back, that's at defensive line, corner. I do believe that we have some needs and some holes. I've asked (scouts) to look for players who have an element of speed, violence and versatility. … Look for offensive linemen that can protect the quarterback, whether that's Ryan (Tannehill), whether that's Malik (Willis), whether that's Josh Dobbs, whoever that might end up being. Those are things we have to do a better job at."

-Vrabel said he has a good, open relationship with left tackle Taylor Lewan, who was released earlier this month. Vrabel said the dialogue will remain open about Lewan and whether he could return at some point. Right now, Lewan is concentrating on getting healthy. "I wish him the best," Vrabel said of Lewan. "Like I told him: We'll see where you're at (later), and if you still want to play. If it sounds like he does, we could always revisit that. But those are not conversations we're having right now."

-Vrabel said linebacker David Long Jr., who is scheduled to become a free agent next month, has meant a lot to the team "and I know we'll have conversations with him about coming back to our football team."

-Vrabel said starting spots across the offensive line are wide open, "and I know we're going to find guys that exhibit the way we want to play within the framework of the rules and they finish and they value staying between their man and the quarterback and they finish longer than the guy with the ball. (They have) a level of durability, they can stay on their feet, and they can learn and understand what we have to do, and there's some instincts there."

-Vrabel said assistant Luke Steckel, who moved from tights ends coach to run game analyst earlier this offseason, has accepted a job with the Chicago Bears. Vrabel said he'll begin the process of looking for his replacement. Earlier, Titans assistant special teams coach Chase Blackburn accepted a job as special teams coordinator with the Rams. Vrabel said new running backs coach Justin Outten will be a good addition to the staff while raving about his ability to connect with players. "Good football coach, good teacher," Vrabel said of Outten, who previously served as offensive coordinator with the Broncos. "He turned down some other opportunities and I am excited (to have him)."

-The Titans added "Assistant Head Coach" to the title of assistant Terrell Williams, the team's defensive line coach. "He's very valuable," Vrabel said. "You know how I feel about Terrell and what he has meant to our program since I've been here, the consistency on and off the football field, the relationship and connection he's built with every defensive lineman. … He's a valuable member of our staff and we're lucky to have him."

-Vrabel said things will look different with Tim Kelly as offensive coordinator. Just how much remains to be seen, however. "I wouldn't say there's not going to be a radical scheme change," Vrabel said. "I'd say that's still in the process of being built, and there will be things that are different – that was part of the interview process. There will be some things I really like, and that Tim really likes, and the offensive staff likes that we feel like we do well. And there will be some things that we'll do differently, and we'll have to do better.

-Vrabel said quarterback Malik Willis "dove into the offseason" and he's communicated with the staff about where he's working, and coaches he's working with. "His demeanor," Vrabel said. "Walking through the building and seeing him in the cafeteria, he understands what it is supposed to look like, being a starting quarterback, being a quarterback in this league. You have to be on when you come in the building, it's a certain presence you have to have."

-Vrabel said the Titans will start their offseason program on April 17.

-VrabeI was asked for an update on linebacker Harold Landry, who suffered a torn ACL prior to last season. Here's what Vrabel said:

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