Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel held a day-after-game press conference following a 20-13 season-ending loss in the Wild Card.
Sunday’s loss was a disappointing end to a great season. The Titans won the AFC South, finished 11-5, and had a 2,000-yard rusher.
Here are some of the topics Mike Vrabel addressed to cap off a relatively successful third year of coaching.
Mike Vrabel started the presser by thanking those in the Tennessee Titans’ organization.
This was an unprecedented year in NFL history, and the Titans were right in the thick of it with the league’s first major COVID outbreak in week four.
The Titans managed to navigate through it all to an 11-5 record and a playoff berth.
“I just want to thank our ownership group,” Vrabel said, “For this opportunity to lead the football team. Not the result that any of us wanted, but appreciate their support as we work through a difficult year.”
He thanked the players and fellow coaches for their commitment to the team and the season. Players had the choice to opt-out of the season before the start of training camp.
The 2020 Tennessee Titans defense was straight-up bad in some areas. Third down defense was the most famous of them all.
#Titans‘ final 2020 rankings:
Overall – 3rd Overall – 28th
Run – 2nd Run – 19th
Pass – 23rd Pass -29th
Pts – 4th (30.7) Pts – 24th (27.4)
— John Glennon (@glennonsports) January 4, 2021
In areas where they weren’t outright bad, they still weren’t nearly good enough.
Critics scrutinized Mike Vrabel’s decision not to hire a defensive coordinator because of it. Now that the season is over, the chance to hire a coordinator is now open.
“We have to evaluate every position on our staff as well as on our roster,” Vrabel said, “We’ll do that, and we’ll make those decisions that we feel like is in the best interest of our football team.”
The Titans allowed outside linebackers coach, Shane Bowen, to take defensive coordinator responsibilities without giving him the official title.
Vrabel was adamant earlier in the season that that decision wasn’t a reason the defense was lackluster. Now, he seemed to have realized his decision may have cost his defense a chance at a special season.
“I think this thing kind of took a life of its own,” Vrabel said, “Shane (Bowen) led the meetings, the walkthroughs, and called the defense. I think we get caught up too much in titles.”
“I guess I apologize, clearly didn’t think it would take a life of its own.”
COREY DAVIS OUT OF GAME DOWN THE STRETCH
Late in the game, Tennessee Titans wide receiver Corey Davis was standing on the sideline without his helmet.
Social media went into a frenzy, confused as to why Davis was not in the game at such a crucial moment in a big game.
Ryan Tannehill went on to throw an interception on a pass intended for Kalif Raymond, who fell on his route. Vrabel provided a little insight into why he wasn’t in the game.
“We don’t talk about injuries,” Vrabel said, “If Corey were able to finish that football game, he would’ve.”
It is unclear what the injury was and when it occurred. But the Titans could have used him on that final drive.
FOURTH & TWO, DECISION TO PUNT
Mike Vrabel made a questionable decision to punt on 4th & 2 in his own territory during the Wild Card contest.
With an offense as successful as his and a running back who can easily gain two yards, you would think the usually-aggressive Mike Vrabel would go for the first down there.
Who knows, it could have led to a touchdown or a field goal and made the game a little closer and more comfortable to manage at the end.
TEN decided to punt to BAL from the BAL 40 on 4th & 2 with 10:06 remaining in the 4th while losing 13 to 17.
With a Surrender Index of 138.87, this punt ranks at the 100th percentile of cowardly punts of the 2020 season, and the 99.92nd percentile of all punts since 2009.
— Surrender Index 90 (@surrender_idx90) January 10, 2021
Vrabel was asked about that decision and if he second-guessed it.
“You try to get a feel for the game,” Vrabel said, “We’ve made decisions that have worked out, and that was the one we went with. We always second-guess everything that we do that doesn’t work when we lost the game.”
The Tennessee Titans, for sure, will be back next season. Whether they will be back with the same offensive success and a better defense is left to be determined over the next seven months.