The Tennessee Titans competed in their second game in just five days on Sunday, and it ended with a dramatic overtime win over the Houston Texans.
A big divisional win did not come without a cost, as left tackle Taylor Lewan went down with an injury. Vrabel addressed that, and more, in Monday’s day-after-game press conference.
HANDLING TAYLOR LEWAN’S INJURY
Titans left tackle Lewan announced on Twitter that he suffered a torn ACL versus Houston and will miss the remainder of the season.
I wanted to let everyone know I got an MRI today. I Tore my ACL yesterday against Houston. Don’t feel sorry for me, I’m going to handle this rehab like a Pro and come back better than ever. Thank you @Titans fans for your support. #NoBadDays
— Taylor Lewan (@TaylorLewan77) October 19, 2020
Vrabel addressed how the Tennessee Titans may go about replacing the Pro-Bowl left tackle moving forward.
“We’ll get the next guy in there and we’ll see what’s best for the team,” Vrabel said, “We’ll try to move forward with the next guy in there.”
As far as who’s next, Ty Sambrailo and Isaiah Wilson comes to mind for potential replacements.
“Ty (Sambrailo) has played in this league,” Vrabel said, “He’s played multiple positions. He’s got versatility. I thought he settled down and played well like he has in the past.”
“To Isaiah (Wilson), we haven’t practiced much. We got to get out and practice and evaluate where that is this week, quickly, and see where he can help us.”
Tackle Dennis Kelly, who has been a versatile piece for the Titans, is a player the Titans could move over to left tackle to replace Lewan.
“We’ll go through all those scenarios and see what’s best for the team.”
HOW CLOSE IS ISAIAH WILSON?
The Tennessee Titans drafted tackle Isaiah Wilson in the first round this year, and Wilson has been quite the project.
He has been on and off the COVID list, and has run into trouble several times since arriving to Nashville.
Consequently, Wilson has had little time to practice and develop, and now that the Titans are down Lewan, it may be time for him to step up. Yet, Vrabel isn’t judging him based on the past. Instead, he’s ready to move forward.
“I’m excited to see where he’s at now,” Vrabel said, “then we can probably practice, put a couple days together, and see what that looks like. Evaluate him from this time going forward.”
“He’s in shape, he’s conditioned. He made a commitment in that regard. So now we’ll just have to see the next step.”
A bumpy start to his rookie campaign makes you wonder if he will even see the field this season. It wouldn’t be the first time in the Jon Robinson era that a first round pick has barely seen the field in his first season, as both Jeffery Simmons and Corey Davis missed significant time.
But, Vrabel is confident we will see Isaiah Wilson help out in some way in 2020.
“I think that the commitment that he’s made since being on the reserve list has been positive,” Vrabel said, “Now we just have to take it to the next level of going out and executing on the football field and practicing and knowing what to do.”
12-MAN ON THE FIELD PENALTY
Mike Vrabel has been praised on social media for being a “genius,” after reports surfaced that he intentionally sent an extra player on the field to draw a penalty and stop the clock to save time without burning a timeout.
Houston went on to score, but Tennessee was able to march down field and tie the game with about four seconds to spare.
Here is the sequence. It’s 2nd and 1. Odds of Houston converting either on this down or the next is astronomical. Joseph is confused looking to the sideline and Vrabel is telling him “it’s ok” and then does a sales job to make sure the ref sees it. https://t.co/ZFJzQJC5II pic.twitter.com/EWuOhk5J4U
— Mike Herndon (@MikeMiracles) October 18, 2020
But of course, in a very politician-like manner, when he was asked if it was intentional, Vrabel dodged the question.
“You know, we have to do a better job with penalties,” Vrabel said, “we have to be better at all areas and penalties are one thing we focus on.”
This isn’t the first time Vrabel has taken advantage of loopholes in the rule book. He once angered his former coach, Bill Belichick, by taking delay of game penalties in the fourth to run down the clock, and he pulled the same 12-man on the field trick versus the Jets in 2018.
PREPARING FOR THE STEELERS
The Tennessee Titans will be hosting the 5-0 Pittsburgh Steelers this week. This is a game that should’ve happened two weeks ago, but was postponed due to the COVID outbreak that transpired on the Titans roster.
The Titans will need all their weapons ready for this one, as Pittsburgh is coming in red-hot with an emerging rookie in Chase Claypool and a scary defensive front that stifles the run consistently.
The Titans could use Corey Davis to help takeaway some attention from A.J. Brown and give Tannehill another weapon. Mike Vrabel provided some good news regarding Davis during the presser
“I do believe that Corey should be off (the COVID list) today or tomorrow, past the ramp up period and the cardiovascular evaluation,” Vrabel said.
The Titans struggles in the secondary was apparent on Sunday. Getting one of their best corners back in Adoree Jackson would help bolster the defense tremendously.
Jackson was placed on injured reserve in week one, and it’s been well over the three week mandate in which a player has to stay on I.R., so could Jackson return this Sunday versus Pittsburgh?
“Adoree is working his way back,” Vrabel said, “Hopefully we will see where he is on Wednesday. He did some work today with the trainers.”
“We will see how he recovers, and hopefully he can transition to doing some stuff on Wednesday and if he does we’ll see where he’s at.”
CHALLENGES PITTSBURGH PRESENTS
Regardless of whether they have Adoree Jackson, the Tennessee Titans need to be ready for what Pittsburgh will bring to Nissan Stadium.
“They are well-coached, they play well, and it’s been tough for people to run the football on them,” Vrabel said, “It will take all eleven. We’ll have to give them a good plan and make sure they understand it. Go out and execute.”
The game will be a test for both teams, and it should be an exciting one. The Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers are the only two undefeated teams remaining in the AFC, so this one is for the spot at the top.
Featured image by Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports