Following the Tennessee Titans’ 31-30 win over Minnesota Vikings on Sunday, head coach Mike Vrabel held his usual Monday press conference with the Nashville media. Here are some of the topics he discussed during his presser:
TOPIC: SHANE BOWEN
Titans’ defensive play-caller, Shane Bowen, did not travel with the team to Minnesota due to the NFL’s protocols on COVID-19.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) September 28, 2020
Vrabel held back on giving much information. However, he iterated that they are following all the protocols that the NFL has put in place. Due to contact tracing, this could potentially lead to certain players being put on the COVID-19 list.
“We are following the hundred protocols that they’ve sent out verbatim,” Vrabel said, “We’ll keep you updated on the roster, as it relates to that, and who has to be out and who doesn’t. That’s all I’m going to say on the COVID topic.”
TOPIC: FAST START, WINNING CLOSE GAMES, AND STEPHEN GOSTKOWSKI
The Tennessee Titans are still undefeated at 3-0, and they have won each game by less than three points. They became just the seventh team in the last eight decades to do so.
The #Titans are only the 7th team in the past 80 years to start 3-0 with all 3 games decided by 3 points or fewer.
— Allan Bell (@AllanBell247) September 28, 2020
Vrabel commended his team on battling in the close games and starting fast, something that was a point of emphasis after last season, but emphasized that they have to play better to avoid tight games.
“We’re happy to be 3-0,” Vrabel said, “We have to play better, we have to coach better. Continue to improve, get into a rhythm, start taking advantage of the turnovers.”
The Titans reached the red zone four times early in the game, and each resulted in a Stephen Gostkowski field goal. Gostkowski ended up going 6-for-6 on the day, and kicked the game winner. Vrabel mentioned Gostkowski as being the best player on the field on Sunday.
“Stephen Gostkowski had a special day for us, we needed it. They played really well in the red zone, we did not. He had to kick a lot of field goals. He had three over 50 yards, so really I would say the best player out on the field for us would’ve been our kicker.”
TOPIC: VIC BEASLEY AND DARRYNTON EVANS DEBUT
The long-awaited debut of linebacker Vic Beasley and rookie running back Darrynton Evans transpired on Sunday in Minnesota. Beasley had an eventful offseason hightlighted by him not showing up to camp. When he finally did, he was placed on the non-football injury list.
It was good to see Beasley create some pressure early in his first game as a Tennessee Titan. Darryton Evans, on the other hand, had just three rushes for nine yards. Vrabel wants to eventually get them more involved, and help them find their roles within the team.
“We got to continue to add on to what they are doing,” Vrabel said, “by working them in there, practice more, and expanding their roles. We’ll keep working those guys and keep giving them opportunities to develop roles on our team.”
TOPIC: TAYLOR LEWAN & TY SAMBRAILO
Tennessee Titans left tackle Taylor Lewan left Sunday’s game versus the Vikings early with a shoulder injury. He was listed as questionable, but never returned to the game.
The Titans have leaned on Lewan a lot in the run game, and when they have ran Derrick Henry to his side, they have found success. Without Lewan, the Titans offensive line would be missing its best leader.
Vrabel did not have much of an update on Lewan just yet, though, but he did commend backup tackle Ty Sambrailo, who came in in relief of Lewan, on stepping in and playing well.
“Ty, other than a few plays, did a really nice job,” Vrabel said, “I was proud of the way that he played. It’s not easy against a player like [Yannick] Ngakoue. He jumped right in there, ready to go. I’m sure there are a couple plays he’d like to have back, but I thought he played pretty well.”
TOPIC: ADOREE JACKSON AND ISAIAH WILSON
Adoree Jackson was placed on injured reserve week one, just ahead of the Monday night game with the Denver Broncos. Titans right tackle Isaiah Wilson was placed on the COVID-19 list, and also had a run in with the law prior to the season.
The three week mandate for a player placed on injured reserve is ending soon for Jackson, and Vrabel hopes to eventually have him and Wilson on the field this week in practice.
“I think that we are hopeful that they can maybe practice, we’ll see where they are at.” Vrabel said, “We would really like to see Isaiah [Wilson] and be able to continue to work with him and get him to improve and evaluate him. … Those are two good candidates to have back in practice.”
TOPIC: APPROACHING THE STEELERS
Next Sunday, the undefeated Tennessee Titans will host the undefeated Pittsburgh Steelers. The Steelers are a team that boasts the sixth best defense in the NFL.
“This week’s challenge is Pittsburgh,” Vrabel said, “they bring a fantastic defense, number one in a lot of categories. Their offense has been able to run the football, and has been very efficient throwing it. They bring a lot of problems that we’ll have to be ready for.”
Vrabel’s right. Pittsburgh has been stingy on defense, especially against the run. They have allowed just 162 yards on the ground, which is a league-best number. They have the 13th best pass-defense so far in the NFL as well, and are fifth in the NFL in points allowed per game at 19.3.
Both offenses match up well. Wherever you find the Titans in any statistical ranking, you will find the Steelers not that far away from them. Steelers are 10th in the NFL in rushing yards per game, Titans are not that far behind with 13th. The Titans are 10th in passing yards per game, just seven spots ahead of the Steelers who are 17th.
It’s going to be a tough battle between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers. The Titans offense will need to find a way to move the ball versus a stingy Steelers defense in order to come away with the victory on Sunday.
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