Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel held a day-after-game press conference after their huge win on Sunday. The Titans defeated the Texans 41-38 to clinch the AFC South and a home playoff game.
The Titans will now face the Baltimore Ravens in the playoffs for the second season in a row.
Here are some topics Mike Vrabel addressed.
UPCOMING CHALLENGE AHEAD
On Sunday, the Tennessee Titans clinched the division and a home playoff game. They haven’t accomplished something like that in 12 years.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) January 4, 2021
Although that is a huge milestone to accomplish, the Titans know that shouldn’t be the top goal. Mike Vrabel will make sure his Titans build on that with a successful playoff run.
“It’s important that you play your best,” Vrabel said, “Our first goal is to win the division, host a playoff game, and now our next goal is to win.”
The Titans finished the season 11-5, which tied with the Indianapolis Colts record-wise atop the division. Yet, the Titans owned the tiebreaker over Indianapolis, earning them the division crown.
The Tennessee Titans have yet another match looming with the Ravens.
The trio of matches started on January 11th, 2020, when the Titans won 28-12 over the one-seeded Ravens in the Divisional round. They faced again in week 11 of the 2020 season when the Titans won 30-24 in overtime.
They are set to battle it out in the 2020 playoffs on January 10th at 12:05 pm central standard time.
As they say, it’s hard to beat an opponent three times. Especially three times in one year. Vrabel spoke on yet another matchup with this team, noting how tough it is to beat them already.
“It’s always hard to play and to prepare for a sound, physical football team,” Vrabel said, “We’ll just have to dial into stuff that we needed to improve on and try to take care of the keys as we see are going to be the one that helps us beat the Ravens.”
The Titans will need to be sound defensively against the run game. Running back J.K. Dobbins has built some momentum heading into the postseason.
He’s rushed for over 60 yards in his last three games, including a 160-yard performance in week 17 versus the Bengals.
If the Titans’ defense can get a tad bit better, they are dangerous Super Bowl contenders. That is why many are hoping this team can improve on that side of the ball.
Although we saw them give up 38 points on Sunday, the Titans garnered four sacks and showed some promise in the red zone.
Giving up the big play continued to be an issue on Sunday, and Vrabel said it is something they will have to fix.
“Hopefully, we can stop giving up big plays,” Vrabel said, “Try to make some teams earn it and make some plays along the way.”
Vrabel also noted that the Titans gave up 263 yards in just ten plays. The Texans overcame a 31-15 deficit to take a 35-31 lead late in the game, forcing Tennessee to execute a game-winning drive.
This one will be relatively quick. Mike Vrabel addressed the possibility of Jadeveon Clowney returning for the Titans.
When he heard the question, he seemed taken aback, which confirms the idea of Clowney returning is quite a long shot.
When Vrabel was asked if he was making strides for a return, he looked rather amused and shook his head no.
Needless to say, don’t expect to see Clowney on the field this postseason.
WINNING CLOSE GAMES
It’s the playoffs. That means the Tennessee Titans will find themselves in close games.
The good news is the Titans are 4-1 in games decided by three points or less. So they are immune to stressful endings.
Add to that Ryan Tannehill’s league-leading five game-winning drives, the Titans are dangerous in close games.
Vrabel talked about how his team reacts in those situations.
“We try not to panic,” Vrabel said, “We try to work on executing situations in practice that could potentially come up. Credit the players for having faith to be able to finish close games.”
The Tennessee Titans’ ability to close out games will be vital in the postseason. The first step is always making the postseason. Then from there, anything can happen.
Featured image by Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports