Mike Vrabel held a day-after-game press conference with the Nashville media on Friday morning. The Tennessee Titans were stomped 34-17 by the Indianapolis Colts in a big divisional showdown on Thursday night.
With this loss, the Titans also lost their top spot in the AFC South. The Colts now hold the tiebreaker over Tennessee and sit atop the division.
Here are some of the topics Mike Vrabel addressed.
Kicking remains an issue for the Tennessee Titans, an issue that has lingered for two seasons now.
This is new territory for a franchise that has had its history of great kickers. Veteran kicker Stephen Gostkowski, despite his prolific background, hasn’t been able to be as consistent as the Titans are used to at that position.
For a while it seemed everyone but the coaching staff knew a time for change at that position was needed. However, it finally seems that Vrabel is beginning to realize that.
“Steve’s hit some big kicks for us, he’s missed some.” Vrabel said, “We’re going to have to continue to evaluate that and see what our options are and make a decision.”
Throughout the season, Vrabel managed to maintained confidence in his kicker. But, for the first time, he used the terms “evaluate” and “make a decision” when it came to Gostkowski.
It’s worth noting that the Titans signed kicker Giorgio Tavecchio to their practice squad earlier this week.
#Titans have added three players to their pracfice squad:
-K Giorgio Tavecchio
-OL Daniel Munyer
-DL Miles Brown
— Erik Bacharach (@ErikBacharach) November 10, 2020
RYAN ALLEN/TREVOR DANIEL
The Titans’ most questionable move of the week was replacing punter Ryan Allen with punter Trevor Daniel. Allen had a solid outing versus the Chicago Bears this past Sunday, and looked like a nice replacement for the injured Brett Kern.
Yet, the Titans replaced him with a punter with very little NFL experience for Thursday’s game. Allen had seven seasons of experience under his belt in New England, but Daniel has just 19 games.
The move hurt them badly, as Daniel had a shanked punt that only went for 17 yards and led to a Colts touchdown. Then, he had a punt blocked and taken back for six.
Trevor Daniel with a 17-yard punt 🥶 pic.twitter.com/BeuzVegsvR
— National Football Post (@FootballPost) November 13, 2020
It seems like hang time was part of the evaluation for Vrabel between Ryan Allen and Trevor Daniel for the Colts game.
“We evaluated (Allen) last week,” Vrabel said, “We evaluated both guys, extensively, and we made a decision. We think some of the hang time, that’s part of the evaluation process when you’re talking about kickers and punters.”
“We’re just going to have to keep working and be confident in the decisions that we make based on the evaluation of practice.”
It was a questionable move by the Titans. It will be interesting to see what they do at punter moving forward, or if Brett Kern can get healthy during this mini-bye week.
Derrick Henry is likely about to reach 1,000 yards for the third consecutive season. In fact, he has 946 yards so far through this season.
He is well on pace to retaining his NFL Rushing Champion crown he won in 2019. He will if he can outrun Vikings’ running back Dalvin Cook the rest of the way and, of course, stay healthy.
However, Henry has seen less of the field than he did earlier in the season. He is starting to be pulled on third downs in favor of Jeremy McNichols or D’Onta Foreman.
It could be because the Titans are wanting to reserve him for future games. However, when you’re in a rough patch like the Titans are right now, you want your stars in as much as possible.
Mike Vrabel seemed open to the idea of giving Henry more touches moving forward this season.
“I’m sure that that’s potentially something we can do,” Vrabel said, “We’ve tried to get him some of those screen passes, and try to take advantage of what his skillset is.”
“We’ll try to get our guys the football, whether we hand it to him or throw it to him.”
The Titans, who came into this season undefeated when Henry rushes for more than 100 yards, are now 0-2 since week 8 when Henry rushes for 100 yards or more.
The Tennessee Titans’ schedule doesn’t get easier, especially in the month of November. They visit the Baltimore Ravens next Sunday, then travel to Indianapolis for what could be another big AFC South showdown.
Those two games represent two of the five road games Tennessee has left in their remaining seven. The Titans will need to be road warriors if they want to finish this season on a high note.
“I would say that no matter where we play, we’re going to have to play better,” Vrabel said, “We’re in this thing, but you’re going to have to win a game against a really good Ravens team, and that’s our focus.”
This will be the first meeting with the Ravens since the two teams met in the AFC Divisional Round of the 2019 playoffs. In that game, we witnessed the sixth-seeded Titans go into hostile territory and stun the one-seeded Ravens.
The Tennessee Titans will need to recreate that effort and outcome if they want to keep get back on the right side of the record column. The Ravens boast a really talented team, and winning in Baltimore is never an easy feat.
Featured image by Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODAY Sports