NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel, QB Ryan Tannehill and safety Kevin Byard held Zoom press conferences Saturday morning to give updates on the team’s return to the practice facility following an outbreak of COVID-19.
These were the four most important updates from those sessions.
1. Protocol Review
The biggest question facing the Titans entering this press conference was whether the players who participated in in-person practices on Sept. 29 and Sept. 30 knew that holding those practices was a violation of NFL protocol.
Vrabel and Tannehill both deferred their comments on the matter until the NFLPA finishes its review of the situation.
“We’ve been completely transparent with the NFL and the NFLPA during this entire process, and we’re going to wait for their summary before commenting further on any of those discussions,” Vrabel said.
It’s unclear when exactly that summary will be completed and published.
2. Injury Update
Not only have nine Titans players tested positive for the coronavirus over the last two weeks, but the team has several players who are dealing with injuries.
One of those players, CB Adoree’ Jackson, has already been ruled out for the Titans’ game on Tuesday against the Bills.
“Adoree’ is still on I.R., so that would make him unavailable for the game and not available for practice,” Vrabel said.
Other players to monitor as the Titans begin practicing again are WR A.J. Brown, who hasn’t played since Week One because of a knee injury, and LT Taylor Lewan, who left the Titans’ most recent game with a shoulder injury.
3. Some Players Could Be Coming Back
When the Titans play the Bills on Tuesday, it will have been 14 days since the team’s first cases of COVID-19 were announced.
That means that the players who joined the COVID-19/Reserve list first, LS Beau Brinkley and DL DaQuan Jones, could be cleared to play.
However, there are important hurdles to clear before that happens.
“We want to make sure that they are going through the protocol and cardiovascular screening before doing that,” Vrabel said. “That’s going to be something that we’re going to have to look at, and that will start today for a few of those players.”
Brinkley has been the Titans’ long snapper since 2012 and has never missed a game. Jones is a starter on the defensive line.
4. They’ll Need Help From Unknown Receivers
In addition to A.J. Brown’s injury, the Titans have had three wide receivers—Corey Davis, Adam Humphries and Cameron Batson (practice squad)—test positive for COVID-19.
As of Saturday, the team has just two healthy receivers on the active roster: Kalif Raymond and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine. Before Tuesday, they’ll likely supplement those two players by bringing practice squad receivers Chester Rogers and Cody Hollister up to the active roster.
Having so many inexperienced receivers could be a strain on QB Ryan Tannehill, but he’s ready for the challenge.
“It’s a big opportunity for those guys,” Tannehill said. “I’ve had a ton of confidence in them since Training Camp. I’m excited to see what they do on Tuesday.”
Cover image: Isaiah J. Downing / Brad Rempel