The Tennessee Titans (10-5) get set to host the Miami Dolphins (7-7) in a crucial AFC showdown between two playoff hopeful teams.
The Titans have the chance to officially clinch the AFC South with a victory on Sunday and could possibly end the weekend as the 1-Seed with a little help from the Cincinnati Bengals.
The Titans have been off since their victory over the 49ers last Thursday night so let’s take a closer look at what Mike Vrabel had to say following his teams mini bye week.
What’s stood out about the Dolphins over this seven game winning streak?
Vrabel: “I think that in these last couple games, when they’ve won, they’ve taken care of the football and they’ve created a bunch of turnovers during that stretch… I know Brian (Flores) and I know the consistency that he preaches, it looks like that’s starting to pay off now. They’re not opposed to playing close games and are very multiple on both sides of the football. It will be, like it always is for us, about taking care of the football. They’ve caused 12-13 turnovers the last six weeks.”
How much of a difference has Bud Dupree made?
Vrabel: “he’s factored in some plays. I think there’s a lot of things that he’s gonna have to continue to improve on. Buds missed a lot of individual time, I believe that’s critical, but he’s playing with a speed and he’s chasing, hopefully he can continue to learn and study the opponent each week.”
What is Tua doing that’s made him complete passes at such a high rate and are there any challenges to playing a left handed quarterback?
Vrabel: “I think we’ll have to (prepare differently) probably on some of the RPOs, or some of the throws that normally a right handed quarterback would make… His (Tua’s) accuracy has come down to him being very decisive with the football. Getting it out of his hand, knowing where to go with it.”
How much has Shane Bowen evolved with his growing responsibilities in year two?
Vrabel: “I think as it always is, it’s a group effort. It’s the coaching that comes together with a common goal that when they leave that room that everybody is on board to teach and install the same things. I think that it’s a testament to the players like it always is. But I think each week we try to do everything we can to give our players a great opportunity to know what to do going into the game.”
Does Vrabel agree that numbers don’t tell the story about Ryan Tannehill’s season? Also, how would Vrabel describe Tannehill’s season
“Well I think our focus is on the Dolphins. I love Ryan, I love who he is, I love his toughness. I think we can all look back to Thursday night and see that when there’s a clean pocket, he made some really good throws. It starts there, it starts with protection, it starts at giving him a pocket to stand in and step up and deliver passes. I think that was evident. It is a group effort, there are things that Ryan has to improve on and we are gonna continue to coach him on. But his toughness is second to none.”
What’s been the Titans’ key to limiting great safeties in the past and how do they plan to approach their plan to stop Mike Gesicki?
Vrabel: “I actually recruited Mike when I was at Ohio State, I remember going and seeing him in high school and I know he’s battled through some injuries but he’s turned into a really nice player. He runs the entire route tree, he’s a very fluid mover, and his catch radius is probably second to none… As far as defending him, that will always change based on the call or based on what we are gonna do based on the game plan.”
Follow up: How well has Dane Cruikshank done against tight ends?
Vrabel: “He (Dane) has really accepted that challenge, it’s always good to see guys when you give them a role and it might seem like a small role, or a role on third down, but he has done well.”
How are the offensive linemen who have COVID doing and any chance that they could be back by Sunday?
Vrabel: “we’re dealing with it like everybody else is. Trying to do what’s best for the player and make sure that their health and safety is monitored and taken care of and that their families health and safety are taken care of. And I would say that we are hopeful that we get some of those guys back.”
Is having a late bye week paired with the extra days off after playing last Thursday night going to be beneficial for the Titans going forward?
Vrabel: “only if we take advantage of it. Only if we take advantage of it and can use that extra time to get rest to make sure that we are sleeping and that our nutrition and conditioning are on point. We have some guys that have been out and as we get them back, (make sure) that their conditioning is at a level that we expect it to be to allow them to play with the effort and finish that’s expected of our football team. So I hope that it can be an advantage, I hope that it can help us if we take advantage and do the right things.”
What are guys who are on the COVID list able to do while they’re away from the team?
Vrabel: “They check in with the trainer in the morning, they call and check in. There’s a testing cadence, they pull up, they stay in their car and then they are tested and go home… They zoom meet in all three phases and the ones that are having no symptoms, they’re starting to work out or based on how they feel, trying to do some things that would normally help get them up and moving around.”
Is anyone who’s still on the injured reserve list have a chance to return to practice this week (AKA Derrick Henry)
Vrabel: “Not that I know of right now.”