12 topics that stood out from Mike Vrabel’s Monday press conference

Now that Titans head coach Mike Vrabel has had close to 24 hours to review and reflect on what happened during the Titans’ 37-19 victory over the Jaguars, he took the time to answer some questions on Monday.

Here are the 12 highlights that stood out most from Monday’s press conference

A.J. Brown physically responded well to being back out there

“I thought he was okay (physically). I think he came out of it okay.”

Praising Kevin Byard’s impact

“It was great to see. I think he made a conservative effort to try and get to the football with speed. He made a really really excellent play to save a touchdown. I thought he found the quarterback, found the ball, changed direction, went and sold out to save a touchdown.”

Vrabel also said: “He (Byard) took advantage of the turnover there with Elijah (Molden) and then getting the interception at the end. But he’s just been a very calming presence for us back there, he’s got a great understanding of what we are asking him to do, and I thought he played fast.”

What has Harold Landry improved on to make this type of impact in year 4?

Vrabel: “I think the pressure has always been there. You know sometimes I think we get the sack numbers in different ways, but I think that there has been pressure there. You know his best rush yesterday didn’t result in a sack or any kind of statistical thing, I think it ended up in a quarterback scramble where Denico (Autry) tried to hammer the ball out, and the quarterback actually gained like eight yards. But I think it was his (Landry’s) best move: he bent, he cornered, and he reached with that far arm it just happened that the quarterback was able to step up. That’s pass rush in a nutshell. Your best move doesn’t end up being anything that really statistically can be measured. Harolds playing well he’s playing fast, he’s got a good understanding of what we ask him to do.”

Vrabel was asked if soft tissue injuries piling up are alarming, coincidence, unlucky?

“I don’t have an answer. I’m not gonna try to answer that, we have to take care of our body and put ourselves in position to play on Sunday’s.”

Vrabel was asked if he felt sacks are overrated and how he evaluates a pass rushers impact on the game

“I think how much they force the quarterback and affect the quarterback to move and scramble, to step up into other pressure, or to force him out of the pocket.

Vrabel then gave two player examples on different types of impact

“I think Jeff (Simmons) had some impactful rushes, pushing the pocket, (he) tipped the football that normally, or hopefully, pretty soon is gonna get intercepted… Those are the ones that normally get picked off and get fluttered 20-yards into the middle of the field and he had some of those. He caused a holding penalty in the middle of the pocket. So from that regard there isn’t a lot of sack production that he had yesterday but I think when you go back and watch the tape, there was certainly an impact from Jeffery Simmons.

Vrabel (cont.): “And then yesterday,  Harold is the one that had the two sacks that get recorded in the statistical category. So I think there’s a lot of different ways that you can do it (Evaluate the pass rusher), but it’s about the affect that you have on the quarterback.” 

Vrabel was asked how he felt Rashaan Evans was handling the mental aspect of the game

“I that is something that we always have to work on, when we get schemed runs or we get guys moving, flashing and pullers and that is something that we will continue to work on and it has to be better for everyone. In the run game, to play the way that we played yesterday, that’s not acceptable for any of us.”

Vrabel defends the boundary penalty on Trevor Lawrence

“Did it look like he (Lawrence) was trying to get extra yards or did it look like he was going east and west?”

Jim Wyatt responded that he felt Lawrence was trying to get extra yards. Vrabel then responded:

“Did it? I disagree, the league disagrees, and the officials disagree. So you know, we’ve been over this at nauseam, they’re gonna protect the quarterback.”

Vrabel on if he felt pass protection still needs to improve despite being better yesterday

“It can always be better, I’m also pleased that we got open vs man coverage and got rid of the football better too. So make sure you include that in your pass protection notes.”

Vrabel talks about the impact of his rookie cornerbacks 

“Elijah put his face right on the football” in order to force an early fumble. Vrabel also highlighted how both Molden and Caleb Farley have room for improvement despite making some positive plays against the Jaguars on defense and special teams. Vrabel did note that the defensive holding penalty called on Farley that negated an interception was “close”.

Similarly to last week, Vrabel gave minimal update on Julio Jones’ availability for the week

 “We’ll see on Wednesday. We don’t practice until Wednesday.”

It should be noted that he was vague about both A.J Brown and Julio Jones last Monday and then Brown practiced the entire week and played on Sunday. Wednesday will be the real indicator on how Jones is doing.

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