The Tennessee Titans are coming off their most complete game of the season as they smacked the defending AFC Champions back to Kansas City 27-3. There was obviously a lot to be excited and optimistic about, but let’s take a look at what stood out most to Mike Vrabel now that he’s had time to sleep on his teams stout performance.
How does the team stay focused on getting ready for Indianapolis after three straight wins?
Vrabel: “We’ve talked about this before, we’ve talked about momentum that has to really start over and build throughout the week as you prepare for the opponent. I think there’s a level of confidence that can carryover… but as far as momentum, momentum isn’t something that just shows back up on Sunday or whenever you play. That’s built throughout the week in preparation.”
Vrabel was asked to elaborate on the correlation that starting field position has on team success
“I think if you look at the numbers, we haven’t been great. From just some of the turnovers that we had, but I think we are getting back to understanding how to play on short fields offensively, how to force them to drive the ball. Obviously what Brett (Kern) did and the ability to kick touchbacks, Randy (Bullock) and Brett both kicked the ball very well. So that’s gonna be a huge part of who we are going forward.”
Note: The Chiefs never started a drive past their own 25-yard line on the day.
The Titans had 18 pressures and only had to blitz one time, Vrabel was asked if that was the plan to slow down Patrick Mahomes
Vrabel: “Again, the more people that you can put in coverage, the better that you think the coverage should be. I thought there was a lot of good complimentary calls, I thought that we continued to mix it up, I thought the third down was huge for us.
Vrabel also said: You’re taking about a team that had converted 60% of their third downs and guys all did their job. There was some first and second down pressures and there was some things that allowed us to effect the quarterback and that’s what you have to do when you play a great quarterback.”
Vrabel’s Impression of Titans’ ability to get after the quarterback with just four guys
“I think when you get in those types of games, pretty early on their playing pass to run. It was a secondary thing. That’s just how the game went and it was great to see those guys have some success and force the quarterback off the spot, get uncomfortable, be able to hit him try to effect the throws… it was really good to see guys winning some of those matchups.”
What has enabled David Long to take a big step forward this season?
Vrabel: “David really wants to do well, you can sometimes look in a guys eyes and when he makes a mistake, it hurts, it bothers him. He wants to do well, he puts a lot into it. I think he just continues to make plays and be productive, play hard, with energy. It just would appear that he loves playing football… it’s never perfect, he makes mistakes like everybody else. He plays fast, he triggers, he’s been doing a nice job for us.”
What makes Denico Autry unique as a player?
Vrabel: “He’s (Autry) got a versatility to be able to take on blocks, to make guys miss. I think when guys probably see him first-off they see a bigger body player and they may not think he’s athletic. He’s instinctive, really when he’s won, he’s won from a multiple different moves.”
Vrabel was asked if there are any benefits to having familiarity with a division rival like the Colts
“I think the Colts have familiarity with the Titans, and the Colts have familiarity with the Titans. They’ve played well, we saw them in the game against the Ravens that they were playing so well in. And last night, and what they’ve done since they played us. They’re a football team that continues to improve, I hope that we’ll continue to do the same thing.”
What’s been the key to Tennessee’s efficient red-zone defense after holding Buffalo & Kansas City to 2/8 over their last two games?
Vrabel: “Those are areas, those scoring areas and the possession downs on third-down that when you’re able to do that and you’re able to force teams that are used to scoring a bunch of points and force them to kick field goals, that’s probably somewhat deflating for them.
Vrabel also said: “Our guys have done a nice job, credit to the players understanding what’s going on each week… that’s going to continue to be huge, if teams are going to get it down there, can we force them (opposing offenses) to try and make field goals.”
Evaluating Mason Kinsey’s decision to let ball bounce on first punt return attempt
Vrabel: “we would like any returner to try and catch the ball while it’s in the air… but he fair caught the other one in the other opportunity that he had.”
Vrabel was asked how satisfying it was to see players like Kevin Byard execute things they’re coached on such as punching the ball out
“I think just looking for opportunities. Kevin has played fast, and looked for those opportunities, and tried to come to the ball and tackle. He tried another one on their sideline with the quarterback as well. Those are what we have to show is the ones that they maybe don’t get (the ball) out but they’re making an attempt. I think those are the ones you have to continue to preach… We’ll continue to show them all those examples.”
Evaluating Dillon Radunz’s first live action
Vrabel: “I thought he did okay, it was good to see him out there and good for him to pop in there and actually play both sides, played both guard spots. I Saw him finish a couple times where he tried to push the pile, push the guys, and then he had some plays we have to get corrected, some technique things. But he was locked in and ready to go, he had a look on his face that he was ready to go if needed to and there wasn’t any hesitation when those guys go down.”
Biggest transition from playing aerial attack offenses like Buffalo & Kansas City to a ground attack team like Indianapolis’
Vrabel: “That will be something that we have to concentrate on, really focus on their two backs. It’s not like they don’t have other players, I just know that (Nyheim) Hines has been very productive against us in the past and (Jonathan) Taylor has a very good ability to run with power and speed… something that we always talk about is now we’re focusing on the Colts and their personnel and what their style is and how they want to play the football game as opposed to the past two teams we played.”
Will Vrabel address his team about the possibility of creating a size-able lead on the division with a win on Sunday?
“I think anytime you play a division opponent, I think you have a chance to do that. You can make up a lot of ground or you can probably put a little bit of separation between you and them by whether you win it or lose it. So I think that’s always something that we talk about in critical in-division games.