The Tennessee Titans are coming off a two point victory over the New Orleans Saints to get them to an 8-2 record. This is the best start the Titans have had to a season in the Mike Vrabel era and is the best start to a season since 2008.
The Titans have a commanding 3.5 game lead on the AFC South and are 1.5 games ahead of the rest of the conference. Tennessee is the only eight win team in the conference, in fact, no other AFC team has more than six wins outside of the Titans.
Theres a lot to be excited and optimistic with this Titans team but also some areas of concern. Let’s go ahead and take a closer look at what Coach Vrabel had to say on Monday following his teams sixth straight victory.
What influences Coach Vrabel that makes him so successful in being able to overcome adversity
“Growing up, things don’t always go well. My dad having been a coach, (being around) losing games, having players injured, being around that stuff as I was growing up. My own self dealing with injuries or adversity. Having mentors or people that are influential to you in your life as you grow up. Try not to focus on things that happen in the past or things you can’t control in the future and we always just try and get back to center… And then when the adversity hits, you have a place base. You have a place to be grounded and focused.”
Balancing the need to correct A.J. Brown’s recent drop issue without making it a big deal to the point where he’s overthinking each catch
Vrabel: “I think the quarterback could have probably helped him out, I think that was behind him. The one you’re probably referencing. I think we always have to help the quarterback out, the quarterbacks gotta try to help the receiver out, the line has to make sure we have a pocket to throw from. So, we have to catch them all, we have to focus. A.J. Had some company, I don’t think he was alone, we did have some drops that need to be corrected and if they are we score touchdowns, we get first downs. That’s something we’ll always keep working on.”
How has Ryan Tannehill handled the revolving door of injuries?
“Ryan is obviously our leader, he’s our quarterback, we”ll go as he goes.”
Update on Bud Dupree
Vrabel: “We’re still continuing to evaluate him.”
Biggest improvement with Monty Rice after his 10-tackle performance?
Vrabel: “He (Monty Rice) first started to make an impact on special teams. I referenced early on in the season how well he was doing, especially on the punt return… then he made some tackles on kickoff, then he really started to build some confidence there. Then he got the opportunity to play linebacker
Vrabel also said: “Yesterday was another step, it was another game that he played a lot of football for us… he is continuing to improve, and hopefully we can start to really see some more progress. Just gotta keep stringing a couple weeks together here.”
What can Chris Jackson do to bounce back from his down game?
Vrabel: “I think everybody has days like that. They ran some good routes on him, but just staying patient in man coverage, staying square, playing to your leverage and I’m confident that Chris will get back to that.”
Is there any concern that at some point injuries will become insurmountable?
Vrabel: “No, if I had a concern who would I tell? Stretch? *chuckles* When you (as the head coach) don’t panic, there’s a tendency for everybody else not to panic. So find out who we have and find 48 guys that will help us win on Sunday.”
NOTE: The Titans have used 82 players this season, the league record for an entire season is 84.
Mike Vrabel praises A.J. Brown’s willingness to share his story
“Well I appreciate A.J.’s courage and obviously the conversations that I have with the players, I’ll keep between us. But I do appreciate his courage and willingness to share that message… I’m glad that we have been able to provide a safe space for most everybody that’s been willing to reach out… it’s part of our job to make sure they can deal with the stresses of life, the stresses of professional football…”
Vrabel also said: “Hopefully his message can help somebody else feel comfortable to seek help, to get things off their chest, to be able to talk through things. I think that’s a great example.”