NASHVILLE – Titans coach Mike Vrabel held a press conference on Friday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team’s 20-7 loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars.
Next up for the Titans is a game against the Atlanta Falcons on September 29.
Here’s a look at some of the hot topics:
Marcus Mariota and the QB Spot
Getting this out of the way first: Vrabel said the team isn’t considering making a change at the quarterback position.
After the game, Vrabel was asked how close he was to putting back-up Ryan Tannehill into the game and he responded, “Not very.”
He was asked again Friday if he's considering making a change at the position.
“I don’t think that’s something that we’re looking at right now,” Vrabel said.
Marcus Mariota completed 23-of-40 passes for 304 yards against the Jaguars, but most of his success came in the second half, when the Titans were playing catch up.
Mariota completed 17-of-24 passes for 242 yards in the second half after going just 6-of-16 for 62 yards in the first half.
“I thought there were times when he competed,” Vrabel said of Mariota. “He took some shots, and was able to throw the ball, deliver it and be decisive. And there were times that there were some plays that we’d like to have back at every position. I know that he hung in there and he competed … and we’ll get him coached up on some things we’d like to see improve.”
The Titans drafted guard Nate Davis in the third round of the NFL Draft, but he’s been inactive the first three games.
Vrabel indicated on Friday that Davis could be in the mix moving forward. Davis missed a significant amount of time in training camp, which put him behind.
Jamil Douglas has started the first three games at right guard. Kevin Pamphile, who was scheduled to be the starter, has missed three games because of a knee injury that’s kept him out of practices.
“I think Nate continues to improve and try and make up on the ground that he wasn’t able to take advantage of in training camp,” Vrabel said. “He is certainly somebody that we have to start to look to work in there.”
All the Sacks
Mariota was sacked nine times on Thursday, including eight in the second half.
Vrabel said it was a combination of things, from technique to communication issues to guys just getting beat on the offensive line. There were other issues as well, he said.
Vrabel said the Jaguars were in a position to blitz the Titans because of their lead, and the team didn’t always handle it well.
Vrabel said in some cases, receivers weren’t open, resulting in Mariota being forced to hold the ball. Sometimes, the QB could've gotten rid of it sooner.
“They were able to bring pressure, and a lot of it,” Vrabel said of the Jaguars. “There were times when we picked it up … and converted. But there are times where guys are in matchups where we didn’t win, and there were times when we can throw it away. That’s how it is every week if you take a sack – there’s one of those two things that are going on.”
Evans Status, and Injuries
Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans left the field on a couple of occasions banged up.
But he missed just one play, playing in 53 of the team’s 54 snaps.
“I felt like Rashaan played really hard, and he played fast,” Vrabel said. “And sometimes when you do that you get banged up a little bit. But I’m confident that he’ll be OK.”
Running back David Fluellen, linebacker Wesley Woodard, defensive back Chris Milton and Pamphile all missed Thursday’s game with injuries and now have extra time to heal.
Malcolm Butler’s Night
Titans cornerback Malcolm Butler was in coverage on some big plays for the Jaguars, including one of their touchdown passes.
He was also credited with five tackles, and he showed up in several instances with some nice open field tackling.
“He competed,” Vrabel said of Butler. “He made a good tackle on (Leonard) Fournette, stayed up, not diving. He competed on those 50-50 balls. I love his effort and competitiveness. Maybe some things we can clean up down the field as far as trying to disrupt the ball as opposed to trying to go for an interceptions.
“But I just love the way Malcolm competes.”
The Titans now have extra time to get ready for their next game – in Atlanta, a week from Sunday.
The team has now lost two straight games after a season-opening win in Cleveland.
“I think the accountability and the fundamentals is something that we really have to focus on today and over the weekend, especially on Monday with the extra day of practice,” Vrabel said. “I think that is what the message is going to be to the team. We have to take accountability for our choices, our actions, coaching and playing. And we have to improve our fundamentals.”
Vrabel said he’s confident the Titans won’t point any fingers when dealing with adversity.
“There’s evidence of really good football,” Vrabel said. “We have to clean up the little things and understand it is not one person. We are never going to be about one guy. It is going to be about the team. We have great dealership here … and it’s about trusting the leadership and trusting the process.”
The Tennessee Titans take on the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 3 of the 2019 NFL season on Thursday Night Football.