NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Vrabel held a press conference on Sunday at Saint Thomas Sports Park, one day after the team’s 22-17 preseason loss to the Patriots.
Next up for the Titans is the Pittsburgh Steelers, in preseason game No.3 on Sunday at Nissan Stadium.
Here’s a look at some of the hot topics from Sunday's presser:
Titans running back Derrick Henry hasn’t practiced since leaving Day One of training camp with an injury.
Henry has been seen on a side practice field working, and rehabbing the injury. Last week he made cuts with a football in his hands, and he caught some passes thrown by General Manager Jon Robinson. He's done some work in a sandpit adjacent to one of the practice fields.
But will he play in the preseason? And, does he need to?
“We take all of these situations pretty much individually and we’ll continue to monitor him and see where he’s at,” Vrabel said of Henry. “The whole goal is to make sure Derrick is going to be with us, and he is going to be a large part of what we do.”
Henry ran for 1,059 yards and 12 touchdowns last season, with most of his success coming late in the year, in December.
“He’ll have to start the year the way he finished it last year,” Vrabel said, “and whether that means playing in the preseason or not I’m not really sure. … Some guys play in the preseason and some guys don’t. It all just kind of depends on what each guy needs.”
What’s up with Harold Landry?
Titans outside linebacker Harold Landry has been practicing, but he hasn’t played in either of the team’s first two preseason games.
Vrabel said that’s by design.
“It’s a long season,” Vrabel said, “and we’re going to need Harold – we’re going to need everybody. So it’s kind of by design to make sure he is getting the work in that he needs and we are getting everything we need to see from him. Depending on how much practice he gets this week we’ll see where he’s at Sunday night.”
Vrabel said Landry, the team’s second-round pick in 2018, “has been good.”
“He’s improved at the point of attack, some of the run game technique stuff,” Vrabel said of Landry. “And probably some of the added work in the weight room has probably helped him in that regard, too.”
Right Guard Spot
Kevin Pamphile started at right guard on Saturday night, opposite left guard Rodger Saffold.
Jamil Douglas started at left guard in Philadelphia, opposite Pamphile, and he’s worked plenty at right guard in camp.
Nate Davis got some work at right guard earlier this month as well, before suffering a setback. He hasn’t practiced since. Corey Levin has worked some at guard, but Vrabel said his strength is at center.
So who is going to start at right guard – opposite Saffold – in Week One at Cleveland? And when might the team decide?
“I’ve liked the competition, and I think that they all are competing,” Vrabel said. “We are just trying to figure out the best lineup. We’ll probably let it go another week and try and figure something out as we wrap up the Pittsburgh week.”
David Long’s Night
Titans rookie linebacker David Long was very active on Saturday night.
The sixth-round pick from West Virginia finished with a team high eight tackles, and a quarterback hit. He led all defenders with 60 snaps played on defense, along with 13 snaps on special teams.
“He is active and he is instinctive,” Vrabel said of Long, “but like a lot of young players needs to clean up some of the details with alignments and staying focused on his job, on his assignment.
“But I think the one thing that we recognize is that he is instinctive and he will run and he will tackle, and those are things that are sometimes hard to coach. So now we just have to coach him and he has to be receptive of the coaching on some of the details.”
Play-time vs. the Steelers?
The Titans starters are expected to get their most extensive playing time of the preseason on Sunday night.
Game 3 of the preseason is when teams regularly play their starters the most, and that figures to be the case in Tennessee, especially since preseason game No.4 at Chicago on the following Thursday.
Vrabel didn’t give any solid hints on Sunday, however.
“We can play them as long as we need to or as long as we feel is best for them and is best for the team,” Vrabel said. “Play-time will get determined later on in the week as we move forward and see who is available and also how much work they got in practice.”
Titans receiver Adam Humphries went through a pre-game workout on the field at Nissan Stadium, and he was in uniform.
But Humphries didn’t play on Saturday night after leaving practice early during the week with an injury. Vrabel said the Titans held Humphries out by design. After watching him in warmups, his injury doesn’t appear to be serious.
“We wanted him to go through the process and just kind of get used to what we do for the pregame,” Vrabel said. “We’ll see where he’s at this week and hopefully get him some more work.”
The Titans will use Monday to clean up some of the mistakes from Saturday night’s game vs the Patriots.
The team also plans to practice on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday leading up to Sunday’s game against the Steelers.
The Tennessee Titans take on the New England Patriots in the second preseason game Saturday night at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donald Page)