TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE VRABEL
On the team keeping its composure after a bad start.
Obviously, that’s critical in this league. It’s critical in life. It’s critical in everything you do that if things don’t go right, they don’t go as planned, that you don’t just give in. You don’t just quit. You keep battling. You stick together and you go out there and you try to fix the issues, and you have faith in each other. There’s a lot to be learned from those types of situations on the field and off the field.
How much of a lift did you get from Kevin Byard’s interception in the end zone?
I think that the red zone defense, the red zone production that we had on offense, that was critical to our game. That was a third-ranked red zone and scoring defense, and to be able to score four-out-of-five opportunities down there was critical. You need some turnovers in this league. It’s hard to play defense without turnovers. It just is. The players are too good. Their quarterbacks are too good. And so anytime you can get some turnovers with Jayon, KB – those were huge plays.
When Mariota took a sack, when you had a time out and came back with a great throw to Darius Jennings, and the great screen…was that as good a two-play sequence as you’ve had all year and how gratifying was it?
When that ball’s in the air and he’s throwing it to DJ, obviously thinking about the one that he wasn’t able to come down with in Philly, so for him to be able to come down with that play, that speaks volumes to Marcus’s confidence in him and Darius being able to take the top off of it and make that catch. It was a good play by the defense. They hit him right as the ball got there and Darius made a heck of a play. When guys go through that type of stuff – they have a mistake, they have a drop, they come back and they work and they stay positive, you’re happy for them. Even you look at Malcolm. They’re good receivers and, second half, you played well. Did a great job down there at the end of the game to be able to deny them the touchdown and play good defense. Jonnu Smith, working hard, comes in there and makes a heck of a play down on the four-yard-line or wherever we were when he caught the shovel pass and made a great catch and a great run to get in, so you’re always happy for the players and just excited to get this win, tonight.
Over about the last six quarters, this offense seems to really be progressing. What’s clicking now that maybe wasn’t before?
I think we’ve been able to run the football at times. We’ve been able set up plays. For offenses to be able to set up plays they’ve got to be able to convert on third down. The complementary plays that you kind of scheme each week, for those that work, you ‘ve got to be able to extend some drives and come back to the same look and run a different play or run the same play. The third downs were critical to extend drives and I thought that we were conditioned. Everybody was tired, tonight. Everybody played hard. Those guys played hard. It was a good defense. Obviously, they’ve got great players on offense.
Is there a scenario where Marcus is keeping that ball or giving it to Dion, or is that a shovel to Jonnu all the way?
I think on a lot of plays we run, there’s a few options. On that one, there’s at least three. We ended up in one of the option’s hand on that one and we’ll kind of move on, look at the other plays we have that have different read elements to them.
What changed in the second half that allowed you to create more pressure and get to Dak?
I think there’s a fine line when you coach guys, pass rushers especially. There’s guys that can scramble. They scare you because they put a lot of stress on the defense when you’re playing man coverage. The guys can break free and they can run and scramble, and so maybe they were feeling their way out a little bit as far as rushing and where they could be and fit and how aggressive they can be. I think in the second half they figured it out.
How much do you hope this that this will be a momentum-building win for you going into the second half of the season?
I think all the wins in this league are great wins. They’re difficult each week. It’s a great challenge to come here on the road in this environment for us to play and our organization to play on Monday Night Football and for a lot of guys to contribute to that win. And hopefully we can get it done in a hurry and we can move on to New England here very quickly.
On playing well in the red zone, both offensively and defensively.
Sure, I can stand up there every week. We have keys to the game what we feel like are things that we have to do. And they buy into them and then they try to execute them and we try to practice them. But any time that you can score touchdowns in the red zone in this league, it’s going to go a long way for you, because our defense was able to get some stops. And nobody hung their head or pouted about missing a field goal or the two turnovers, or whatever it may be. That’s how the games go. There’s a lot of opportunities to come back and make plays and I was proud of these guys for sticking together.
The screen game hasn’t always come easy. What made Dion’s look easy, the 18-yarder for the touchdown?
It was a good call at the right time. All those plays, man, they’re all execution. It’s all about the players. The players are able to get out and get on a second level. Rushers up the field. Deliver the ball where the runner can run after the catch and then get some blocks and then somebody making a move with the ball. That’s what it comes down to. There’s a million screens. Everybody’s got screens and backs, screen left, screen right, jailbreak, I mean whatever it is, it’s a lot of timing and a lot of execution by the players.
When the offense is able to put together drives like that, how much does is the defense able to feed off that?
I think that these guys are very close. I noticed that sometimes when the offense is out there and they’re making plays, I’ll turn around and it will be the defensive guys right there and on the sideline and they’re excited and they’re happy for these guys, each other. Likewise on defense, when the defense is doing good things, there will be some offensive players after they’ve made the corrections. Again, that’s spearheaded probably by the special teams guys.
On Dion’s play over the last couple of weeks.
Yeah, I think that Dion’s helped us and we’ve got to get him the ball. We’ve got to get everybody the ball that we feel like can help us. There are certain plays where we feel like Dion can help us. There’s plays where Derrick can help us, Corey, Jonnu. We’ve just got to find a way to work everybody in and have some balance with how we’re calling the game.
On Taywan Taylor.
Right now, it looked like it was a lower leg that we’ll have to check and see where he’s at.
Is Jack Conklin in the protocol?
As of right now, I would say probably but I need to go back and check and so we’ll see where he’s at after visiting with the doctors.
QB MARCUS MARIOTA
On what’s been happening with the offense
“It’s the guys. We find ways to be efficient and ways to execute. We did a great job on third down tonight and I think we were able to convert our red zone opportunities. If we were able to that I think we can continue to ride to success.”
On if he has reset the expectation on point production
“Every week you want to score as much times as you can. You score every time you get the ball. With that being said, if we just take care of our business and focus on what we can do, for that single play, I think we can do something like this on a weekly basis.”
On his comment about red zone efficiency and third downs and how gratifying was that after tonight’s performance
“It’s nice, it’s something to build off though. I mean we started on opportunities, a couple of third downs, just to get the ball down inside. With that being said, there is always room for improvement and its definitely nice to see what we were able to do tonight.”
On what it’s like to come out with a win
“It’s huge. All you can do is focus on one week at a time. With that being said, being able to get back to .500 was very important. We have another coming up and that the nature of the beast and nature of the business, and we just have to get ready for next opponent.”
On how big of a lift did Kevin’s interception give the team
“It’s was huge. The defense has done an unbelievable job throughout the year in building us up, and they did that again tonight. They found ways to give us plays, and get turnovers. We’ve got to a better job being complimentary and not turning the football over and doing a better job of starting the games faster. But the defense did an unbelievable job in keeping us in and allowing us to get it going.”
On Kevin (Byard) interception celebration
“Honestly I didn’t see it. I was getting ready for the next play.”
On the play call to Jennings and what it took to make that happen
“We kind of seemed to look on an earlier third down, and we thought we would give that a chance. They did some things where they were trying to mug the backer and play down the middle. We thought we could take DJ (Darius Jennings) down the middle and he made a great catch.
On his thoughts on how some of the lesser known receivers did tonight
“All around they did some things that aren’t going to show up on the stat sheets. There was blocking down the field on screens and blocking down the field on the run game that allowed us to be get efficient and get points on the board. Those guys did an unbelievable job and they deserve a lot of credit tonight.”
On the ball leaving his hands and connecting with receivers efficiently
“I think it was a combination of what we’ve done throughout the season. I think we are learning and growing as an offense. That being said we’re all kind of figuring out where those spaces are and who we are sending. Really, it’s when to expect the ball and when to throw it. Again, unbelievable catches on third down a lot of us needing to change. If we can do that consistently, I think we will be alright.”
On him playing on Monday night and getting that extra juice
“It’s special for sure. I mean, all you can really dream about is on Monday night, and it was fun to play and it was a great atmosphere. We had a ton of fans in town, so it was quite enjoyable and I looked forward to it.”
On Dion (Lewis) performance
“Well you all have seen it. He’s so versatile and he can do so much. He’s hard to tackle and he’s always finding way to get him the football.”
On what he was deciding on the shuffle pass
“I was trying to be patient. I thought we could get a chance at Jonnu (Smith) and I owed Jonnu one from earlier. He and those guys found the ball and allowing them to get a chance to make a play, those guys did a great job and so did Jonnu.”
RB DION LEWIS
On the Byard interception: “It was huge. We have a great defense that always makes plays for us. Today we were able to play complementary football and get some scores of the turnovers. That was definitely huge for us.”
On third downs and red zone efficiency: “That’s something we talk about all week. Those were the things we stressed. We hit our marks today. So, we just have to keep moving forward and keep focusing on our keys that help us every week.”
“My job is to go out there and make plays, protect the ball and make plays for this offense. We’re a good team. I try to do a little too much at times, but I think I did ok. I still have a lot of room to improve to help this team be where we want to be.”
On getting back to .500: “It’s huge. To come down here on Monday Night Football after losing three in a row…everybody thought we were going to come here and lose, but we’ve got a great group of guys that play for each other and stick together. It was a huge win. Now we know we’ve got a tough test next week and we will be ready.”
On his workload: “To me, just being involved in the game and them leaning on me, I like that. So, I just have to keep getting better every week and keep showing them I can handle it. My body feels great. I just have to keep going out there and try to get better. I don’t think I played a good game. But we won and that’s all that matters. We still have a lot work to do.”
On if this was a must win: “I felt it was a must win because you don’t want to lose four in a row and you just came off a bye. You’ve got to win off of a bye. You have time off. You have to go execute the game plan and be ready to play. I think we still came up a little sloppy. I think we can be a lot better as an offense by starting faster.
TE JONNU SMITH
On his TD: “It was a definitely a good feeling to get that monkey off my back, but more importantly I helped us get the win. We came out with the win and that’s all that matters.”
“In this business, you’ve got to have a short term memory. Good or bad, you’ve got to have a short term memory in this business. That’s what we did. We took that bye week off, got our minds right, came back and did things the right way.”
On third downs: “That’s the standard of our offense, but the scary part is that we’re so much better…But that’s definitely a good stat to hear. I didn’t know what it was but I thought it was pretty damn good…Our offense is capable of doing so much more. If we stay the course, we’ll be alright.”
More on his TD: “Marcus, he’s a magician. Dion sold it pretty good. They blocked well up front and I got in there.”
WR DARIUS JENNINGS
On his big play: “We had the coverage that we wanted. I was on a linebacker. It was kind of similar to the one at Philly. We dialed it up again. I was just able to make the play this time…Just as a competitor, I want to go out there and make plays.”
On making the catch and taking a hit: “In the heat of the moment, you’re just kind of going off of instincts. I knew someone was probably coming from that side so I was really just trying to catch it and turn my body to brace for impact.”
On the throw: “It was perfect. It doesn’t get much better. He threw it between three people I think.”
“We were able to finish drives this week. Punching it into the end zone helps our whole team out. Putting 6 on the board is crucial. I’m just fortunate to be a part of that.”
OL TAYLOR LEWAN
“It’s a week to week basis. We just have to do a good job on compounding on these good games and getting rid of the bad ones. We’ll continue to push forward and work as hard as we can.”
“Honestly, it’s a relief to win a game. I started to spouting off about respect and then we went 0 and 3. It’s nice to get up to .500. I’ll definitely keep my damn mouth shut."
S KEVIN BYARD
On the interception : “I have to give a shout out to Logan Ryan because he made a great play on that one by undercutting the route, which made Dak throw it up in the air and made me make a play.”
On the celebration at mid-field: “It was just something I thought about at the hotel, just thinking about Monday night in Dallas. Thinking what can I do if I make a play. And it was really just to show the team that we are not scared. We are here to play ball. We are here to win the game. I made the play and I ran straight to the 50 yard line. It was kind of off the wall a little bit.”
On the celebration, part 2: “I just ran to the star to celebrate. I was actually expecting somebody to knock my head off. Then we just started dancing. I was like, if we get to the 50, if we get enough guys to the 50, we are just going to start dancing on the star. It’s just like every game, before every game, we go to the middle of the field and we break it down, just let everybody know we are here to play ball. That’s kind of how I thought about it.”
On whether his interception turned the tide from a ‘rough start’: “It is not always going to be pretty. It is not always how we want it to be when we draw it up on the board. It was all about us sticking together and just making a play. We were talking on the sideline that we just need to make a play to give our offense some momentum. And that’s what we did. Every time we got a turnover, we got a touchdown. It was big today."
On the game: “It was a team effort today. Every time we got a turnover, the offense scored. That is just about complimentary football. That’s what we played today, and that is Titans football.”
CB LOGAN RYAN
On the Kevin Byard interception: “We got a short field there, a quick turnaround. We feel comfortable about our defense. Amari Cooper and Hurns got in a stack. Me and Adoree [Jackson] communicated it. Cooper ran a route. I feel like I did a good job covering it. We had a good pass rush that forced the overthrow. K.B., I don’t know if he was supposed to be there, did a good job being there and making a play on the ball. I think it is total team defense and pass rush, me and Adoree communicating, and K.B finding the ball.”
On the game: “It was of the utmost importance to us. Gotta have it. It was desperation, it was everything. We came out here, we needed to win this game. We knew that. We said that. That was the word of the week, do whatever it takes to win. We are happy to do that. We know we have a big time test ahead of us next week and we are excited.”
On this week being a must-win week: “I told the guys, it is must win. It is what it is. We put ourselves in that position. You are one win in this league from turning things around. We came in here, we believed that we could win, and we played like that.”
LB HAROLD LANDRY
On the atmosphere in Dallas: “It was definitely lit. It was a lit environment. I’m just happy we got the W.”
On being 4-4: “Definitely awesome. We know we needed that win. A must win and we went out and played like it. We have to celebrate this one tonight and get ready for New England.”
DT JURRELL CASEY
On the defensive effort: “ That was huge. We talk about it all year long. Getting turnovers, helping the offense out. … We play complimentary football. K.B. [#31 Kevin Byard (S)], he’s a savage. We call him K.B. the Savage. For him to read that play and go make a big play like that in the back of the end zone was big.”
The Tennessee Titans take on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9 of the 2018 season on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)
The Tennessee Titans prepare to take on the Dallas Cowboys in Week 9 of the 2018 season on Monday, Nov. 5, 2018 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)