Tennessee Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel
Q. Have you ever been a part of a game like that?
MIKE VRABEL: No. No, but that's the job that we have is to make sure that we find ways to persevere through whatever, play through whatever, whatever situations, whatever weather and in this cases, lightning. That just happens. I thought we handled it well the two times that we had to do it, but in the end, we didn't do enough to win the game. We didn't coach well enough and we didn't play well enough.
Q. What's up with QB Marcus Mariota?
MIKE VRABEL: Right now, he's being evaluated so we'll take a look at where he's at. Took a hit on his shoulder and elbow area, so we'll kind of see where he's at here moving forward.
Q. Was the hit on the uphill RPO where DE Williamd Hayes took him out and what did you think of that?
MIKE VRABEL: I had asked (Referee) Jerome (Boger) and Jerome thought that Marcus was carrying out a fake. We've got to be careful where he carries the fake out and what those guys are going to do. But he said that was legal and if he says it's legal, that's what it is. And we'll get a clarification again, like we always try to do. But we'll see.
Q. Was that the play he got hurt on?
MIKE VRABEL: That was probably the play he got hurt on. He was complaining about it and he stopped after that play. That's something we'll have to take a look at and seeing where Marcus' health is and everybody else's health.
Q. What did you think of the offense even before the injury?
MIKE VRABEL: I thought that there was, on all levels, I thought that there was some glimpses of what we’d like to be. But, again, the consistency is nowhere close to being where we need to be there to compete, which is unfortunate. You only get so many of these opportunities. I've got to do a better job to make sure that we're prepared. And, again, there's times where it looked like we were doing some good things, got some three-and-outs, defensively. Offense, we were moving the ball. We got down in the red zone, got stopped. I felt good about the call. We had repped the play, liked the play, liked the play call and just wasn't able to get in. They made a good play. Sometimes that happens in the National Football League. I felt like we got out of the play what we wanted. Unfortunately, we didn't score. But we'll see where we go against Houston.
Q. TE Delanie Walker didn’t look good. How is he?
MIKE VRABEL: No, I think that … I haven't seen him since he left the field. He's not in the locker room right now and so our thoughts and our prayers are with him. It certainly didn't look good where I was standing and I'm sure it didn't look any better from where you guys were either.
Q. How about the other guys that were injured? T Taylor Lewan and some of the other guys went out.
MIKE VRABEL: Everybody that's injured is being evaluated as we speak.
Q. What did you do during the long breaks and how tough was it to kind of get up each time to come out and play?
MIKE VRABEL: Guys took their pads off, took their cleats off. We tried to game plan. We talked about some things that we needed to fix, talked about some things that we thought we could do, let the guys rest a little bit, eat, stay hydrated. The Dolphins had to do the same thing. So that's how it goes.
Q. How did you think Marcus played before he got hurt?
MIKE VRABEL: Like everybody else. I thought there was times where it looked like he was confident and comfortable, doing some good things. And then like a lot of other players and a lot of coaches, it just wasn't good enough in the end.
Q. Second delay had to be tough. CB Malcolm Butler gets that interception in the end zone, looks like you guys got some momentum going and all of a sudden they just kind of shut it down on you.
MIKE VRABEL: But we took the ball down and scored. We took the ball down and scored. So I give a lot of credit to our offense and our coaches for coming out with that plan. Then we give up the kickoff return, so you really can't … That's what happened. I know we went out there, we scored the next time that we took the ball on the 32-yard line. We went down and scored and we were able to do some things. Unfortunately, there's a lot of momentum involved in football and we weren't able to keep it, and then it was good to see the kickoff return on our own end but we would like to have them and not have that be a swap.
Q. What happened in your mind that you saw that led to maybe the skirmish, the brawl that took place on the field?
MIKE VRABEL: I think I've got to be careful, I've got to take a look at it. But we'll see and I think more will be talked about tomorrow when we take a look at the hit. Was it legal? I don't know. And then probably some things were said after it. I know there were things said on the bench. I've seen that. I've seen that during one of our breaks, obviously. I just think that we got to take care of guys out there and if that's the plan, we just have to be careful. I don't want our team to lose composure. I never want that. I want us to play hard and compete, but I don't want us to be dirty. I don't want us to do anything that costs the team. Hopefully we can be better at that.
Q. You were very good against the run last year. Were you a little bit surprised that they were able to find some success specifically in the first half running?
MIKE VRABEL: I think that they … They had a good scheme. They got us a couple times on a few runs that we had seen and talked about, but they wham us and split us up the middle. It's just, everybody's got to be able to do their job a little bit better. We got to coach it better. That was the key going in. We talk about the keys like we got to stop the run and then when you don't do it, it's hard to say, ‘Well, we lost.’ It's easy to see when you give up 98 yards in the first half and then we played better in the second half, but that's really too late. And we started off good early and then we just had a little lull there, gave up two long scoring drives. We battled back and were able to get a stop, but just wasn't good enough, I think, in the first half.
Q. Did you think S Reshad Jones might have been down by contact?
MIKE VRABEL: I had asked. I mean that's everything I got. The reports that I got from upstairs. And again, that's, that's a change of possession, so I can't do anything. I can take this thing and I can throw it all the way across the field, I look like a moron, okay. But I asked him after the break, I said, ‘Jerome, can you ask them again? We feel like he got touched.’ They looked at it. So there's nothing I can do if they're saying, ‘Hey, looks like Tajae (Sharpe) touched him.’ I'm with you, but the rules are the rules. I can't … As much as I want to throw a flag out and say, ‘Hey, can you take a look if he touched him?’ There's nothing I can do other than mention it to him and I did and he said they looked at it.
Q. Contested catches were such a big theme of the game. How do you think you did on that point?
MIKE VRABEL: I have to look. I have to take a look and watch it on film. There's going to be some throws we would like to have back, be some catches we would like to have back. It's just overall, it's just got to be better. That’s just the bottom line. We'll give them credit, because they played better than us tonight, but we just have to be better.
Q. How did you like the bounce back whether it was a drop or RB Dion Lewis’ run, the WR Darius Jennings return, the RB Derrick Henry run, you got the ball back.
MIKE VRABEL: There's good things. There's glimpses of good football, just like on defense we do a good job on third down it's just you got to get them in third down. We do a good job on offense. We're converting, we're rolling, we're moving the ball, we got some tempo going. And then we get a hold or we get a face mask or we do something that those are going to derail the drive and end the drive. So the consistency, starting with me, has to be better.
Q. How much of the injuries of the outside linebackers play a part in not a lot of pressure?
MIKE VRABEL: Pressure can come from a lot of different places, okay. So the guys are the guys. The guys that we got, that's it. We're going to play the guys that we feel like give us the best chance to win. We know that one way to help the coverage is by having good pressure, so we have to take a look at what we're doing and make sure that we're coaching it better, we're executing it better, and move forward. I think that, again, we'll go down this road all year. The coverage is going to help the rush and the rush has got to help the coverage. I'm affirm believer in that. I've been on both sides of that as a rusher and a guy trying to cover. So that's going to be what we have to do. We got to cover better and we got to rush better.
Q. Do you expect WR Taywan Taylor to make that catch in the end zone?
MIKE VRABEL: I think that our … From my advantage point, I don't, because I thought the guy came early. I asked (Down Judge) Mike (Carr), I said, ‘Mike did you think?’ He said, ‘No, I thought it was bang, bang.’ And I thought the guy came early. But we have to do a better job of executing those and hitting some of those big plays when we get an opportunity.
Q. It seemed like the carries started to ramp up for Dion late in the game. Was that kind of riding the hot hand?
MIKE VRABEL: Sure, that's what you do. I think that we got two good backs and you could see that if we just get Derrick on track – and I know that we got it called back – but if we get him on track and get him going, he can break away from people. We have to see that, we have to appreciate that, and we got to get it blocked up and we got to get it going. But Dion competed like a lot of these guys until the end. When a guy's having some success and kind of feeling his way through there with some good runs, we need to … It's important to stay with him.
Tennessee Titans DT Jurrell Casey
(Run defense early I think they had about 100 yards in the first half. How much of that kind of not set the right tone?) – “Definitely, it didn’t set the tone at all. Our key was to stop the run when we came in here and we wanted to make sure we got that done. We didn’t do that. We let them hit too many big plays. Second half we did a better job, but it was already too late from there. We let them get on us a couple of times and they had control of the ball game.”
(Pass rush had its moments but maybe too infrequent?) – “Definitely! That all goes back to stopping the run. We couldn’t get in pass rush situations. They had the ball 3rd & 3, 3rd & 2, 3rd & 5. When you’re in those situations, you can’t rush the quarterback. We have to make sure we win on the first and second downs to make sure we get a chance to get to the quarterback. We have to take care of the run first and that’s what we have to make sure we improve on next week.”
(What were those delays like to deal with?) – “Rough! Definitely rough! Something I’ve never been a part of. Definitely was a…I wouldn’t say hard experience. At the end of the day, we’re pros. We’re professionals - get warmed up, get back out there, and get the job done. We didn’t do that in the second half. We came out good, then we started to let some things slip away. We have to make sure we come up, and clean this up, and play four quarters a game.”
Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota
Q. How are you doing?
MARCUS MARIOTA: I'm alright. I'm alright.
Q. What happened on that play, the play you hurt your elbow?
MARCUS MARIOTA: Just couldn't feel my fingers, couldn't feel my hand. It was one of those things. Couldn't grip the ball and all that stuff. It happened on that play.
Q. Did you put your hands up to the official after that play? Did you think that was a dirty play?
MARCUS MARIOTA: I thought it was late and low, but that's not a decision for me to make. I was just trying to make him aware of it.
Q. Is there some inherent risk there with that being the RPO-type play where you could be considered a runner and they can hit you different?
MARCUS MARIOTA: I guess so. That's within the rules. But again, it's a referee's determination and I was just trying to make sure he saw it.
Q. You tried to play initially. Did you not feel like yourself when you did make a couple throws?
MARCUS MARIOTA: Yeah, but I mean that's … I'm not going to use that as an excuse. Yeah, I should have probably thought about it hard and made sure that I was making the best decision for the team instead of making that decision later.
Q. How would you describe the day as a whole for the offense? Seemed like you guys moved the ball but probably just not enough points.
MARCUS MARIOTA: Right, and I think when you get down in the red zone, kicking field goals, you can't do that. You got to be able to score touchdowns. And you've got to give credit to their defense, Miami's defense, they stopped us on fourth down. I think that can ultimately determine some of the outcome of the game.
Q. Turnovers, as well?
MARCUS MARIOTA: Yes, for sure.
Q. Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur said coming in the game that indecisive equals ineffective. Did you feel like you were decisive enough?
MARCUS MARIOTA: Yeah, I would say so. Obviously, a couple of those throws got away and turning the football over in this league leads to bad things. And Miami was able to use that and they ultimately ended up winning the game.
Q. Would you have liked to be with some of the receivers? It looked like from time to time maybe there was miscommunication, timing a little bit off.
MARCUS MARIOTA: No, I thought for the most part those guys were where they were supposed to be. I could have done a better job of giving those guys an opportunity throwing the football, giving them a chance to run after it. But again I thought Corey (Davis) made a great catch early on in that third down. Luke (Stocker) made a big play down the field. So really it's on us to be able to be accurate and allow these guys the opportunity to make plays.
Q. What did you think of the hit on T Taylor Lewan and the way the Dolphins reacted?
MARCUS MARIOTA: Yeah, I don't know. You don't want to see that in the game, but I'm glad that he's going to be alright and we'll move forward.
Q. What was it like with the delays and everything that happened that forced this game over seven hours?
MARCUS MARIOTA: Yeah, it was a long day. With that being said though, we got to still do our job and we didn't. Miami came out and made plays and ended up winning the game.
Q. The fourth down play to Corey, is that something you could’ve done differently?
MARCUS MARIOTA: Yeah, for sure. If I give him an accurate ball, I think he probably could have scored. With him having to turn around and come back to the ball really to make that catch ultimately probably ended up losing his momentum which caused it to be short.
Q. For TE Delanie Walker, what's he meant to you and how much is it going to hurt if he's not around?
MARCUS MARIOTA: I hope he gets back as fast as he can. That guy's a stud. He's been Mr. Reliable throughout his entire career and whatever happens we got to have the next guy step up. But hopefully speedy recovery and he'll be back.
Q. Your impressions of Derrick and Dion working together behind you today and how do you think that worked out?
MARCUS MARIOTA: I thought getting those two guys going is most important. Being able to run the football, obviously, will help us out. But I think those two guys did a great job in the passing game as well. We just got to find ways to get those guys touches and allow them to make plays.
Q. How much of a psychological blow is it to you guys losing Taylor and Delanie in a game? I know there's a next man up, but it’s still a bit of a blow to deal with for the offense?
MARCUS MARIOTA: And you got to give credit to the guys who did come in. Blaine (Gabbert) did a good job of coming in and doing his best and that's all you can ever ask. And moving forward, we got to do a good job of preparing and making sure everybody's ready to go and whoever plays just be ready to go.
Tennessee Titans RB Derrick Henry
(How was it getting through the delays, did it affect you guys one way or another. How tough was it getting through those two lengthy delays?) – “Even though there was a delay in the game, we still want to go out there and get going. It’s a tough situation but we got through it. Unfortunately we didn’t get the win, but you know, we’ve got another week to play.”
(With the offensive line injuries you had today and coming in, what are your goals for next week and how you’re going to improve on the running game again next week?) – “Just make corrections from this game and improve throughout the week, just so we’re better next week and get ready to play another game on Sunday against Houston.”
Tennessee Titans S Kenny Vaccaro (transcribed by Jason D. Silver)
(Did it feel like the longest game in NFL history as you were going through it?) – “No. It didn’t. It just felt like it was…it just felt like we had to win a game. We’re here to win it.”
(Was that second delay harder to deal with than the first?) – “No they are all the same. Not really. We had already done it…this was my first time ever going through a weather delay. It didn’t…it didn’t bother us really. It’s kind of weird playing, cooling down, revving back up, playing. It was kind of weird, but that’s no excuse we have to find a way to win that game. ”
(Where do you go from here next week? It was a hard fought game and you were in it. How about next week?) – “Just have to bounce back. Have to respond. We’ve got Houston coming in. That’s a big divisional game. We have to be prepared for it. We have to move on from this, get the corrections, and let’s get it.”
Tennessee Titans LB Wesley Woodyard
(Obviously you have the delays and the weather and all that but also just the plays in this game. The kick return for them. The kick return for you guys. Is this the craziest game you’ve seen?) – “(Opening week man. Everything can happen. Any and everything can happen. Overall we battled but we gave up too many plays that didn’t turn out in our favor.”
(On your side of the ball, they ran it pretty well in the first half you guys seemed to close that off in the second half, but how do you need to bounce back next week?) – “Just being what we’ve been doing this whole summer. Just stopping the run. Being sound in the run fits and just kicking butt, making plays. That’s pretty much it. We missed a couple tackles that first half and we had some penalties that allowed a drive that continued to go, and if you want to stop a running game you have to get off the field on third down.”
(Is it hard not to be disheartened? I know the 24-hour rule and all that, but do you guys need to kind of need to stew in it little bit or do you want to put it behind you already?) – “Every loss hurts. You want to win every game. That’s your goal: To win every game you step out on the field, put your best effort out there so you can win, but it’s going to stink. We’ve got a little plane ride home, a bus ride home to think about what we didn’t do right. . ”
Tennessee Titans QB Blaine Gabbert
(How did you spend that time?) – “The biggest thing is you just have to unwind, decompress. There were so many starts and stops – going out, now we're not going back out, get bumped an hour, that hour gets cut down to 30 minutes. So, you just try to do your best to stay in a positive frame of mind, get ready to go play a football game.”
(When QB Marcus Mariota was initially injured, how do you kind of get yourself mentally ready, not knowing whether he's going to stay in?) – “It's just go time. That's kind of the backup quarterback's job description – be ready in a moment's notice. You have to go in there and lead the football team and try to win the football game.”
(How did you feel like things moved when you had to go dial a play?) – “At the end of the game, I was just trying to push the ball down the field. I had some positive drives going. Can't turn the ball over there. That was a throw I’d like to have back. It always sucks losing, especially when you leave a lot of plays out there.”
(Were there some miscommunications out there?) – “Yes, there were things we're just going to have to work on throughout the week – throwing the ball better, catching the ball better, everybody being on the same page.”
(Do you attribute any of that to this was the first game for this new offense?) – “No, it's just, as a player, you have to be prepared to play week-in and week-out. Those are mistakes that we can correct in the film room and on the practice field this week.”
(Can you talk about the challenge of kind of going forward with maybe a number of key injuries facing the offense?) – “That's just the nature of the beast. There's a 100 percent injury rate in the NFL. You never like to see a guy go down there at the end of the game. We're hoping for the best for (TE) Delanie (Walker). We all know what we saw, that was a bad one. It happens. You just hope it doesn't happen a lot to your guys in that locker room.”
(Did you get a chance to say anything to him? You hate to see a guy like that carted off.) – “Yes. When you have a guy that's so instrumental, not only for this offense and this football team, but this organization, to go down like that in the fashion that he did – I don't want to speak about any injuries or say anything speaking for him, but that's a tough one. It's a tough pill to swallow.”
(On T Taylor Lewan and QB Marcus Mariota, the result of the injuries are kind of questionable. I don't know if you got a look at either of them.) – “That’s just the nature of the game. I'm not going to comment on any of those. I know we don't play a game that way, I know a lot of guys in this league don't play the game that way.”
Tennessee Titans RB Dion Lewis
(For yourself and for the whole offense overall, first game, what did you think?) – “We did okay. We did some good things and some not so good things. We’ve just got to use that as a learning experience, try to get better next week and come back to work tomorrow, get the film corrected, take the coaching, and just have move forward as fast as you can and try to get better every week.”
(Coach started going to you a lot later in the game. Did you kind of feel yourself getting into the groove of those continuous carries?) – “Yes, I just started to get a little rhythm, just trying to get the team to spark, just trying to give it some energy. That’s what my job is, so I’m just trying to provide energy any way I can.”
The Tennessee Titans take on the Miami Dolphins in Week 1 of the 2018 season on Sunday, Sept. 9, 2018 at Hard Rock Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)