Titans HC Mike Vrabel (9.4.19)

Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel:

On his experience playing good teams to start the season when games start to count:
“I think they are all really good players, and I think that no too much of the fact of the timing of the operation. You have been working together everyday since April 15. I knew that (WR) Odell (Beckham Jr.) obviously was not there for every day in the offseason in April and May, but spending time with him in camp, going against a very good defense. They practiced against the Colts and the things they have done, they have gotten a lot of good opportunities to get to work together.”


On his experience growing up in Akron and now playing against the Browns:

“It is always unique when you go back home as a player and now as a coach to see things kind of come full circle. I lived 18 years in Akron and grew up there as a Browns fan. I was at the last game at Memorial Stadium and then started a career as a professional football player and a coach. There will be a lot of people at the game. It will be an opportunity for me to see some people that I have no seen in a while, but it will be about the players and it will be about those guys on the field. It is not about me heading back into Northeast Ohio.”


On if the Titans had been planning to bring in a new K:

“I think that is something that we have been looking and trying to give (Titans K) Ryan (Succop) every opportunity to get himself and put himself in a position to be able to help us. When it became evident that it was not going to happen in human time when we needed it to, we had to make a decision.”


On if Titans T Dennis Kelley practiced today and his matchup this week with DE Myles Garrett and the Browns DL:

“We have not practiced yet so I can’t tell you if Dennis will be out there or not, but I would imagine that he will be. We will do our best to block them. They are really good players, and we understand that this is a great challenge.”


On his memories of the Browns final game in Cleveland Memorial Stadium:

“I love how they took off the bleachers. You rip them off 12 at a time, carry them all way the down and dump them into the end zone and on the sideline. I think they ended up having to switch fields because I think all the stuff was piling up in the end zone. They were pulling the row of chairs off and everybody would start cheering in the 12th, eighth row and everybody would go crazy when it finally got dumped over onto the field.”


On if he took a piece of the stadium home:

“No, I did not. I did not. One of my really good friend’s dad had season tickets, and we did not take anything.”


On Titans defensive coordinator Dean Pees:

“He loves football. He is in it for the players. He is in it for all the right reasons and helping players. He still loves doing what he is doing. I think he does a fantastic job. Dean being here is an important piece of our staff. It gives us a lot of veteran coaching presence and allows me to spend time with other aspects of the team – special teams and offense and things that I need extensively. With those guys, Dean does a fantastic job over there.”


On how much of an impact the Browns’ DL can have on Sunday’s game, particularly given Titans T Taylor Lewan will not play:

“We have been planning for Taylor not to be here for a few weeks now. We have kind of moved on and we are going to wait until he comes back to touch on it. We understand the challenge and where the strengths of some of these guys are up front for them – Myles (Garrett), (DTs Sheldon) Richardson and (Larry) Ogunjobi. (DE) Olivier Vernon is no stranger to making plays in the NFL. It is going to be a big challenge for us.”


On how he knows Head Coach Freddie Kitchens:

“I met him in March at the owner’s meeting. Seems like a great guy, a no-nonsense guy that is going to have his football team ready.”


On challenges facing WR Odell Beckham Jr.:

“We did not play the Browns last year. We prepared for Odell, but he did not play against us for the Giants. He is talented. He has really good instincts, really good spatial awareness. Great body control, great hands, good after the catch and has speed. Every week in this league is a difficult challenge, and this will be another one for us to be able to cover their skill players – (WR Jarvis) Landry, (TE David) Njoku; (RB Nick) Chubb is a very good runner; (WR Rashard) Higgins has had success, has caught balls and is somebody that Baker is comfortable with. It is always something and this week we are zeroing in on those guys.”


On QB Baker Mayfield:

“We can take a look at all the film. He is a talented, confident player that is accurate, a quick release, throws the deep ball well and is mobile. Those are all those things tough to defend, and when you combine them into one player, that is our challenge this week is to being able to get to defend those things that he does well.”


On the hype surrounding the Browns and challenges living up to high expectations:

“I would have no idea. We are never hyped here at the Titans so I would have no idea.”


On if there are any concerns with Titans RB Derrick Henry’s health and readiness for Sunday after not playing in the preseason:



On if 5-10 years ago he could have envisioned being an NFL head coach:

“Ten? No. I think maybe somewhere, but I was still playing. Five? I think certainly. I think with (Texans Head Coach) Bill O’Brien, I am fortunate to have left Ohio State and moved on to the National Football League and making the transition and seeing what is out there and seeing what else was available in the National Football League and having the chance to be down there with (Texans defensive coordinator) Romeo Crennel and Bill O’Brien. I think that that is a large part of the reason of why I am here now in this positon. I think once I got down there, I figured out NFL coaching and tried to learn from those guys as great examples for me. They helped me extensively.”


On who he will be rooting for between his friend, former teammate and Cincinnati Bearcats Head Coach Luke Fickell or Ohio State, his alma mater:

“I am a BC fan now. That is where my loyalties will be with Boston College. When Ohio State and Cincinnati play, I will watch, but it is hard to root against the guy who was the best man at your wedding, I will say that.”


On Browns coaches receiving insight to the Titans offense from WR Taywan Taylor:
“That happens a lot. They can pick up the phone and call people. Guys bring people in for workouts, give them a lunch and talk to them about where they have been. Players travel and move to teams. I think that happens quite often so I am sure Taywan told them everything he knows.”


On Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick’s influence on his career:
“I think anytime you spend eight years in a place for someone, working for the newspaper or working for the same team, anytime you leave there you are taking some of those influences with you, whether that is from Ohio State or four years in Houston. Those are always things you are going to carry. You are going to take the things you like and sometimes you have some things you did not like and want to do them differently. I think that is natural.”


On the next step for the Titans defense after last year’s performance:

“The next step is the first step. Whatever happened last year or what we did last year is not going to help us on Sunday. We have to take the first step of the season and that is on the road against a very good opponent, a very explosive opponent. I do not have any predictions or any preconceived notions. I want us to be able to get off on a positive note. That is the challenge this week is to not worry about what we did last year.”


On Titans TE Delanie Walker saying the Titans are flying under the radar and the hype around the Browns:

“Anybody’s hype does not concern me, the team or the organization. It does not. We handle it the same way we do with anything else. We come in, we try to meet, we try to practice, we try to improve each and every day and we try to study and learn the opponent, understand how we need to play that specific week to give ourselves a chance to win the game, prepare and go and compete. That does not change for anybody. This week is the Browns. I can’t control what anybody says about the Cleveland Browns or I can’t control what anyone says about the Tennessee Titans. I am just trying to get the team ready.”


On challenges having limited film of Browns offensive players from the preseason:

“I think that is Week 1 of the National Football League. I think if you look around, there are a lot of things that people have not seen. Each week, especially in this first week where teams have been doing stuff and they have some big plays and some things that they are going to try to do that they maybe picked up in the offseason that they are going to do a little differently. That will be the same throughout the week.”


On his days at Walsh Jesuit High School:
“I appreciate the education, the discipline and how it prepared me to move on and to go to college. I am thankful for guys like Gerry Rardin, the football coach there who up until a few years ago was still coaching. He had the opportunity to come down here and visit with us at Tennessee. I am proud to say that I went to Walsh and proud to say that I was coached by Gerry Rardin.”


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