TITANS HEAD COACH MIKE VRABEL
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
November 28, 2021
MV: I think you're always obviously disappointed, frustrated when you lose. We did some good things. We did some obviously things that are going to get you beat. That is somewhat frustrating. Can't go on the road, especially against a good team, and do those types of things and have penalties and start drives on the 10-yard line. Penalties on special teams, turnovers. So you don't have to look too hard on why we lost.
Q: Special teams really put you in the hole a couple times there. What was going on with those kinds of things?
MV: I guess there was a hold. I guess we held, and then I guess the gunner was shaving towards the line of scrimmage. I think they explained the penalties out on the field.
Q: How much time do you feel like the team needs to reset and get healthy?
MV: I guess that's where we're at. We've got a bye. We've got to get healthy mentally and physically. And get back to playing football how we know how to play it, taking care of the football, playing complementary, knowing the details. A lot of things to improve.
Q: Fumbles uncharacteristic of the team generally.
MV: Yeah, we got all three backs fumble today. So we got to take care of the football.
Q: When you say you want your guys to get healthy, could you kind of elaborate?
MV: Yeah, you know what I mean? We've lost two games in a row. We lost two games in a row. We lost at home. Came on the road and played very competitively for the first half. They're disappointed. Obviously, the way that the game went in the second half, a lot of these guys have been grinding through, pushing through. It has a lot to do with mental health of dealing with injuries and dealing with things. This is a good time for us all to reset and focus on this football team and getting healthy in all aspects.
Q: What was the difference with the run game, 270 yards. What were they able to do offensively to get points while really struggling with the ball in the run game?
MV: They were able to throw it. Complete passes. We didn't rush well enough and cover well enough.
Q: Passes over the middle for a rookie quarterback, it seems like you had a lot of opportunities. Is that a way for him to kind of get in rhythm that you guys were trying to find ways to get on him?
MV: I don't think we did enough to disrupt the middle of the pocket. Give them credit. They blocked us. He hit a couple down the field. I'd be curious to see – you know, there's some screen yardage in there. They do a nice job with screens. That was something that we knew coming in. Good plan. We didn't play well enough or coach well enough.
QUARTERBACK RYAN TANNEHILL
POSTGAME PRESS CONFERENCE
November 28, 2021
Q: How disappointing is it to have a game that didn't go very well from an offensive standpoint?
RT: Yeah, it's tough. We had opportunities. We did some really good things. The turnovers, the fumbles hurt us obviously. We ran the ball extremely well the whole game. Had the turnovers and then didn't convert when we were down in there tight there in the early fourth quarter. So you put all those together, and you put yourself in a difficult situation.
Q: Realistically, you guys had so many different players in and out, particularly on offense. How much are you able to put together a game plan based on how many guys actually knowing the playbook?
RT: Obviously, it's not an ideal situation, but I felt really confident going in. I felt we had a really good game plan. I felt like our guys knew what it was going to take and grasped the plan. I felt we did a really good job executing on the whole minus some key mistakes. I was proud of our guys and the way they battled, especially Cody [Hollister], a guy who just got here, came in, battled hard. The running backs ran really hard. The offensive line battled. They finished, pushed piles, and played the kind of ball that we like to see. There's some good things on this tape and some things we need to learn from.
Q: Nine turnovers in the last two weeks. Obviously, that's something that has to stop.
RT: Yeah, no doubt. Just have to play clean football. You kill the momentum. We're marching the ball, marching the ball. I felt like every time we touched it, we were doing good things. We kind of shot ourselves in the foot a couple times by putting it on the ground. So just have to be able to clean those things up. Take this next week to reset mentally, physically, get healthy, get some guys back, and be ready coming out of this thing.
Q: What's the last week like when you're learning and relearning some of the guys you're throwing to at the same time you're studying the Patriots?
RT: Yeah, it's an added element, no doubt about it. Trying to figure out what guys that we have playing are doing well and how we can use their skill set to put us in a good situation. Then you're also studying. So definitely an added element, but like I said, I'm proud of our guys. I felt coming in, the confidence built for me throughout the week. Just the more reps that we got on the field with each other, and as the plan kind of came together throughout the week, I felt really confident coming in.
Q: A moment ago you mentioned resetting mentally. What does that mean, and what does that look like to you?
RT: I think taking a little time. First of all, looking at this tape, seeing how we can improve, learning from it as a team, as an offense. Then taking a little time away, resetting the mind, clearing the head a little bit. And then get ready for a big last section of the season. Obviously have a lot of opportunities out there in front of us. We just need to clean that up, play better football, cleaner football, and start stacking some wins.
Q: How confident are you in this team?
RT: I'm 100 percent confident. Excited that we have that opportunity out in front of us. As things hopefully start coming together for us a little bit, we're cleaning up some of the details and the turnovers obviously. As we get this thing going again, we're going to be in good shape.
Q: What are some of the things that you can kind of like hang your hat on as you get that mental break over this week and say, hey, you know what, this is still a team that can go far.
RT: Because we got the guys to do it. We have guys that have battled through. We've been dealing with stuff all year, and guys consistently find a way to battle, find a way to go out and compete. Proud of our guys. I felt like the offensive line, it was probably their best game. Without looking at the tape, just seeing the way they're pushing piles and finishing. It felt really good from my perspective of just watching those guys run the football and be physical and finish. I think that was definitely a big step in the right direction. Defense has played some really good ball for us. We just have to be able to reset and do it together.
ADDITIONAL TITANS PLAYERS
Taylor Lewan, T
(On the importance of getting a physical and mental break during the bye week)
"You know, for me, it's a long, grueling season. So it's another week or an opportunity for me to get my body healthier. I think every single week that I've played, been able to play with my leg, I think things have gotten better and better and it's showing. So if I can just continue, take this week as a professional and keep growing not only physically but mentally like you said – but I've got to see my kids man. I miss them so bad. So I'm really excited to see them.
(On the team's sense of pride and the way they finished the game)
"We have pride and I thought the guys from an offensive standpoint – I don't know defense, I have no idea. I could tell what's a one-high or a two-high but any further than that, I don't know defense like that. All of the guys on offense I thought played really hard today. Guys were finishing downfield, our running backs ran really hard. Any time you have success running the ball, the receivers are downfield blocking, guys were really giving it their all. So I'm proud of them. We've just got to score more points. We've got to score points and not hurt ourselves. This is a good week to come back and gather ourselves like Vrabes [Mike Vrabel] said mentally and physically and move forward and take a step forward, not a step back."
(On if there's a point when the injuries become too much and if the team has hit that point)
"I don't know. We've dropped two in a row, so that's a huge bummer on our record and how we've lost that one-seed or whatever. Vrabe has done such a great job as a head coach of putting guys in – I mean, injuries happen, there's nothing we can do about. If there was a way to stop injuries, every single team in the NFL would do it. How many we've had this year is just super unfortunate. Vrabel every single week harps on the team keys, gets guys in there. Our coaches do a great job of if we have our whole starting offensive line, putting more on the offensive line and if we have our receiver core, putting more on them and plugging and playing guys and teaching them the gameplan to where they know what's going on and can go play fast and aggressive. I think Vrabel and this whole entire coaching staff deserve a lot of credit for that."
(On the speed the team played with in the running game)
"The thing with the running game – it's a week-to-week thing. Different defenses bring different talent and challenges. We were able to open up some holes and those guys have their own unique skillset when they came out, and they ran hard. I'm really proud of them and the way they came and I was impressed with them today. Hopefully we'll continue to move that forward. But we've got to make sure we protect the ball at all costs, especially as an offense, that's our duty. Everybody has that. On the long run, where it was knocked out right on the sidelines, I was five yards away from that ball. If I finish a little bit harder, maybe I can get on it or be the one to hit it out of bounds and not have the DB fall on it. It takes all of us. You never want fumbles. If I go a little bit harder, maybe I knock that off the sideline and we just continue to move forward. So like I said, it takes all 11 of us to run the ball, throw the ball and we've got to do a whole lot better."
(On the team's plan coming into the game)
"We knew what we had to do. Anytime you go on an away game, you've got to have a strong chin and a big heart and pack a run game. I think we did those things. I think the effort was outstanding from everybody on the offense and we just got to keep those guys going. We are crushing it from the 20 to the 20. We've got to finish those drives. The one on fourth down with the pass that was intercepted, it's fourth down. You've got to rip that thing in there, it's not like you can just throw it out of bounds, live to play another down. Tannehill – he's got to try to force something, it is what it is that situation in the game. But we've got to protect the ball."
Jeffery Simmons, DT
(On the game)
"We didn't outplay their defense, we didn't get any turnovers. We've got to play better. I mean, we talk about that all the time that we have to get the ball to our offense. We need to get them good field position, or whatever it takes. We have to help get our offense going. Now, like I said, we just got to play better on defense. We have to create turnovers. We have to try to get the ball out of the running backs' hands or whoever it may be, but we have to start playing better than opposing defense if we are going to win games."
(On the lack of pressure on the quarterback)
"He [Mac Jones] was getting the getting the ball off, I mean, we all have to be better on defense and stop the quarterback from getting the ball off. Now when we did and when he did hold the ball, everybody was on the same page. You know, it was incomplete or you know, KB [Kevin Byard] got a hand on one, so I mean, we all have to be on the same page. Like I said we all have to be better."
(On stopping them from scoring in the red zone)
"They were trying to run the ball against us as you see. I think I saw they had like 47 rushing yards coming into the fourth quarter. We knew that they were going to try to be bullish and see who is going to get bullied and they were trying bully ball. They're trying to knock you off the ball and try to run the ball and then we were standing up to stopping the run. Of course they got the rushing touchdown at the end in the fourth quarter, but I think we were doing a hell of a job stopping their run. So I mean, that's what it was, stopping their run and just getting off the field."
(On the change after the team's winning streak)
"Like I said, we just have to play better as a whole team, you know, it's not just defense, and not just offense, special teams as well. So we all have to be kind of on the same page. I mean, we are going to get everybody healthy and we are going to get everybody going like Coach [Vrabel] said both physically and mentally coming off this bye week. We have two weeks to get prepared and get ready back at home after the bye week. We're going take this bye week and hopefully we can get a lot of guys back, but you know, we're good team and I feel like once we get everybody back or coming off this bye week when everybody's mind is clear, we are going to get it back rolling. You know, of course everybody is probably thinking we are not that team anymore, but I have a lot of faith in my guys and I have a lot of faith in this team. And like I said, coming off this bye week we're going to come back."
(On the importance of the bye week)
"It is going to be big, especially coming off two losses and guys are going to have to get their mind right, especially on defense. We have to play better and our goal was to play better than the Patriots defense, and it wasn't done today. I think just that mindset coming off the bye week, we have to play better as a defense and we have to continue to make the opponents kick field goals when they get down there. I think this bye is going to big not just for our body but mentally as well."
Kevin Byard, S
(On not getting any takeaways today)
"It's frustrating that I haven't been able to get any turnovers. I kind of pride myself on that and obviously I feel like I want to get a bunch of turnovers. I'm doing the other stuff very well. I had a couple of plays today. At the end of the day, I have to get turnovers. I understand that and it's my responsibility to go out there and get turnovers. It's a team thing. You get turnovers, you've got to get the pass rush, tipped pass or something like that. Unfortunately we just haven't been able to get any of those. I think defensively we had some good stops in some key moments, but it just wasn't enough today."
(On the 38-yard completion to Jakobi Meyers)
"I was just chasing him across the field and I really didn't want to go upfield because I thought it was going to be a penalty so I tried to just stick my arm out there and get a pass break up or something like that. I just have to make those plays. No excuses."
(On giving up 36 points today)
"It was disappointing for sure. We understood that we were going to have to play better than their defense. Their defense had a bunch of turnovers and we had none. You're not going to be able to win games like that. Like I said, I feel like we played good in some spots, but it wasn't good enough overall. We're going to have to get back to the drawing board, figure out ways to win ball games and figure out who we are. I think the past few weeks we've been doing a lot of uncharacteristic stuff. We have to find ways to win ball games and figure out what our identity is."
Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, WR
(On the receivers helping the quarterback)
"A big part of our job is to be consistent for Ryan [Tannehill], get open and make plays. I feel like our offense was rolling today and we were able to make the plays that were asked of us. There's going to be more plays other than just the ones that are asked of us and there's some special plays that we didn't make as well. I feel like we didn't make enough today."
(On the bye week)
"It's not a secret that we've got a lot of guys hurt right now, a lot of bodies. All that rest and being able to get back physically and kind of reset mentally going into this last section of the season. It is going to be huge for us, rolling into the postseason and how we prepare the bye week and these two weeks leading up to our next game."
(On teammates going on IR)
"It really doesn't change much for me. I prepare every week thinking I am going to have to play a lot in the game because you never know what is going to happen and we are only going to dress so many guys. I understand the responsibility jumps up a little bit more but at the end of the day I have to go out there and be consistent for Ryan [Tannehil]), be consistent for this offense and try and help us win."
(On his touchdown)
"I know no one touched me and I know that the ball crossed the line. It's unfortunate we had to challenge but we still got the result."
Dontrell Hilliard, RB
(On the turnovers)
"Turnovers, we definitely have to do better than that. We've got to work during the bye week and focus on the details necessary."
(On his success in the running game)
"It feels good, but I'm disappointed about the loss."
(On the touchdown and the running game)
"I feel every time I touch it, I'm going to score. The o-line did a wonderful job moving guys around and creating those lanes for me to get through. I definitely thought we had a winning game plan, I commend the coaches for that, putting together great packages. We went out there and did ourselves a bad favor with a lot of things going on. We have to come back next time and put it all together."
(On heading into the bye with a loss)
"It's motivation is how I look at it at this point. Focus on the things we've done wrong and look at the L as a lesson. We want to focus on the things we didn't get right and focus on those things and get better. The opponents we played were good opponents but a lot of the damage that was ourselves."
D'Onta Foreman, RB
(On the turnovers)
"The biggest thing with the running backs is that we've got to protect the football, run hard, and try to do the things we got to do to help the team win. As for myself, I have to do a better job of securing the ball and finishing my run."
(On the play he lost the ball)
"I saw the gap and tried to get through it, and I just didn't feel the defender on the side of me. He just made a great play. I just have to do a better job of protecting the ball."
(On the team's rushing yards)
"At the end of the day we've still got to clean things up. You never want to put the ball on the ground as a running back and today we did that. I think we ran the ball pretty well, but at the end of the day we put the ball on the ground."