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Tennessee Titans Postgame Transcripts 11/11

Tennessee Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel, Quarterback Marcus Mariota and select players comment on their 34-10 win over the New England Patriots.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, November 11, 2018

(on what the team did defensively to hamper Patriots quarterback Tom Brady)

I can't give enough credit to Dean (Pees), his staff, and most importantly the players. Dean (Pees) had them ready to go. They were prepared, they weren't caught off guard, we were lined up, we didn't hand them anything. Dean (Pees) called a great game. He mixed up calls, coverages, people he was bringing, and the players ultimately executed. They played hard. I appreciate how hard they play, and I think that was evident there late in the game.

(on if he will reference this game to show that this is how good the Titans can be as a team)

I think that's what you try to do. You try to point out all the good stuff, we try to point out all the stuff we need to fix, and then illuminate the stuff that will get you beat. That's what we do every week. That's my job, to try to show them that, and show when you start fast, and you believe, and you practice the plan and you execute the plan, what it can look like on Sunday.

(on how important it was to rush Patriots quarterback Tom Brady from the inside)

I think the entire defense. I think the secondary – you know, there's a few times when I was watching when, you know, you've got to make Tom (Brady) blink, and if you make him blink and have to go to a second read, you have a chance. If you let him rip it to the first guy he looks at, it's going to be a long day. We were able to combine the rush, the different patterns and the coverage. We were able to execute and I think that goes a long way. It's a coordination of 11 guys and a good call.

(on how much Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur's playcalls impacted the game)

I really think that Matt (LaFleur) is doing a nice job. The whole staff – it's a long week. We got back at three in the morning, and there were air mattresses all over the building all week. It's a long week for coaches and their families. They didn't see their families until Friday. But, it makes it worth it when you win a football game, trying to get ready for a team like New England on a short week. But, the players responded, the players got better throughout the week. Somebody talked to me and asked me about momentum. I don't believe in momentum. I believe momentum is something I learned in physics. When you roll a ball down the hill it gains momentum. People have to prepare throughout the week, and pro players have to prepare throughout the week and get better, and I think that's how you build confidence. It's about having good practices and finishing off on Friday and Saturday, and that's what we did.

(on if the win was more gratifying for the ex-Patriots on the Titans team)

I'm happy to get above .500. It's a good football team that we played today and that we beat. Very fortunate. But again, those players, just like me, and Dean (Pees), and everybody else that spent time there, we learned a lot from the people there, from Mr. (Robert) Kraft down to Bill (Belichick) and his staff. We're together here with the Titans. We're really proud to be a part of this organization. I'll say this, the one thing that Bill (Belichick) always said was that it's an honor and privilege to coach and play in this league. I'll never forget that, as a player, and then now to be able to be in this position as a head coach in this league. He always treated it with a lot of respect. The fact that we work in this league and the history, that's behind it.

(on what it means to have beaten both teams that appeared in last year's Super Bowl)

We've got to go on the road against Indy, who's probably – I mean, they're going to probably beat Jacksonville. I'm not sure, but they've scored over 30 points in a lot of games from what I've been able to look at. That will be another challenge, just like it is every week. We play the people that are on our schedule, and whatever they did last year, they did last year. I'm sure people make a big deal about it. We're excited, we're going to be excited for this victory. The players, credit to them, and let's keep moving forward. Let's get on the road and get ready for Indy.

(on how important the fast start and aggressive approach was to winning the game)

I think that's the only way that you can win against some teams, and especially teams like the New England Patriots. It's a long game. I felt like we were out there for two and a half hours and there were eight minutes left in the second quarter. These are long games. There's a lot of opportunity for teams to come back. We stayed aggressive, we stayed very complementary, great job on third down, getting some stops, some huge stops defensively. The offense stayed aggressive, I felt like, up until I pulled the plug on them a little bit and said, 'Hey, let's just get this thing down here and let's just grind it out and kill some clock.'

(on what went through his mind during the double reverse pass)

I wanted to see if it looked any better than theirs.

(on if quarterback Marcus Mariota did a better job than Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at the double reverse pass)

He got up a lot quicker than Tom (Brady), I know that.

(on if that was his playcall or Matt LaFleur's)

You know, that's been in for – everybody's got a million gadgets. We look at plays we like and guys are making suggestions, and if we get the look that we like, then it gets called.

(on what he tells the team about handling success)

I've got to do a better job than I did last time, when we were 3-1. I think we went on the road – I think we looked back at London and I don't think we played badly. We had a few bad plays. I think that every week in this league is a new challenge, and I think that they understand that now, I really do. We're coming off the field, and in the tunnel and guys are like, 'Man, on to the next one, on to the Colts.' I really appreciate that. Now they understand as great as this was, as good as it feels, that it's still a long season and we haven't really accomplished anything.

(on if the offense is starting to click)

I think we move the ball well. I think we're able to run it at times. Marcus (Mariota) made some great throws. Corey (Davis) looked to me like he played a good game. It was a physical matchup, it was a good corner matching up against him, and it was a physical contest. There was a lot of grabbing, a lot of fighting. It was good to see Corey (Davis) get back on track. Derrick (Henry) ran the ball hard, I thought Dion (Lewis) did some good things, everybody, really. I thought the protection was really good. It's a great team win.

(on Marcus Mariota's performance today)

I think he just really continues to lead us in his composure. You know, he's got some lunatics, you know what I'm saying – borderline lunatic (Matt) LaFleur, this kid just, God love him, he's kind of steady as it gets during the week. He prepares and he really is giving us the chance to win some balls games here lately.

(on how important complementary football is for the defense)

That's critical. I think to be able to understand the call and understand how that call is supposed to work, against maybe a formation that they have, or where everybody is supposed to be. You saw the coordination. Very rarely does Tom (Brady) want to just throw it to a guy. He threw it to KB (Kevin Byard). KB didn't have his eyes on it, he was playing the receiver. But, we certainly – Dean (Pees) did a good job and made a good call, and the players executed it. When you can combine all of those things with disguise, whether you run in the game, helping another guy out. Being Veteran's Day, talking about our veterans that serve a greater sacrifice than just themselves, and I said, 'We're never going to be soldiers or give that type of commitment.' We're football players and we can serve each other, we can serve everybody on our team, as opposed to us individually.

(on if the team got Patriots quarterback Tom Brady flustered)

I don't know, you'll have to go across the stadium and ask Tom (Brady).

(on how he thinks of the way the Titans made Tom Brady look)

I think that any time we can force the quarterback to go for, whatever it was, 254 – the third-down was critical. Ten points is really what I care about. You don't win a lot of games in the NFL holding them to 10 points, and I give a lot of credit to Dean (Pees), the staff and the players.

(on cornerback Logan Ryan's improvement )

He's got a great skill set from size, instincts, awareness. He's got a good feel for studying the game, the routes he's going to get, and playing man, playing zone, blitzing, defending the run. He's a very valuable member of our defense. Certainly we've come to appreciate him as a player and as a person since being here in January.


Postgame Press Conference
Sunday, November 11, 2018

(on winning the game and the overall offensive play)

It was great to get a win, it took a lot of hard work from a lot of different people. With that being said, it was just another step in the process. We have another big one coming up. We have a division game on the road, and we just have to get back to work.

(on wide receiver Corey Davis' contributions to today's win against the Patriots)

He has such special talent. If we find ways to get him the ball, I think it's going to be beneficial for us. Today was a great example of him making a bunch of plays. Hopefully, we can continue to build off of that. 

(on how he would describe Offensive Coordinator Matt LaFleur's play calling)

I loved it, I loved it. I think throughout this entire season he's got a good feel, he's done a great job of managing a lot of different things. On top of that, I think what he's able to do with putting our guys in situations where they can excel says a lot about him. I think he's done an unbelievable job, and I look forward to continuing working.

(on playing complementary football in all three phases of the game)

First and foremost, it's a blessing for us to be able to do what we do. All the people that are overseas, that are able to make this happen for us – all we can do is say thank you. I think (Mike) Vrabel just hit it on the nail, he just kind of put things into perspective. For us, if we can play that complementary football, we've got a chance to be pretty good.

(on what was going through his mind when wide receiver Darius Jennings threw the ball to him)

Just catch it. Darius (Jennings) did a great job of giving me an opportunity, and we did a good job of executing. 

(on if he is a better receiver than Patriots quarterback Tom Brady)

I'm not even going to go there.

(on the reasons behind the success in the past two games)

I think it's a combination of a lot of different things. Guys are getting more and more familiar with the system. Guys are building confidence. If you combine all of those factors, you tend to score points. These are good to build off of. We're not where we want to be. I think there are situations today – I think we could have been better on third down. It's good to get this next step going, we just have to continue this process. 

(on tight end Jonnu Smith's success in recent weeks)

I would say so. He is one of those guys who puts so much work into it. To see him make a bunch of plays today was huge. The thing is, he does a lot of things that kind of go unseen and go unspoken. He does a great job in the run game for us. He does a lot of different things, a lot of pass protection things. So, he has done an unbelievable job all year. It's nice to see him kind of get the ball and let him do his thing. 

(on how much this game will tip the scale in the future when putting together a successful game)

I hope we don't hang our hats on it. This is Week 10. Again, it's a great win for us, but at the same time, it's just another step. If we just sit here and feel good about ourselves, the next week we're not going to play very well. It's nice to build off of it. It's a great win for us. But, this is not where we want to be and not where we want to go. So, we have to continue to work. 

(on the impact running back Dion Lewis had in the run game)

Huge, huge. Those guys up front did an unbelievable job of controlling the line of scrimmage. If you're able to do that, and get into second-and-short, and third-and-manageable, you're able to continue drives, and build a rhythm and score points. I thought the run game was unbelievable. Again, it's something we can build off of. 

(on if the coverage on wide receiver Corey Davis was what the team expected)

It was pretty much what we expected. At the same time, Corey (Davis) just made a bunch of plays. Sometimes one of those deals is you feed the guy that's hot. He made a bunch of big plays, and really, for us, we need Corey (Davis) to continue to be that for us. When you have a complement like that, and you can run the football and do different things, it puts our offense in good situations and allows us to score some points.

(on if he felt excitement when the play for him to catch the ball was called)

No, just catch it.

(on how much the loss against New England in the playoffs last year fueled this rematch game)

I don't know about sparking a fire. You learn from your past, you move on from it. It was one of those deals where you look at the organization and they've been at the top for quite some time. I think we learned a lot. At the same time, you can't dwell on it. You can't sit here and look back on that all the time. So, it was a good learning experience. Hopefully, again, we continue in this process and get better. 

(on how today could help in the future if they play the Patriots in the playoffs again)

It won't mean anything. It's going to be a whole different game. It's going to be a different slate. The circumstances are going to be different. So, yeah, it won't have any impact.

(on if he sensed the Titans who were formerly Patriots felt a bigger sense of gratitude with this win)

I don't know. Honestly, that's a better question for them. I'm glad we were able to do that, but they can probably answer that a little better than I can.

(on wide receiver Cameron Batson's progression from the practice squad to active roster)

He's explosive. He brings another type of complement to what that receivers room is. Those guys all have different roles and different play styles. It's really all Matt (LaFleur). I think he does a really great job of putting those guys in situations where they can succeed and go make plays.

(on the touchdown throw to Corey Davis)

It was a one-on-one opportunity. I'll take my guy over anybody. Corey (Davis) did a great job of setting the play up, and he came down with the ball.

(on if he feels the offense has moved passed the 'growing pains' phase of learning a new system)

No, because at the same time, there are still so many areas that we can improve. I think on third down efficiency today, we missed a couple. I missed a couple throws. Last week, whether it was the turnovers – it's an ongoing process for us. It's something to build off of. It's something to continue to learn from. I'm excited for these guys, because everyone is seeing what we can be. It's just trusting the process and getting back to work.

(on the completion of the 'off schedule' throws)

Yes, definitely. I think if we can add that again to the offense, it creates another dimension. It creates another thing that the defense has to worry about. So, yes, guys did a great job of finding open spots and we were able to make some plays.

(on the importance of having no turnovers)

Yes, today was huge. I think that defense has lived off of turnovers. That team has done a great job of cashing in on turnovers. Being able to take care of the football was a huge key for us, and it really helped us win. 



(on the Titans' fast start today)

That's what we were preaching, start fast, start fast, start fast. We start fast, we can control the momentum. That is what we did today.

(on winning a game against New England)

It's huge, it's huge. But, like I said last week, it means nothing if we can't keep the momentum and get the win the next week. So, we are going to continue to stack these wins and use it to our advantage.

(on being able to score touchdowns in red zone as opposed to settling for field goals)

That was one of our keys. We have to score touchdowns in the red zone, and that is what we did. We had a couple of field goals, but you always want to come out with seven. Three isn't so bad either, but we always want to score touchdowns in the red zone and we got that done today.

(on the performance of wide receiver Corey Davis)

Beast. I am not surprised, you know what I mean? That's what he does. He is a baller and we got a lot of guys like him. That is why this team is better.


(on what his thought were going into today's game)

Going in, I knew I could win some of my battles today. I did that a few times today, and Marcus (Mariota) was dropping dimes all day, and we came out with the win.

(on what it says about the Titans to get a win against a team like New England)

It's big, it shows who we are. We can play with anybody. We understand that. As long as we take care of ourselves, go out there and make plays, we can make it happen.

(on having a performance like today)

That's football. It's a season, there's ups and downs. You got to stay who you are, stay together, and that's what we have been doing.

(on scoring touchdowns in the red zone)

Yes. That was definitely a big emphasis for us, especially down in the red zone. We love Ryan (Succop), we love three points, but if we can get six, we are definitely going to like that.

(on what it shows about the Titans after posting two consecutive wins after a trio of disappointing defeats)

We are never going to stop fighting. We have been in a lot of close games, and not once did this team stop fighting. I love being on this team and we have to keep it going.


(on the fast start today)

The kick return, DJ (Darius Jennings)'s kick return got us started. They kicked it to him and he made a play. He is one of the best returners in the league right now. He made a play, and that was a spark plug. I think that is a big reason we were able to start so fast.

(on the offense beginning to click in the past two weeks)

I mean, everybody is just buying in and getting the little details the coaches are wanting us to do, and getting better every week. Nobody is getting complacent. Everybody is working and trying to get better.

(on if today's performance indicates what the team is capable of)

I mean, that's why you want to get better every week, so toward the end of the year at playoff time, you are playing your best football. I think that is what this team does every week, try to get better.

(on the improvement of the offense's consistency)

It's great, just knowing that we are able to help the defense. At the beginning of the year our defense was playing great, but we weren't really helping them. We weren't playing complementary football. As the weeks went on, we started helping those guys more. You can see what they can do, they are a great defense. We just have to score touchdowns rather than field goals in the red zone, and we will be fine.

(on if this was a sweet win for him as a former New England player)

It's a real sweet win, you know, especially when you used to be there and they didn't want to bring you back. So, definitely real sweet. I'm happy my teammates came out and played, and I love those guys.


(on the Titans' last two wins)

With losing a couple of games before last Monday night, the big win on Monday night, and then the short week, we knew there was going to be some pressure on us there. But, we prepared really hard, and we practiced really hard, and we believed we could win this game, and that was it.  Even when we had the early lead, I kept telling the guys, 'Hey, we've got to stay on it.' I've been on the other side, coming back 20-30 points. Coming back, I know how (Tom) Brady is. So, we just did a good job, and our coaching was great.

(on covering Patriots wide receiver Julian Edelman)

Honestly, he is a relentless competitor. He works really hard. He's really good. He got me on one early in the game, and luckily he did, because I got him at the end on fourth down. So, I think it was a just a battle between me and him, getting a little chippy. I have a lot of respect for him.

(on the Titans defense sacking Patriots quarterback Tom Brady today)

He's heavier than I thought. I thought with all that pliability, I would be able to pick him up. I had to double take that. It was pretty cool. It was a good call again, and we just had to execute. We did a good job switching the defenses, and we attacked them. We came in here and we had nothing to lose. We weren't favored. Everyone in national media was going to pick against us in that game, and we went out there and we attacked all day long, and we stayed our foot on the gas, and we did a great job.


(on beating his former team and if he spoke to anyone from the Patriots)

I played for that organization, but I most definitely wanted to beat those guys, and we did. I'm pretty sure Logan (Ryan), Dion (Lewis), and Mike Vrabel, too. The key in this league is just winning, so I'm glad we got the win. It's not personal, I wanted to win though. I want to beat everybody I go against. No bad blood. Nothing but respect for them. They most definitely spoke to me. Mr. Kraft, (Bill) Belichick, offensive coordinator, defensive coordinator. You know, those guys love me. They showed me nothing but love.

(on the credit for today's victory going to Titans' defensive coordinator Dean Pees)

Most definitely, a lot. The guy is always trying to put his players in the best position, and that's what he did today. It was up to us to go out there and execute, tackle, cover, rush the passer, and be disciplined, and that's what we did. He's a great coach, a great coach. 

(on the Titans defense being in 'attack mode' today)

We had to start fast. We couldn't let them throw the punch first. You have to be the one that is throwing the punch, you just have to start fast, and be more physical and be smarter. Some teams are probably just scared of them, just because of who they are. They are just another team, just like anyone else, but they are more successful, don't get me wrong. Great organization. I just think you have to have the right mindset, days before you even play them. 


(on the victory today over the Patriots)

It was fun, man. It was fun. Just a big-time win. I mean, we did everything we wanted to do, as far as stop the run and get after (Tom) Brady. We were really able to shut them down. Hats off to the Patriots, because it is definitely a big feat when you beat a team like that, that has been consistently as good as them. So, it's definitely a big one for us. We don't really worry about the noise, we just keep improving.  We wanted to build off that Monday night win against the Cowboys, and come out here and put on a dominant performance, which we did. I just must credit this locker room. We had an extremely good week, and this is fun. It is fun to go out there and perform. 

(on how he felt about his play today in the victory against the Patriots)

It felt good to get a sack today. Just going out there and trying to lead this team as much as I can. I know I had a slow start statistically at the start of this season, and things have just not come my way like they usually do. But, going out there and trying to compete, and doing my best, man, that's all I can do.


(on the overall performance of the Titans today)

We took it to the next level. I feel like even though we played a good game at the Cowboys, we felt like we could have played even better, and we just took from that game all the things that we were good at, and diminished the things that we were bad at, and took that into this game. Making sure everyone was hitting on all cylinders, and there you go. Holding them to 10 points. This is history for me, I don't know if this is going to be his (Tom Brady)'s last season, I don't know. Just the fact that I was able to take part in this means everything to me. I will remember this for the rest of my life. Just to be able to go out there the way we did, puts more importance on this game.

(on the Titans winning two big games back-to-back)

It's amazing, two big games. Two big games coming off the Bye Week. Knowing that we were going to have our back against the wall today going against one of the greatest quarterbacks of all-time, and being able to respond, and holding them to 10 points, and him coming out of the game with seven minutes to play in the fourth quarter. I don't think you could play defense any better than that. We've learned that just because you win, doesn't mean that the next game is going to be the same. One thing about the NFL, we have been on streaks, winning multiple times and losing multiple times. I think we have learned from that and take one game at a time.  Playing in that game, in that moment, and take it day-by-day. Once you do that, everything else will handle itself.

(on the defense sacking Patriots quarterback Tom Brady today)

That was the moment I felt like I wanted to point out. The fact when he laid on that ground, I looked down and I felt like at that point, he was beaten. I think when we saw that, we were like, 'Man, we smell blood. Let's go get 'em'.

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