Vrabel on Titans line changes: We'll keep evaluating
A day after doing what he previously had hesitated to do, Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel was quizzed on his changes made Sunday on the offensive line.
Vrabel took starting left guard Quinton Spain out of the game in the second half and shifted center Ben Jones there, while inserting second-year pro Corey Levin in at center.
When asked if the changes might be permanent, Vrabel was non-committal, but said that the matter is still open.
“Well, we’ll keep evaluating. We’ll look at it this week based on where we’re at health-wise and where we feel like every player that we take to games gives us a chance to win and we try to put them in the best spots to give us a chance. So, we’ll continue to look at that lineup as well as other places,” Vrabel said.
When asked what prompted the changes in a unit that has had multiple players struggling for multiple games, Vrabel said it was, “Just something that I felt like needed to be done at that time. Again, that may change each week. But, at that point in time, I wanted to try to get Corey at center and see what Ben looked like at left guard.”
When asked how Jones and Levin performed Sunday in their new roles, Vrabel said of each one, “He played OK.”
Vrabel was pleased with how the pass protection held up in the second half as Marcus Mariota rallied the Titans for 13 points in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning TD pass with 36 seconds left to play.
“Keeping the quarterback clean and giving us a chance to throw was certainly big in being able to come back,” Vrabel said. “We all have to play better and coach better than what we did at times in that game. That’s my challenge here starting in a few minutes.”
As for Spain, Vrabel said he had a conversation with him about the change at halftime.
“I think that when I have conversations with players—and I was a player that had to have conversations with coaches about how much you were going to play and how much you weren’t going to play, or if you were going to be active or inactive. So, when guys are inactive, for whatever reason, I try to tell them and give them a reason,” Vrabel said. “You don’t want players that kind of accept it and say, ‘Hey, great. That’s awesome.’ You want them to be disappointed. You want them to play. You want them to compete. But, you ask that they respect the decision for the team and kind of move on.
“I don’t know how he took it. Of course, I care. I care about all of our players and whatever their physical and mental state are. We work together almost every day of the week for six months or so. You do care about what they’re thinking and feeling and how their bodies feel.”
The Titans made some roster moves on Monday, adding running back Jeremy McNichols, who had been on the Denver Broncos practice squad and waiving running back Dalyn Dawkins.
The Titans also re-signed cornerback Kenneth Durden, who was waived Saturday to make room for Josh Kalu on the 53-man roster, to the practice squad.
McNichols was a fifth-round pick of the Tampa Bay Bucs in 2017 and has also spent time with the 49ers and Colts.