verbal

Not surprisingly, Mike Vrabel was not happy Monday with virtually any aspect of the Titans play on Sunday.

The Tennessee Titans opened the NFL season on Sunday with arguably one of the worst performances in recent memory. That’s a high bar considering what we witnessed during the Ken Whisenhunt era in Nashville. 

Yet here we are, one game into a new season where head coach Mike Vrabel and his team were talked about as Super Bowl contenders. Now everyone is searching for answers to explain just how pathetic Sunday’s home opener at Nissan Stadium really was.   

“We got our ass kicked from the start,” said Vrabel in his opening comments during Monday’s media session.  

While Vrabel’s analysis is accurate, the issues on full display Sunday seem deeper than just one team outplaying the other. The Titans were all but a no-show from the coin toss. 

“We didn’t hit all the keys that we talked about other than, defensively, I would say that we did handle their tempo. I felt like we were ready to go. We subbed when we needed to sub, used some timeouts, but there were too many x-plays. We didn’t make them earn it, I think we need to make them earn it. Then defensively, the third and fourth down. They scored three touchdowns on third down,” said Vrabel. “Offensively, just not keeping our poise and the composite, winning one-on-ones, and they were more physical and played harder than we did, and they won the football game. We didn’t protect out punter. Just right on down the keys, what I am going to tell the team here shortly. We will have to get that corrected, the turnovers, they had eight PBU’s, we had two, they got more chances to get the ball turned over. These are all things that have to get corrected, and I think will, but we will have to get going pretty quickly.”

As for the players, there is more than enough blame to go around, but perhaps no one had as tough a day as left tackle Taylor Lewan, who surrendered three of the five quarterback sacks to Arizona’s Chandler Jones.

Following the 38-13 loss, Lewan took to Twitter to criticize his performance and thank Jones for exposing him. 

“Got my ass kicked today, no way around that. I let the team and the fans down. Thank you @ChanJones55 for exposing me. It will only force me to be better.”

Vrabel wasn’t as direct when asked about Lewan’s performance. 

“You get beat and sometimes that happens. We have to improve, Taylor (Lewan) has to improve. We have said this before, in this league your best players have to play good on Sunday for you to win. That is how this game is set up. That didn’t happen for us, and it happened for Arizona yesterday,” added Vrabel. “We have to get those guys ready to go to get on the road, it won’t get any easier as we go out to Seattle. We will have to get going here pretty quickly, make these corrections, flush it, and get ready to be focused on Wednesday with a gameplan and go out and try to find a way to win.”

In all, Vrabel answered twenty-five questions, most of which was filled with the standard coach speak, but then there wasn’t much else to say after he nailed it with the first sentence ye uttered. 

Called out

Vrabel has used the term before but called out new receiver Julio Jones for his egregious first-half personnel foul that third a third-and-1 into and third-and-16 and ensuing punt. The play sort of sealed the Titans fate as having no chance on Sunday.

“Critical mistake. That is absolutely nothing that we coach or teach, so that would fall into the category of doing dumb sh-- that hurts the team, right there in bold letters. It goes from third-and-one to third-and-16,” Vrabel said.

Shown the door

As expected the Titans waived kicker Michael Badgley, following his horrid debut with a missed extra point and field goal.

Badgley was signed after Sam Ficken tweaked his groin on Friday and was placed on injured reserve. Veteran Randy Bullock is on the practice squad and probably kicks Sunday in Seattle.

Also the Titans waived tight end Tommy Hudson. Tight end MyCole Pruitt and safety Bradley McDonald went from the practice squad to 53-man roster. The Titans brought back lineman Christian DiLauro and veteran linebacker Joe Jones to the practice squad. Jan Johnson was waived from the practice squad.