Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Vrabel conducted a conference call on Friday, one day after the team’s 30-9 win over the Jaguars.
Sunday, the Titans travel to face the Giants.
Here’s a look at some of the hot topics:
Titans running back Derrick Henry ran for 238 yards and four touchdowns against the Jaguars, and Vrabel complimented Henry and the blocking.
“We asked our guys to try to block longer – finish longer than the guy with the football,” Vrabel said. “And I think that’s an easy way to talk about finishing their blocks and getting to the next level and doing whatever they have to do to break the guy.”
Vrabel said tight end MyCole Pruitt did that, along with others.
Henry averaged 14.0 yards on 17 carries.
“Sometimes it was just Derrick doing some of that on his own, too,” Vrabel said. “Any time you run the football like that it is a group effort, and it’s also the guy who has the ball in his hand, too.”
Vrabel was asked how Henry’s performance on Thursday might change how the team approaches things in the run game going forward.
“Well, if you could promise that same type of success our past meetings would’ve been pretty short,” Vrabel said. “The one thing that is great about this league is you have to do it every week. You have to be able to consistently come out and do the things that you feel like are a strength.
“Just because you had one good game one week, or you had a couple of sacks, or had a couple tackles, or threw a couple of touchdown passes, you have to come back each and every week and prove it.”
Henry now has 712 yards and nine touchdowns on 145 carries on the season for the Titans.
Running back Dion Lewis has 477 yards and a touchdown on his 145 carries.
“Derrick will have all the opportunity to continue to do that, and to help us,” Vrabel said. “His attitude and his preparation has remained consistent and that was always good to see. So we’ll try and keep that going. Obviously we have to try and keep that going.”
Titans tight end Jonnu Smith, right tackle Jack Conklin, linebacker Brian Orakpo and receiver Tajae Sharpe all left Thursday’s game with injuries.
Vrabel said the team is still awaiting tests results. Meanwhile, national reports broke on social media on the injuries to Smith and Conklin less than an hour after the conclusion of the call.
“Nothing yet,” Vrabel said on the call. “I think some of these MRIs were a little later. “Hopefully we’ll have something here at the end of the weekend, but I wouldn’t anticipate knowing anything right now.”
Titans rookie Rashaan Evans stopped Jaguars running back Leonard Fournette on a fourth-and-goal play.
Evans finished the game with five tackles.
“He continues to get better,” Vrabel said of Evans, “and it was a big play for us.”
Vrabel also singled out defensive lineman Austin Johnson for a nice play near the goal-line, and he gave props to safety Kevin Byard and cornerback Logan Ryan before circling back to Evans.
“I am always excited for Rashaan,” Vrabel said. “He’s a really fun guy to coach. He loves football and he has a youthful energy I wish I still had – I wish I ever had. And he just keeps getting better.”
Tight end Anthony Firkser continues to make plays for the Titans.
Firkser had three more catches on Thursday night, and he now has 16 catches for 201 yards on the year.
“He’s a tough guy to guard,” Vrabel said of the Harvard product. “He runs really good routes. The quarterbacks talk about the confidence they have in him to throw him the football.”
“The more you get targeted, the more you catch it, the more start to see more passes thrown your way.”
The Titans used Cameron Batson early returning punts, but he made a blunder early that ended up costing the team two points.
Batson muffed a punt near the goalline, and when he got control of it he was tackled in the end zone for a safety.
Vrabel blamed the muffed punt on a technique issue, and he said Batson then made a bad decision after getting the ball in his hands.
Vrabel said the team wanted to give Batson an opportunity, and he’ll get more chances. The Titans went back to Adoree’ Jackson later in the contest.
“We have a lot of confidence in Cam,” Vrabel said. “He’s a young player that we like, and he’ll get more opportunities, and he’ll continue to do stuff for us.”