Transparent Titans not commenting on NFL 'review,' but bothered by reactions to COVID-19 outbreak

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Given a chance to defend themselves or set the record straight, the Titans said Saturday they’ve been transparent with the NFL and NFLPA’s investigation and will wait for their summary before responding to allegations of protocol violations that may have assisted in their COVID-19 outbreak.

Mike Vrabel and Kevin Byard purposefully called it a review rather than an investigation, and it seemed like one of the points of emphasis that were discussed and planned before the Zoom press conferences which included a couple of members of the national media. (Ryan Tannehill did use the word investigation, however.)ByardAnthem2

“With all questions that are going to relate to the review,” Vrabel said, “we’ve been completely transparent with NFL, with the NFLPA during this entire process and we’re going to wait for their summary before commenting further on any of those discussions.” [Unlocked]

Byard showed the most emotion about the national tone that grew over the 11 days the team’s headquarters was locked down as 12 players and nine staffers tested positive for COVID-19.

And while Tannehill said he makes an effort to block out the noise, he also spelled out his feelings on social media.

“I did see some things that were said and it’s easy to jump to conclusions and jump down someone’s throat,” he said. “It’s a snap reaction society that we live in today, people feel very empowered to have strong opinions and really go to extremes without knowing details and how things actually went down.

“At the end of the day, it doesn’t affect me if someone has an outlandish opinion. I’m of the opinion you should really speak for yourself and find out some more details before you jump down someone’s throat.”

The other important points out of the three conversations.SnapReactionTannehill

Activations: Some players who tested positive could return for Tuesday night’s game. The one Vrabel mentioned specifically was Beau Brinkley. He said the Titans have a couple going through the testing protocol for entry. Those are presumably Colin Holba and Matt Overton, players they reportedly had scheduled for tryouts earlier this week. A Brinkley return could make those two players moot.

While Isaiah Wilson is off the Covid-Reserve list Saturday, per Vrabel, it’s fluid for other guys with the potential to do so. So multiple players will have to be ready for certain roles on Tuesday evening as they may not know who’s activated until Monday or even Tuesday.

Wilson will work on the scout team while being evaluated for his ability t9o join in on the roster. But the Titans are healthy (Taylor Lewan has been listed as a full participant in estimated practice reports with his shoulder injury) and have been COVID-19 free on the offensive line. It’s be a big surprise to see Wilson active against the Bills.

Adoree’ Jackson: Vrabel made it sound as if Jackson is not only on IR but he’s staying there. And that seems obvious when we think it through -- if he’s not off it Saturday to walk through with the team or Sunday when Vrabel intends to add a speed element, then there isn’t a jump in health coming in three days.

Flexible scheduling: Vrabel said he’s got to use the time now allotted in the best possible fashion, and that he couldn’t know what that was at the start of today.

The Titans will work on first- second- and third-down Saturday in walk-throughs, ramp up to work with some speed on Sunday in all phases and situations and have a normal day-before-the game walkthrough on Monday.

“We just try to write down every day who we have available and what that game-day roster may look like and allocate the (practice) reps accordingly to who needs them,” he said. “And some guys may need them more than the others. You’re trying to put together a look-team on the other side.

Big chances: Low-ranking receivers are certain to have chances against the Bills and Adam Humphries and Cam Batson went on Covid-Reserve on Oct. 2 and Corey Davis on Oct. 7. That leaves the Titans with A.J. Brown (knee), who’s reportedly going to be ready to return from his bone bruise, Kalif Raymond, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and one or two practice squad call ups: Cody Hollister and/or Chester Rogers.

The defensive line could also be an issue. DaQuan Jones was put on Covid-Reserve Sept. 29 and could be in line to return. Jeffery Simmons (Sept. 3) is less likely. The depth is poor and practice-squader Teair Tart could be called up.

Geoff Swaim will play for the first time, replacing MyCole Pruitt.

“Those opportunities come in different shapes and sizes and they come at different times, they are rarely planned,” Vrabel said. “And so hopefully those players that get the opportunity can take advantage of it and do what they can to help the football team.”

Said Tannehill: “I am familiar with the guys that are going to be stepping in for us. Obviously, the reps I have with them aren’t as deep in the bank as Corey or MyCole. But I have seen those guys work, I have thrown to them before. I’ll take advantage of every rep I get this week.”

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