Mike Vrabel Talks Titans' Return to Facility, Practice Plans Ahead of Bills Game

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistOctober 10, 2020

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel watches during NFL football training camp Friday, Aug. 28, 2020, in Nashville, Tenn. (AP Photo/Mark Humphrey, Pool)
Mark Humphrey/Associated Press

Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel addressed the media Saturday amid the reopening of the team's facility.

The Titans had not been at their facility in nearly two weeks because of a COVID-19 outbreak within the organization.

According to ESPN's Turron Davenport, Vrabel said: "I along with the players and staff would like to tell you how excited we are to get back into the building. We would also like to thank the NFL and NFLPA for their investigation and [helping] us get safely get back into the building."

Per Mark Maske of the Washington Post, Vrabel added that the Titans will practice indoors Saturday before practicing again Sunday and holding a walkthrough Monday.

The NFL announced earlier this week that the Week 5 game between the Titans and Buffalo Bills originally scheduled for Sunday has been moved to Tuesday provided the Titans yield no additional positive COVID-19 tests before then.

The 3-0 Titans were originally scheduled to face the 3-0 Pittsburgh Steelers in a highly anticipated game in Week 4, but that game was postponed after 16 Titans players and personnel members were diagnosed with COVID-19.

Additional players and personnel have tested positive for the Titans since then, bringing the total to more than 20.

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Instead of playing in Week 4, the Titans vs. Steelers game will be played Week 7, which was the Titans' original bye week. To make room for that game, the Steelers vs. Baltimore Ravens game originally scheduled for Week 7 was moved to Week 8, and the Ravens had their bye week changed from Week 8 to Week 7.

After the Titans vs. Steelers game was postponed, the scheduled Week 4 game between the Kansas City Chiefs and New England Patriots was postponed from Sunday, Oct. 4, until Monday, Oct. 5, after players on both teams tested positive for COVID-19.

The Titans have been under NFL investigation after it was reported that some players gathered to hold a workout at a Nashville high school after the team facility was shut down.

Per ESPN's Dan Graziano, the workout occurred on Sept. 30, which was one day after the Titans were informed by the NFL that they could not gather. That means the Titans could face league discipline, such as fines or forfeiture of draft picks.

According to NFL Network's Michael Giardi, Vrabel said Saturday that the Titans have been "completely transparent" with the NFL and NFLPA regarding the situation.

According to Maske, Vrabel declined to say whether Titans players were told not to gather outside of the team's facility.

Although several teams have been impacted by COVID-19, the NFL made the decision to play the Titans vs. Bills game this week, meaning it will have been two weeks since the Titans' last game by the time they clash with Buffalo on Sunday.

One possible negative for the Titans is the fact that their team facility was shut down for a significant period of time, meaning they may not be as prepared for Sunday's game as the Bills are.

The Bills have been busy and playing football during the Titans' time away, as they beat the Las Vegas Raiders 30-23 in Week 4 to improve to 4-0 on the season.

It is far from an ideal scenario for the Titans, but by holding the game in Week 5, it ensures the NFL won't have to do any additional shuffling of the schedule aside from moving Buffalo's Week 6 game against the Kansas City Chiefs from Thursday to Sunday.