Tennessee Titans Head Coach Mike Vrabel
Conference Call with New Orleans Media
Wednesday, December 18, 2019
Just out of curiosity, when you're looking at this Saints team and what they've been able to do the last couple of weeks, especially offensively, what do you think is clicking for them right now?
"Like most really good football teams, they continue to improve and develop. I think that Drew (Brees) missing a few weeks and then being able to be back in there. I think there's been some strong continuity. Pretty much healthy for the most part and everybody's kind of finding their balance and their rhythm to what they want to do and the different personnel groups and seem to be functioning at a high level."
From a defensive perspective, what is the challenge in just trying to defend those multiple personnel packages in the Saints offense as a whole?
"I think you spend so much time trying to figure out what the exact personnel group is and what you want to be and then you are late and they operate so efficiently in and out of the huddle. The way Drew commands the huddle and operates then you're behind, you're scrambling. You've just got to get a call in and get ready and get adjusted."
In particular, with Mike Thomas, it just seems like every week he's catching 10 balls for 120 yards. How do you think they're able to just consistently find ways to get him the ball just from what you've seen on film?
"I think that there's just a lot of trust and timing, a lot understanding of defenses, of man, of zone. Mike is a very instinctive player. Drew's obviously very talented, (has) been through a lot. I'm sure he's helped him with some of those adjustments and where he wants him and like all great receivers, they listen to the quarterback that's throwing him the ball and where they want to be. I think they have probably seen a lot of looks and Drew has seen a lot of looks and so has Sean (Payton) over their years and they could say, when we get this coverage, this is how we want to do it. There's just a lot of timing and precision."
What has Ryan Tannehill been able to do for you guys to just step in and just kind of take off right away?
"He comes in very professional, very much a leader with these guys and he's taken advantage of his opportunities and really continuing to work with the guys that we have and functioning with our offense and with Arthur (Smith). He's got a very good relationship with Arthur. I think Pat O'Hara, our quarterbacks coach has helped him prepare (and) learn the system in a quick amount of time when he got here to be ready to function. Then, as he worked his way through the spring and summer and then got his opportunity in the season (he became more comfortable)."
Can you just elaborate on the connection he's been able to build with A.J. Brown, a rookie who's really also kind of taken off here at the end of the year?
"I think like a lot of rookies, these guys come from college and maybe (do) not know what to expect. It's my job to try to get them to be ready to understand that they're not the best player on their team anymore and certainly not on the field, but that they can be, that they can develop into that and work into that. I really appreciate I would say all our rookies. It's fun for me to try to coach them, develop them, (and) have a relationship with them. They're part of our team. They're a big part of our team. Whether it be Jeff (Simmons) or A.J. or any of them. I enjoy coaching them. They're very receptive, they're coachable and we're excited to have them."
Speaking of rookies, The Saints have one in Deonte Harris, who's pretty threatening there returning punts and kicks, what have you seen from just watching his film?
"Very fearless. They've got a very good special teams group. They've blocked punts. They have returned kicks for touchdowns, and Harris is explosive and he's tough, and he is physical. That is a pretty good quality to have as far as (a) returner. Like I said, they have a lot of great special teams players, (J.T.) Gray, (Justin) Hardee, (Taysom) Hill and obviously (Dwayne) Washington because of blocked punts and their gunners are excellent. With the kickers, Pro Bowl kicker (Wil Lutz), (and they are) obviously a great punting team as well."