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Titans lose again on the road, prompting questions about coach Mike Vrabel's job security

Sun, Nov 19, 2023
NFL News (AP)

Titans lose again on the road, prompting questions about coach Mike Vrabel's job security

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) - Mike Vrabel understands speculation about his job security.

The Tennessee Titans have lost 14 of their past 17 games, including nine in a row on the road.

And now, following a 34-14 drubbing by Jacksonville on Sunday, they've lost three straight against the AFC South rival Jaguars for the first time in nearly two decades.

Little has gone right for Vrabel in the past year, regardless of who's playing quarterback. But the Titans head coach insists he's more concerned with getting his team to perform better - home or away - than his future with the franchise.

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"I don't try to concern myself with that," Vrabel said. "I really am focused on these players. I hurt for them. I played 14 years, won some games, won some championships. I am frustrated for players. I am disappointed for players. I want them to have success. I know how hard they work and what they put into it.

"My focus is on coaching this team and trying to get these guys to understand that there's a fine line in this league of winning and losing and find a way to get a win. That's what I'm focused on. I'll let you guys fire me each week or not fire me."

The Titans (3-7), coming off a 14-point loss at Tampa Bay a week earlier, were completely outmatched against Jacksonville (7-3) on Sunday. They managed 235 yards on 38 plays - with most of that yardage coming with the game out of reach - and fell to 0-6 on the road this season. They have failed to score more than 16 points in any of those games outside Nashville.

The Jaguars scored on five consecutive possessions to take a 27-0 lead. Rookie Will Levis answered with a trick play touchdown to DeAndre Hopkins, but it was too little, too late.

"We definitely hoped for some more improvement over the last few weeks," Levis said. "We thought we did some great things. Practice put us in a good spot to execute, but we just didn't do it. And that's what it comes down to."

Levis completed 13 of 17 passes 158 yards, with two TDs and a fumble. He also was sacked twice. Derrick Henry ran 10 times for 38 yards.

"When you lose, nobody did enough," Vrabel said. "We're not going to have that mentality of, 'Well, this guy played good, but we lost.' We're trying to create a culture and an environment that when you lose, everyone has to be better."

The Titans found reason to smile late when Levis found two-time Pro Bowl defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons in the flat for a 2-yard score. Simmons and teammates celebrated his first career touchdown in style even though it was a meaningless milestone.

But once the game ended a few minutes later, it was time for another reality check for the Titans.

"For professionals, I think we all have a good mindset of just moving on and learn from mistakes," Levis said. "I've been proud of how we attacked each and every week these past couple weeks, regardless of the previous game. It's just such that when we have that great week and we're not able to let it transition on Sunday."

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl

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