What Mike Vrabel said has caused the Tennessee Titans to have so many injuries

Mike Organ
Nashville Tennessean

Tennessee Titans coach Mike Vrabel bristled at the suggestion Monday that the flood of injuries his team has encountered recently is linked to the performance by its strength and conditioning or training staffs.

The Titans have 17 players on injured reserve and have lost their last two games to the Houston Texans (22-13) and New England Patriots (36-13) after winning their previous six.

Vrabel doesn't like to refer back to his playing days when making a point but made an exception when asked whether his staff should be blamed for the usually large number of injuries.

"I've never suffered an injury and said, 'That damn strength coach.' I never said, 'That trainer sucks.'" Vrabel said. "I know that's not the case. Some of these things are unfortunate. Some of these injuries are just kind of a part of football."

Vrabel added that the players are responsible for making sure they remain healthy by following programs put in place by the staff.

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"I use (former Titans receiver) Corey Davis as an example," he said. "He suffered some hamstrings early on so then he was on a hamstring program. I remember Rashaan (Evans) as a young player had an issue with his groin and now he's on a groin program that they do religiously."

Vrabel said younger players are also encouraged to follow the routines of some of the older players who have managed to avoid injuries.

"I don't mean it's all on the player; there's just some responsibility that you take that your profession pretty much relies on your body and your health," he said. "We try to coach everything that we can talking about routines and trying to find veteran players that have really good routines and look at their career. Like Kevin Byard, how has his career gone and what kind of career has he had? So that some of the young DBs may want to emulate that routine." 

Vrabel's focus now is on possibly getting some of the players who have been out back with the Titans having a bye this week. They return Dec. 12 against Jacksonville at Nissan Stadium (noon, CBS).

Vrabel said the injured players will continue to train and work out through Tuesday and then have off until they report back Dec. 6.

"Hopefully we'll get some guys back," Vrabel said. "I'm hopeful there will be some guys that are eligible to return, can return and then we'll go from there. Some of the guys that aren't on injured reserve, we'll see where they're at. We're going to need everybody that we can."

One player who wasn't injured but didn't play against the Patriots was wide receiver Golden Tate, who joined the Titans' practice squad on Nov. 23. With an extra week to prepare Vrabel said Tate could play against the Jaguars.

"That's a tough task to be able to come in here and grasp enough of the game plan and know what we're doing," Vrabel said. "I know he's working to learn it and what it is we're doing and then we'll see where he is on Monday. I know he's put a lot into studying the few days that he was here and we'll see if he can help us."

Reach Mike Organ at 615-259-8021 or on Twitter @MikeOrganWriter.