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Mike Vrabel played 14 years in the NFL and the first-year Tennessee Titans coach is more than willing to pick up a pad for drills to get his point across.

And if someone knocks off his sunglasses during the process K.J. Wright Jersey , not a problem.

”Yes, that’s fun,” Vrabel said Thursday after the Titans’ first day of training camp. ”That’s when you know it was a good punch. I use that as a barometer when the sunglasses go flying off. But, they’re doing it the right way. They’re delivering a blow and trying to transfer power to stop a guy’s charge, in that case, the punt team and get out and cover.”

The Titans’ season opener and Vrabel’s debut as a head coach in a regular-season game is just 45 days away on Sept. 9 in Miami. His preseason debut comes Aug. 9 in Green Bay, and Vrabel was starting to drive his wife and son crazy being at home waiting for the start of training camp.

”You wake up in the middle of the night thinking about should I call a time-out in this situation? Then I’m like, I’m really losing my mind. It’s just good to have the players back,” Vrabel said.

Not only did Vrabel play in the NFL and win three Super Bowl rings, he’s been an assistant at Ohio State and with the Houston Texans. That means he got to watch some of football’s best make crucial decisions during games, including Bill Belichick Riley Reiff Jersey , Urban Meyer and Bill O’Brien.

Now it’ll be Vrabel’s turn to decide, and he’s been doing his best to prepare for kickoff by doing what he did so much of as a player: watch tape to help figure out what he can and can’t challenge, figuring out how to use his timeouts, defending an opponent trying to run clock at the end of a game.

”We’ve got a library of 10 years,” Vrabel said. ”You can go back and pretty much get whatever game we want and pull up a scenario and play it out.”

For now, Vrabel is trying to improve a Titans team that is coming off consecutive 9-7 seasons and the franchise’s first playoff victory since January 2004 – all of which wasn’t good enough to keep Mike Mularkey on the job . Music plays throughout practice to help simulate game-day noise, and his assistants spent parts of Thursday’s session working on fundamentals like tip drills.

The Titans saw their coach throw himself into camp with the same participation and intensity he displayed during offseason organized team activities.

”Oh man, that feels good all the time when you get to hit the coach a little bit,” three-time Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jurrell Casey said. ”It just shows you know the stuff that he was doing OTAs wasn’t a fluke. He’s continued to do it.”

Rookie linebacker Rashaan Evans joked that going up against a coach could be a way to work out some frustration. He said it was impressive to see Vrabel working in the trenches, and his new head coach already has given him a tip on how to play better.

”He’s always told me not to think so much but just to play ball,” Evans said. ”He says you’re going to make mistakes. But you play fast and aggressive Brett Favre Jersey , everything else goes that’ll get corrected.”

NOTES: Two-time Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan reported for training camp Wednesday with his agents talking with the Titans about a contract extension past this season . Lewan did not take part in team drills, and he said that might be the Titans waiting until the new deal is done. Vrabel disagreed, noting Lewan already is under contract but missed the team’s mandatory minicamp in June . The coach said the left tackle will rejoin team drills when the Titans feel he’s ready.




EAGAN, Minn. (AP) — The fan base for the Vikings stretches well beyond Minnesota, with strongholds in North Dakota, South Dakota and parts of Iowa.

It crosses the Canadian border, too. Just ask Brett Jones.

Acquired in a trade with the New York Giants to help shore up a shaky interior of the offensive line, Jones joined the Vikings for practice on Monday after his completed physical exam consummated the deal. He smiled as he spoke afterward about the whirlwind he’d experienced as the final week of the preseason began, when the Giants pulled him off the field during drills on Sunday. Then the Vikings called him to arrange his travel.

“I was pretty surprised,” Jones said, “and excited at the same time.”

As a youth on the Saskatchewan prairie Ronnie Lott Jersey , Jones rooted for the Vikings long before playing for them became a reality.

“There’s a lot of purple up there,” he said. “Growing up, this was probably the closest stadium we could get to.”

As an 18-year-old, Jones even bought a Phil Loadholt jersey to wear his devotion after the Vikings drafted him in the second round out of Oklahoma in 2009. He traveled south to watch a game that season against the Cincinnati Bengals at the now-demolished Metrodome.

“I just liked offensive linemen, and I didn’t think anybody else would have that jersey so I picked that one,” Jones said.

After attending Regina University, Jones was the CFL’s Most Outstanding Offensive Lineman award winner in 2014, his second year with the Calgary Stampeders.

The Giants signed him in 2015, and he made his first NFL start at left guard in 2016. The 6-foot-2, 312-pound Jones started 13 games last season at center, but he fell behind Jon Halapio on the depth chart in training camp this summer and carried a $2.914 million salary the tight-against-the-cap Giants had to shed.

The Vikings have scouted the CFL thoroughly over the past few years. Wide receiver Brandon Zylstra is a fellow CFL alum in training camp.

“It was a unique path. It was the only option I had Malik McDowell Jersey ,” Jones said. “Coming out of college I was short, and I’m still short today, so it was tough for me. I had to prove that I could play by playing in the CFL, and then when I got to the NFL I had to prove I belong here. I’ve just been doing that each and every day.”

With center Pat Elflein still not back at practice following offseason ankle and shoulder surgeries and left guard Nick Easton likely out for the year with a neck injury, Jones was a welcomed addition. Joe Berger retired after starting at right guard last season.

“On tape he’s pretty good. He’s stout, strong, really gritty, good in pass protection, solid on the double teams,” coach Mike Zimmer said.

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Tue Dec 11, 2018 6:43 pm