Titans’ Mike Vrabel talks bad officiating, David Long’s play in Week 16

As bad as the Tennessee Titans were in the Week 16 loss to the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field, the officials didn’t help, particularly on two separate plays during the course of the contest.

Not only did officials call an inexcusable offsides penalty on Joshua Kalu that negated a blocked field goal, but they also missed Aaron Jones stepping out of bounds on a 59-yard run that set the Packers up for a touchdown.

But Titans head coach Mike Vrabel isn’t using the bad officiating as an excuse and instead believes bad calls should be expected going into every game, per Jim Wyatt of Titans Online.

“I coached fifth grade baseball in the Columbus Diocese League – we were three times champs, and I coached with Mike Mulligan,” Vrabel said. “Mike Mulligan would tell the boys, and he would remind me, that when you show up for the game, you should expect some bad calls, and expect some called strikes that you thought were a ball. I try to use the same approach – it’s a part of the game, and there may or may not be mistakes made, and we have to sit there and live with what is called. And we have to do a better job of making sure those are not close. So that’s how it goes.”

Vrabel noted after the game that by the time he got a look at the play, the Packers were already snapping the football for the next play, so he didn’t have time to throw the challenge flag.

Regardless, it never should have come to that in the first place with an official in perfect position to make the out of bounds call.

In the mess that was Sunday night’s loss, one player, linebacker David Long, stood out with his play, as he was all over the field and finished with a team-high nine tackles (one for loss).

While Vrabel noted there are still things Long needs to improve, he praised the second-year pro for the speed and intelligence he plays with.

“He’s a very passionate player, and he does fly around,” Vrabel said of Long. “He did have some good contact plays, and things he’ll have to improve on. He had two plays where I thought he played full tilt to the tackle and also was smart in not making those (bad) penalties.”

Long and the Titans will head to NRG Stadium in Week 17 to take on the Houston Texans. With a win, Tennessee will secure the AFC South title for the first time since 2008, but a loss could lead to the Titans missing out on the playoffs altogether.


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