Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk laughs with Jeb Johnston as the team gets ready to face the Jacksonville Jaguars at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Dec. 11, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

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Titans GM search focused on collaboration with coach Mike Vrabel

General manager candidates for the Tennessee Titans’ vacancy must be ready to collaborate with head coach Mike Vrabel.

Owner Amy Adams Strunk began the search for Jon Robinson’s replacement in December. Robinson was fired Dec. 6.

“I’d like to have a GM as soon as possible, but we’re not going to rush the process just to get someone in as quickly as possible,” Strunk told the team’s website. The way we have it planned right now is we have two rounds, and we’re going to see where these interviews take us.”

Head coach Mike Vrabel’s job appears to be safe following a 7-10 finish.

The Titans used more players on their 53-man roster this season than any other team. With the division and a playoff spot on the line in Week 18, Tennessee started Josh Dobbs, who was signed off the Detroit Lions’ practice squad on Dec. 21. The loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars ended the Titans’ three-year run as division champs.

Strunk said the team has an experienced individual working as a consultant as part of the search. The interview process eventually will include Vrabel’s input.

“We want someone who is an exceptional talent evaluator, exceptional at roster building, and someone who is an excellent decision-maker,” Strunk said. “I also want someone who is a collaborator, someone who is able to find and build consensus to get to the best answers for the team, someone who is open to innovation and evaluating talent beyond the traditional avenues. Just really a talented person in all areas. But more than anything I want someone that can collaborate – that is super important to me, being able to find this person who can collaborate so we’re all working together, rowing the same direction.”

–Field Level Media

Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Todd Downing talks to quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) and head coach Mike Vrabel during the second quarter against the Buffalo Bills at Highmark Stadium Monday, Sept. 19, 2022, in Orchard Park, New York.

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Mike Vrabel: Titans OC Todd Downing stays, unless NFL intervenes

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel plans to keep the Tennessee coaching staff intact, rejecting the notion offensive coordinator Todd Downing should be demoted or fired after a DUI arrest last week.

“We’ll continue forward with how things work with Todd as our offensive coordinator,” Vrabel said Tuesday. “Now, those things could change. At any point in time when we hear from the league, you know, the legal process — those things can obviously change.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell reached out to clubs with the threat of “significant discipline” for violating a policy prohibiting alcohol at team facilities and while traveling on team planes and buses.

Downing was arrested for driving under the influence and speeding at 4 a.m. on Friday, hours after Tennessee defeated the Green Bay Packers.

The Titans returned to Nashville after midnight following the win in Wisconsin.

Williamson County Sheriff’s records show Downing’s bond was set at $2,500 for charges of DUI and speeding implemented by the Tennessee Highway Patrol. He was processed at 4:39 a.m. and released at 6:46 a.m., according to the county’s jail records.

The 42-year-old Downing called plays in the Titans’ most productive performance of the season at Lambeau Field with 408 total yards in a 27-17 win that included a touchdown pass from running back Derrick Henry.

The Titans opened the season 0-2, with a 21-20 loss to the New York Giants at home and then a lopsided 41-7 defeat at Buffalo.

Fans called for Downing to be replaced but Vrabel said the Titans would stay the course.

“We’re just not gonna do that,” Vrabel said in September. “That’s not something that’s going to happen right now. I’ve had confidence in our staff and confidence in the guys that we put out there … I appreciate everybody’s opinion.”

Since the rocky start, the AFC South-leading Titans (7-3) have won seven of their last eight games.

–Field Level Media

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel and running back Derrick Henry  (22)  run drills during practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park In Nashville on Thursday, Jan. 16, 2020.

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Titans RB Derrick Henry participates in padded practice

Derrick Henry took another step toward playing in Saturday’s divisional playoffs by participating in contact drills Wednesday at Titans practice.

Henry said he appreciates being back after more than two months away from the field and plans to contribute when Tennessee hosts the Cincinnati Bengals in Nashville on Saturday afternoon.

Henry hasn’t played since Oct. 31, but his window to be activated to the 53-man roster opened Jan. 5, giving the Titans time to get him on the field and set benchmarks for his return.

“I feel good,” Henry said Wednesday, noting the steel plate in his foot makes for an interesting souvenir.

When and how much Henry can play against Cincinnati are week-long questions with multiple variables, according to head coach Mike Vrabel. He’ll take another measurement of Henry each day following up on the previous day’s practice and how Henry’s body reacts.

“We’ll see how this week goes,” Henry said.

Vrabel said Henry would move in the right direction if he came out of the contact-allowed drills unscathed. He remains a non-roster participant in a bid to return from a broken foot that required surgery.

“It all starts out here on the practice field and doing everything I can to be ready for Saturday,” Henry said. “Trying to work hard, contribute the best I can.”

The NFL’s leading rusher at the time of his injury, Henry missed eight games but still finished sixth among running backs in rushing yards (937) this season.

“It has been a while since he has had contact,” Vrabel said. “We will have a week of work, see how he feels, and make a decision.”

D’Onta Foreman filled in with Henry out and had 533 yards on 166 carries (4.3 yards per carry). Vrabel said Foreman would remain involved in the game plan regardless of Henry’s game-day status.

–Field Level Media

Tennessee Titans running back Derrick Henry (22) throws Buffalo Bills cornerback Josh Norman (29) aside as he rushes up the field during the second quarter at Nissan Stadium Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2020 in Nashville, Tenn.

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Titans won’t rush call on RB Derrick Henry’s return

Derrick Henry and the rested Tennessee Titans plan to take their time determining the bulldozing running back’s status for Saturday’s divisional playoff game against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.

Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said this week’s practice would determine whether Henry is ready for his first game action since Oct. 31. He had surgery on his broken right foot.

“It’s going to be a big week of practice for us to continue to get Derrick back out there and get him acclimated to running the football and to seeing blocking schemes and seeing where guys are and to see where the cuts are,” Vrabel said.

Tennessee had a first-round bye in the AFC playoffs as the No. 1 seed.

Henry was injured Week 8 and had surgery the first week of November during which an intramedullary screw was inserted on the inside of the damaged metatarsal.

In eight games, Henry had 219 carries for 937 yards and 10 touchdowns. He finished in the top 10 in rushing despite not playing more than half of the season.

D’Onta Foreman would continue filling a bigger role if Henry cannot play.

The Bengals, who defeated the Las Vegas Raiders last week, are preparing for Henry to play, head coach Zac Taylor said. While Cincinnati was fifth in the NFL in rushing defense, the loss of defensive tackle Larry Ogunjobi to a season-ending foot injury in the wild-card win is significant.

“We’re going to need to run the football,” Vrabel said.

–Field Level Media