Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo

Start Forum Auto Forum Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo

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    NASHVILLE J’Marcus Webb Jersey , Tenn. (AP) — Mike Vrabel can’t remember a game where he didn’t have butterflies in his stomach before kickoff. As a linebacker over 14 seasons, he could get rid of them with a crunching tackle.

    He won’t have that luxury Sunday in Miami making his NFL regular season head coaching debut with the Tennessee Titans.

    “I don’t think I’ll need any hits from the team,” Vrabel said Thursday. “We all just stay composed and do our jobs. That’s the most important thing.”

    Not much is expected from the Titans this season with the coaching change despite Tennessee winning its first playoff game in 14 years with back-to-back 9-7 seasons . Vrabel has three Super Bowl rings as a linebacker with New England , and the coach who frequently picks up a blocking pad and works with the Titans in practices has made it very clear what he wants.

    Three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker said Vrabel doesn’t care what people say outside of the locker room or about Tennessee’s winless preseason. Vrabel’s focus has been preparing the Titans for the regular season, and Walker said the coach has been tough on them.

    “He’s the type of guy he challenges you every day with questions asking you, ‘What’s the defensive players’ names? What’s their numbers?’ And I think that’s just to see how we’ve been preparing,” Walker said. “I’m excited to see how he is when we get down there in Miami and get the game started.”

    Defensive lineman Jurrell Casey, another defensive lineman, thinks Vrabel’s attitude of pushing everyone will help the Titans achieve more. Casey sees Vrabel creating a mindset that everyone has to bring more. Even on the practice field, the Titans are expected to jog between drills with Vrabel usually leading the way.

    “That’s what I love about him,” Casey said. “He’s expecting a lot from everybody. The stars Peyton Manning Jersey , he’s expecting more, and the young guy he’s expecting you to rise up and become stars.”

    The Titans currently have a five-game winning streak in their first road game of the season, which started in 2013 with Mike Munchak.Ken Whisenhunt and Mike Mularkey kept that streak alive, wins that didn’t deliver nearly enough to keep either man around very long.

    Now it’s Vrabel’s turn with the Titans gambling that the man long pegged as the next surefire success as an NFL head coach succeeds in Tennessee. Defensive coordinator Dean Pees, who came out of a short retirement to come to Tennessee, says Vrabel has been a professional as a player, assistant and coordinator. He expects nothing less now Vrabel is a head coach.

    Nerves are part of the job even for experienced coaches like himself, according to Pees who’s going into his 46th NFL season.

    “If you haven’t got a little something churning in your stomach, I think it’s probably something wrong with you,” Pees said. “You’re not very competitive. So it’s going to be exciting for him, and I’m excited to watch him too.”

    A handful of Titans made clear that whatever happens on the field falls on their shoulders.

    Walker said Vrabel and the assistants he brought in have been great Michael Irvin Jersey , but they can only put the Titans in position to execute. Veteran linebacker Wesley Woodyard said the players can help minimize any growing pains by winning on game day for a man who played for a great coach in New England’s Bill Belichick.

    “It seems like he’s a little bit more experienced than a first-time head coach,” Woodyard said.

    NOTES: Rookie LB Harold Landry (ankle) did not practice Thursday after being limited Wednesday. S Kendrick Lewis (foot) missed a second straight practice. RT Jack Conklin (left knee) and LB Rashaan Evans (hamstring) were limited. LB Derrick Morgan (knee) practiced fully after being limited Wednesday.

    Yannick Ngakoue says whatever Buffalo Bills guard Richie Incognito was trying to accomplish didn’t work.

    The Jacksonville Jaguars defensive end stood by his tweet accusing Incognito of using “weak racist slurs” during their playoff game, but the second-year pro declined Monday to provide more details about what was said.

    ”I’ve been playing this game for what, 12, 13 years now,” Ngakoue said. ”I’ve never encountered nothing like that.”

    Ngakoue called out Incognito on Twitter hours after Jacksonville’s 10-3 victory , referring to the offensive lineman by his No. 64 jersey.

    ”Great win today! And 64, you goin have to come harder than some weak racist slurs. I’m proud of my African heritage, as are 70% of the other Black players in this league. (hash)Iaintjonathanmartin!”

    Ngakoue declined Monday to disclose what Incognito said.

    ”I just felt like people needed to know what happened,” he said. ”He knows what he said. I don’t got to repeat it.”

    An NFL investigation found that Incognito and two Miami Dolphins teammates engaged in persistent harassment directed at fellow offensive lineman Jonathan Martin, who left the team in the middle of the 2013 season. Incognito was suspended for the final eight games and sat out the 2014 season before joining the Bills.

    Fellow Jaguars defensive end Calais Campbell said several Buffalo players were talking trash during the game Ray Nitschke Jersey , especially in the second half. But the 10th-year pro said he never heard anything inappropriate.

    ”I think they were really trying to get us to lose our cool and try to get penalties,” Campbell said. ”There were a lot of guys talking as if it was coached to get us to lose our cool, so we can get a 15-yard penalty. I think that’s something we’re going to have to deal with because we’ve shown we can be a little too aggressive at times.

    ”(That’s) going too far, though. I understand trying to give yourself an advantage, and you see somebody trying to egg them on to try to get a penalty, I understand that. But there are boundaries. You don’t go to racial slurs; that’s not OK.”

    Incognito was not present in the locker room during Buffalo’s hour-long media availability Monday. He also did not respond to a text message from The Associated Press seeking comment.

    Bills rookie left tackle Dion Dawkins said he didn’t hear Incognito say anything that crossed the line.

    ”I was next to Richie the entire game and Richie did not say one thing,” Dawkins said. ”And if he did, (you) best believe I would’ve been one of the first people to basically check him on it because there’s races. There’s a lot of stuff that’s going on in this country, and there’s boundaries. But if he did overstep, I would have said something. As far as I know, he did his thing.”

    Ngakoue saw it differently Nyheim Hines Jersey , saying Incognito’s words came after a pass play.

    ”I’ve been playing this game since I was a little kid,” Ngakoue said. ”You hear all type of stuff. Stuff’s not going to bother you, but somebody says something about your ethnicity, that’s really kind of taking it a little bit too far. I’m all with trash talk. It’s part of the game, but you can’t say certain things.”

    Although Ngakoue said he didn’t tell officials or mention it during postgame interviews, he felt compelled to take his complaint to social media.

    ”Look at the world we live in,” he said. I’m not shocked. It is what it is. … It just goes to show you we’ve still got a lot of growing to do as a league and just as people, period. That’s why we have this platform to use to try and help bring change.”

    AP Sports Writer John Wawrow in Buffalo, New York, contributed to this report.

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