Tennessee Titans head coach Mike Vrabel doesn’t disclose injury information for whatever reason, in hopes to gain a “competitive advantage” that doesn’t exist.
One theme that has been clear from the beginning during Tennessee Titans HC Mike Vrabel’s era is his unwillingness to disclose nearly any information about injured players. Given that Vrabel comes from the New England Patriots’ and Bill Belichick’s school of thought, it isn’t too surprising, but Vrabel has arguably played it even closer to the vest than his former coach.
There have been plenty of injuries throughout the offseason for the Titans. Most notably, starting WR Rishard Matthews has not practiced in months with what is a mysterious injury. No one in the Titans’ organization has told the media what Matthews is dealing with and when he may be close to a return. Matthews has been spotted on the practice field a few times going through conditioning drills, but that’s about it.
Rookie LB Rashaan Evans hasn’t been out at practice since the last week of July. When asked about Evans’ status, Vrabel called the linebacker’s injury “heat-related“. Despite his absence being “heat-related”, he’s now on his third week of missed practices. Though he’s reportedly feeling “amazing“, Evans still isn’t at practice and we have no idea why.
Then WR Corey Davis got dinged up, with an injury that we know nothing about. Davis missed several practices leading up to Week 1 of the preseason and sat out the game against the Green Bay Packers. Davis returned to practice this week and seems perfectly fine.
After practice today, Vrabel was asked about TE Delanie Walker, who walked gingerly off the field during practice. The only reason we know of Walker’s injury, which appears to be related to his toe, is because of reports by media members that were there. Naturally, this was Vrabel’s response.
If we were in the midst of the regular season and preparing for an important opponent, withholding injury information could be somewhat beneficial, but it wouldn’t even be allowed because teams are forced to hand in injury reports to the league. During the preseason, when the games and opponents you play have no real bearing, there is no reason to be so reserved and quiet about injuries to your players. No one is going to willingly go after injured players because they know where they were hurting in the past. Not in practice, not in joint practices and not in preseason games.
The media — which covers the team on a day-to-day basis and must inform the fanbase of what is happening with the team — has a right to know what the status of these players are. At the very, very least, an acknowledgment of the body part that is ailing the player would be helpful.
Perhaps we’re all used to the past few years, when Titans coaches would willingly answer questions about injuries with the information they were given by the training staff or team doctor. This new policy will take some getting used to, but whether it’s actually benefiting anyone is more than up for debate. It’s surely not benefiting the people who cover, write and talk about the team for its fans.