Titans Charm British Media on Practice Day North of London

WATFORD, U.K. -- The Grove is an expansive property where the Titans are based for their London game. The hotel includes Gabriel’s Football Pitch, where they practiced, The Walled Garden, where four players chatted with the press, and The Potting Shed behind it, where Mike Vrabel and Ryan Tannehill held more formal press conferences.

Oct 13, 2023; London, United Kingdom; Tennessee Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill (17) with the ball during Tennessee Titans practice session at The Grove, Watford for their upcoming NFL London game. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports
 Ryan Tannehill at Titans practice in Watford, U.K. / © Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Over 75 members of the British media with a splash of Germans all seemed delighted by Derrick Henry, DeAndre Hopkins, Jeffery Simmons, Kevin Byard, Tannehill and Vrabel, who all did well to turn up the charm.

Though the Titans started their practice week Tuesday, today was a typical Friday practice, when the only slice of practice open to the media is the stretch. So camera people and reporters rushed to the sideline to film roughly 8 minutes of players shuffling in rows and then working to loosen their hamstrings, quads and groins.


Several told me that’s all they ever get from the teams that come to practice here. I suspect if Vrabel knew that he might have given them a bit more – any extra layer of visibility helps sell the sport. The media group included London-based Vivian Bahlmann of German TV's RTL, part of a crew of six, and Jay Lawrence of Absolute Radio of London, who said that every single NFL game here qualifies as "an event."

Hopkins speaking a bit of German when asked to offer a greeting to fans there went over wonderfully – he said he took classes in high school. He also may shop for the pregame outfit he’ll wear to Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on Sunday in London.

Some reporters quote stats about the Ravens-Titans history and got less-gruff versions of Vrabel’s regular answer about how past games won’t have a bearing on what unfolds between the teams on Sunday.

Players recounted their feelings about seeing fans in their jerseys, especially overseas.

Tannehill said his body wasn't all the way where it needs to be but he felt like he's well on his way and Byard said he's confident that nothing about playing in a time zone six hours different from Nashville will be a  factor in the outcome of the game.

Vrabel had his coaches racing against each other and put them in some one-on-one situations early in practice this week.

BryMakThe change-up invigorated the players early in practice, creating an uproar in a week when sustaining energy has been important.

Luke Stocker's sprawling catch on a fade from Pat O'Hara that beat Chris Harris will live is part of the 2023 team's lore.

"I showed them again this morning as part of Friday tape and it certainly got the biggest ovation," Vrabel said. "It certainly was a very good catch, survived the ground, got a body part in... The guys enjoyed it.

"It's a different schedule. trying to find ways just to get those guys to have some fun, let the players enjoy it. Nobody got hurt, that's a good thing that came out of it."

Kuharsky megaphoneByard appreciated the boost and the laughs players got out of seeing the coaches try to do their jobs.

"It was fun, it was good to see, especially this week," he said. "Sometimes I think sometimes earlier in practice and the fact our week kind of moved up a little bit, it kind of brings a little bit of energy and juice to the beginning of practice. It was fun to see.

"It was really hilarious because (Vrabel) was in the film room kind of breaking some of that technique and so it’s really good to get on the coaches., you know they weren't doing some of the stuff that they coach us to do."

The team has urged players who venture into London to do so as position groups. There will be busses into London, about an hour's trip, and security to go with each group. Tannehill said he's getting pictures of the sights from his family but still may not see Big Ben, even on his fourth trip here for a game.

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