Titans' Terrell Williams applauds Mike Vrabel for opportunity

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans assistant coach Terrell Williams, who will serve as the head coach for Saturday's preseason opener against the Chicago Bears, on Thursday gave Mike Vrabel credit for being forward-thinking and giving him an opportunity.

Vrabel presented the idea to Williams a couple of weeks ago. Assistant coaches have called plays or handled an increased workload in spot duty, but taking over as the head coach for a game is unprecedented.

"Mike Vrabel deserves a lot of credit," Williams said in his first media availability since the switch was made. "Hopefully more coaches will give assistant coaches opportunities to do this because there's nothing better than actually getting the experience."

The opportunity for Williams extends beyond game day. He will take over as the head coach starting with the Titans' team meeting Thursday night, when they'll formulate a plan for who will start at quarterback and how their game reps will be situated.

Williams will also have to devise a plan for which starters will play in the first preseason game.

The Titans are also giving associate head athletic trainer Matt Gregg an opportunity to lead the athletic training staff for the game this week, taking over for Todd Toriscelli.

Gregg met with Williams on Wednesday about the team's injuries to determine which players will be available for Saturday's game.

Williams, who has spent 12 years of his 25-year coaching career in the NFL and the rest in college football, made it clear that he'd like to be a head coach in the league. He entered the NFL as an intern through the league's minority coaching program in 1999, when he landed an opportunity with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He then had stints with the Dallas Cowboys and Seattle Seahawks.

Williams has coached the Titans' defensive line since 2018, when Vrabel became head coach. Vrabel promoted Williams to assistant head coach this past offseason.

Pro Bowl defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons gave his endorsement for Williams as a future head coach.

"I respect Coach T so much, and it's not just about the game of football," Simmons said. "You have to be able to connect with your players. Coach T is a helluva coach, a smart coach. I fully expect him to be a head coach in this league eventually."