"You play like that in this league, you coach like that in this league, you get your ass beat," Vrabel said.
The "coach better, play better" approach following losses has become Vrabel's stock answer.
The Titans (1-2) have scored 20 or more points once in their last 10 regular-season games. Subsequently, that one instance -- a 27-24 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in Week 2 -- is their lone win in that span.
Sunday was no different, and the Titans' lone points came on a drive that resulted in negative yards (minus-9). Fortunately for them, cornerback Sean Murphy-Bunting's strip and fumble recovery gave the offense the ball at Cleveland's 17-yard line.
Some of the team's bigger names such as quarterback Ryan Tannehill and defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons echo Vrabel's sentiment about playing better on both sides of the ball, but Simmons is at the point where he's tired of talking about it and ready to get the job done.
"That's getting old," Simmons said. "It's time to actually do it. We've been hearing that message every week. We talk about it so much -- 'we gotta do this, we gotta do that.' It's time to win and stop having the same thing over and over again."
Browns defensive end Myles Garrett almost single-handedly wrecked Tennessee's offense, which had its lowest output (94 yards) since the Titans moved to Nashville from Houston in 1997. Garrett finished with 3.5 sacks and five QB hits. Tennessee tried to use tight ends or a running back to chip on Garrett, but the pressure made it difficult for offensive coordinator Tim Kelly to get into a rhythm as a playcaller.
The Titans were constantly in third-and-long situations, setting the scene for Garrett to relentlessly pursue Tannehill.
Garrett offered up some pointers to left tackle Andre Dillard, whom he beat for three sacks, after the game.
"He told me what he saw and what he liked about my game, what I could have done differently," Dillard said. "It’s cool to see things from his perspective."
The lack of success was evident on the defensive side of the ball as well. Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson's Houdini-like escapes from would-be tacklers and pinpoint accuracy led to an 82% completion rate, 289 passing yards and two touchdown passes.
Cleveland converted six of its 13 third-down opportunities and had the ball for nearly 2/3 of the game. Simply put, the defense couldn't get off the field.
"We've got to hold each other accountable," running back Derrick Henry said. "Be a team and play like a team. It's all about how you stick together and make each other better."
Fellow team captain Kevin Byard said they have to find ways to get better and not let anyone get too down on themselves. Byard is a firm believer in the "play better" approach.
"It's true in a way," Byard said. "I always look at myself as I have to find ways to make more plays. Our best players have to play well. None of us played well enough to win a ball game."
Vrabel waited for the players outside the locker room after the game. He shook their hands and reminded them that it is still a long season.
This isn't the first time Vrabel's team has been faced with adversity.
"What resonates is we're going to compete just like we have for a lot of years," Vrabel said. "This isn't some kind of motivational speech. We're going to have a great week in practice, get back to work and figure out a way to win a game at home. It's a long season, but we're focused on this week."