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Titans 2020 (1 Viewer)

-OZ-

Footballguy
I have no idea what to expect next year. 

If Mariota stayed healthy for once, TT and Davis approach their potential, Walker stays healthy... they have a fair chance to be successful.  With the right breaks and health, they could be contenders (but that can be said about many teams).  But I'm skeptical.   Seems like the division is getting better.  If the Jags get Foles or someone else worth starting, the Titans could easily be last place in the division.   

Vrabel could be good, we'll have to give him a couple years.  But man that offense looked flat at too many times last year.   I really don't get how LaFleur earned a promotion, but maybe he can do better with Rodgers. 

Is a QB coach or someone else on a team still playing a candidate?   Is Mark Helfrich the odds on favorite to take the job?  

 

Bri

Footballguy
I think we're going to see a bunch of roster changes. Sometimes it will be for a Vrabel guy over a Mularkey guy, but my guess is that it doesn't have the prior dopey change for the sake of change feel that we were accustomed to on continual rebuilds.

They're probably looking at 25 mil in free space for the offseason. It's important to note that it's been many years since they ever crossed that number; for about 8 years, there has been at least a 25mil cushion. During the lean years, it was understood that they weren't going to overspend and had issues with being in a smaller market and not getting the fans in the seats like big city teams do. Nashvillle's grown, the Titans are considered a playoff caliber team now, this should be the year they get rid of the cushion.

The scary thing for some fans is if they don't use that cushion. That would just leave the draft as obvious improvement. Free agents could still be signed, but it would be like swapping. Sign a guy for 5 mil, dump a guy for 5 mil.

The increase is Marcus really. His 5th year is 20 mil. 

The market for guards looks like Spain will make between 6 mil and 14 mil.  He adjusted his power game to become a blocked in a zone-based scheme and this makes him as attractive as can be. Many didn't think he had the feet to do it. He's on a best-ever pace for sacks allowed 5.5 in four years and coming off a year where he only allowed one. His (per) rushing stats are either fine or good, not dominating,  but the Titans often run his way so a four-yard average is quite sound.  Will the Titans re-sign him? or will he leave in free agency?

Kline and Jones appear to offer a weak spot in the line but numbers wise, they are not bad at all. The numbers indicate Dion, TEs, and Marcus himself being blamed for most of the sacks- not the O line.

After Matthews was treated poorly, he quit. Now they have no veteran WR to count on. That plus Delanie's injury, left Marcus without a proven weapon. Some think the Titans will go after a free agent WR. Although people are looking for a glorious name, many free agents are slot WRs and this is a real good year to get a slot WR. Adam Humphries is someone JRob scouted and knows of from his time in Tampa. He does a nice job backing up the outside spots and filling in in the slot. Beasley with the Cowboys has a similar role. At this stage in his career, Tate is probably similar to them. I don't think the Titans will land a name like AB (I'd like them to) but I think they can get a chain-mover. The shame is that they're essentially replacing Matthews and hoping the signed played is Matthews.

Matthews had an interesting interview recently where he discussed this offseason and wouldn't touch his 2018 with the Titans. His agent has informed him to sign early and not be like Murray last year. DeMarco has several offers and never took them while looking for more $. Ultimately, teams signed other players and DeMarco spent the season saying he's available to a contender. Now he's sat a year. Matthews was told to take a good solid offer asap. He also said that he heard from a "way" number of teams days after the season ended. His (non Titans remember) regret was not signing with the Browns to play with Landry he said. I think that makes the Browns a likely target BUT...they weren't one of the teams that called. So Matthews, again, was advised to pick an offer ASAP and that he could very well be out of the league if he doesn't.

DeMarco sold his home (despite a zillion times saying he loved TN and would be there forever) and lost a bunch on the sale. He had some other financial problems and supposedly is going to try this offseason to sign somewhere. 

Both of these players would be perfect for the Titans- not now, necessarily due to personal strife or whatnot, but ignoring the personal. They need a third back that can backup Henry (Murray was a very good runner in his day) and that can sub in for Lewis (Murray was an excellent receiving back). I mentioned WRs above. This is a problem that goes back a real long time through two if not three GMs. Older players can provide quality depth, at reasonable contracts. The Titans always go with youth and, like in this scenario, it's so obvious how keeping someone would have been better than going with youth.

RAK retired. Morgan is a free agent that is widely viewed to have years (plural) left and could get a sizable deal. I found that surprising but maybe because at worst he can play DE as he did early in his career. Most Titans fans had him retiring too so this is something of a development.  (Matthews, DeMarco, ...)  With Finch, Correa, and Landry as OLBs, they could surely use a veteran presence like Morgan. 

Karl Klug coached in high school and loved it. It's assumed that was a step and he will try to coach in the NFL as a position assistant. Many players do one year of camps or one year of HS before making the decision to be a coach so he seems to be at that step. This would be another alternative to a veteran presence.

Vrabel and his ego stopped a long time tradition of allowing former Titans to visit camp whenever they want and respectfully, reasonably, help out in a minimal fashion. He seemed to change his thinking and there were tons of former Titans that showed up for a reunion type game. It'll be interesting to see if he allows them at camp now. 

The DL is full of "just good" players and most picks haven't panned out. Jurrell Casey has spent his career looking for a cohort and hasn't received it. The mention of Klug is pretty telling and interesting because he was often a backup but the most active, hustling, give it his all type backup that could be counted on. He was regularly Casey's best teammate on the DL and...again, he was a backup.  There has to be better production from the DL.

Butler was an expensive free agent that got toasted for the first six games (an NFL worst at the time) and then was put in a lesser role which he did extremely well. They can't get out of his contract which is such a cap hit, so they're probably going to have to continue to use him in this lesser role and in the least consider one player smothered.

Pees plays a defense that often requires two deep safeties. Statistically, Byard's side was top 5 almost every week and finishing as a top 3 unit. Vaccaro's side was 25th to 32nd. Many fans see a nice tackle or appreciate how he replaced Cyp and want him re-signed. Those numbers are awful and not indicative of a player to re-sign to be a starter BUT (common theme) what about veteran depth?

 

Bri

Footballguy
Cyprien is a 'what will they do' guy. No one knows. He is clearly deficient in coverage and clearly an asset against the run and with intimidating hits. He was someone Vrabel and Pees schemed for and both were excited to coach. However, we saw a defense almost exclusively play two deep which would be an awful role for him. What was the plan? We just don't know and without that, it's hard to tell if he's cut or sticks. 

Cruickshank was not as good as advertised pre-draft. He's an athlete and was excellent on special teams with trick plays. He is probably the backup safety in 2019. He has to be coached up to be a contributor on D. Lewis IS expected back but not to make the team, so he could walk in free agency. He has lost a step and is just not fast enough anymore. He knows Pees' D and was a great help teaching it, so they would like to have him back.

Evans stunk for 6-7 games and then everything clicked. He finished as a monster ILB with 90+ grades by PFF.  He wants to play OLB and probably needs to lose that thinking and embrace what could be a very nice career as a MLB or ILB.

Jayon Brown finally figured out how to get his nose dirty, shed blockers, and tackle the runners. A former safety and special athlete, he had struggled with this since college. Vrabel gets big kudos for whatever he did with Brown. Brown looks like a stud ILB too. 

Woodyard has been an asset and solid in his own right. They appear to have a quality backup but (theme above) will they keep him or trade him? 

Finch had reviews of being one of the best coached or best drilled DEs in the draft but was too small. As an OLB, he made the shift very well. He regularly had 80 and 90 grades by PFF and showed he understood discipline, technique and...everything. Whatever his Temple coach taught him really helped him. I imagine NFL teams will take a harder look at Temple defenders this offseason and sign one or two as a UDFA. Being so well coached really helped get him going in the NFL. Finch "put on a clinic" in a preseason game and probably had the best game of any defender in the NFL last summer. As a DE, he had four sacks, twelve pressures, and four tackles behind the line of scrimmage. Vrabel was giddy in pointing out he used 8 rushing techniques during the game. They spent his rookie year developing him as an OLB and he's still too light (he is 6-4 or 6-3) so what will his position be in 2019? Another surprise, he was one of few Titans that JRob received trade offers on and he didn't even do much by the trade deadline. 

The Pats have a defensive set that is 3-4 on one side of the field and 4-3 on the other. It's so hard to word and at some point I'll try and share a link. Playing primarily in a nickel, as most teams do, calling the Titans a 3-4 last year was almost a bit much. I expect the Titans to switch to this. It may be written by others to be a 4-3 but just discard that talk and consider it a Belichick special or somesuch. It started with Landry years ago and Belichick added to it when he had Wilfork. I'll get a link. 

JRob has to have this conversation with Vrabel and Pees. If they can run it, if they're going to often have 4 down linemen, then it changes the team needs dramatically and the DL has to be a big focus. It is very hard to find a 3-4 DE that can hold his own against 2 or 3 blockers. JRob's arrogance has led him to keep trying. If they go with the 3-4, he has to sign a proven player and stop failing in the draft.

Jonnu wasn't good and then was, then got hurt. As long as the light is still on with whatever clicked, he should still be Delanie's future backup. Firkser is an excellent FOURTH tight end that can play special teams and caught 100% of passes against zones. He uses his intelligence (Harvard) to find the soft spot in a zone very well. He's not a third TE. He can't block that well, doesn't have the size, and isn't athletic enough to win battles against man coverage. So...while limited, it's still nice depth. The Titans really missed Supernaw which was an odd cut and probably just because he was a Mularkey guy. There is something to be said for a third stringer that prides himself on good blocks and making plays on special teams. (theme again) he was replaced by inexperienced TEs that were even asked to play FB....and did so poorly.

Fowler was re-signed and I contend there was a clear improvement in the run game despite him never playing. They burned a few contact practices and Vrabel went from having his staff use boxing gloves to being pleased with the hitting and "violence" by the offense. I wouldn't put it past them to bring him back again or to sign a FB or two in the draft. The top rated FB is a TE which suits perfectly. The other is a former RB that ran for 1000+ yards so maybe he could also be the third string RB? Both are projected 7th rounders and those picks have almost no value on the trade chart so....to follow up on a prior interview with JRob this past summer. 

JRob seemed to "nail" trading up and signing UDFAs instead of the draft picks he would have. Many UDFAs didn't stick despite a good summer but that was the talk then. JRob did say he probably would have to trade into round 7 this year. See teams threw 5th and 6th round money at the UDFAs to attract them and that is both expected to be a trend and can get difficult to compete with. If he trades for 7th rounders, (worth one on the trade chart and even .50 on other trade charts) they're locked in on a salary and he's sure to get his guy. There were roughly 8 GMs that spent on UDFAs and those guys did contribute so we're about to have a trend of either more spending, trading into the 7th, or both. 

Conklin struggled and that's a considerable story. He didn't look good post ACL but they also switched from a power scheme to a ZBS scheme. He also lost his excellent blocking TEs by his side. Is he the all pro? Or is he "not the same" after tearing his ACL? JRob is going to have to plan for both his success and his demise. 

Davis has not stepped up and when/if he does, then they're all set. Without that, they lack a special big WR that so many teams covet. Tajae improved and Vrabel seems to really like him. He should be a nice 4th WR in 2019. Batson muffed several punts and kicks in camp and preseason and missed tackles on special teams. He showed excellent quickness and route running for a guy with no experience, but he absolutely must improve to stick. Jennings played a little bit on offense and is probably fine as a fifth or sixth WR. He led the NFL in KRs so he is probably penciled in there while Batson is in a tight spot. Taylor had an odd year with the OC apologizing for not utilizing him more and then doing well and then it looked again like they were ignoring him. 

Adoree is still the same guy they drafted. Fans still want him to play offense too. He is quite possibly the best athlete in the NFL but he still can't blanket WRs. He shows improvement then decline then improvement...he's gotta put it together. Sims was curiously played as a slot corner despite a career with success outside and not inside. He scrapped pretty good. He got beat, recovered, over n over. His learning is so evident. They've really done him a disservice adding all these corners. We'll never know just how good he could be if he isn't given time to develop. As is though, he's probably the best 5th string CB and...whatever, that's nice depth. Tye Smith closed 2017 well and did well briefly in 2018. He'll return from injury and they have awesome depth at CB with Logan Ryan leading the unit.

For the bulk of 2017 and 2018, the Titans have been a top 10 defense, sometimes tinkering in the top 5. As much as the DL bugs many fans, it truly isn't that big of a concern. That's hard to choke down, but the reality is that the D is good enough, the offense isn't. Most OCs would be quite happy with only having to outscore an opponent facing a top defense. The Titans have struggled and switched staff members and WRs so much that Mariota appears to be following the same path as Sam Bradford. There's little continuity everywhere you look for him. 

Finally, the Titans are expected to change their active owner from Amy to Kenneth. Sister to brother. This has to be approved by the NFL but as the attorney for the NFL many times, it's widely expected that he gets approved. The curious development was that the Titans did not file for this change. After months of saying it will happen, they didn't. Did someone change their mind?

The draft is in Nashville and supposedly it's bad for the home team to trade away their first round pick or to do what JRob did last year and only have a few picks. I couldn't agree with this less but...that's the talk.

The draft could help Nashville grow even more as many people travel there for the draft. There is this contention that they are the biggest small town in America. Not a city. Not always "country music capital" or "BBQ capital" or....but the one people cling to most is "biggest small town"  worded a myriad of different ways. It's fascinating to see a city grow (from afar) and read their claims of sticking to smallish roots. I don't think it's sustainable. Either they go big or they continue with this contention. I'm interested to see the city's growth in 2019.

This isn't nothing or non-Titans related. That 25 mil cushion has been a thorn. If they can sustain a large fan base with impressive attendance #s and merch sales and...then maybe we'll never see that cushion again. There are five or six NFL teams that manage with a cushion and there was a lot of data present during the last CBA. The penalty for this is that the NFLPA awards certain players bonuses on playing time so we saw guys like Spain and Andrews get a nice bonus check in March or February. This is still far cheaper than using that 25 mil. The other side is fans seeing the Titans make the playoffs last year, almost make it this year, and what if they spent that 25 mil. Would a few players have put them over the top? Fans don't want to wonder but want that money spent.

 

Bri

Footballguy
I have no idea what to expect next year. 

If Mariota stayed healthy for once, TT and Davis approach their potential, Walker stays healthy... they have a fair chance to be successful.  With the right breaks and health, they could be contenders (but that can be said about many teams).  But I'm skeptical.   Seems like the division is getting better.  If the Jags get Foles or someone else worth starting, the Titans could easily be last place in the division.   

Vrabel could be good, we'll have to give him a couple years.  But man that offense looked flat at too many times last year.   I really don't get how LaFleur earned a promotion, but maybe he can do better with Rodgers. 

Is a QB coach or someone else on a team still playing a candidate?   Is Mark Helfrich the odds on favorite to take the job?  
The QB coach and TE coach are candidates with the TE coach being the leading in-house one. Vrabel is expected to go get his guy though and not hire either. 

I think it's Godsey or Day. 

Helfrich's team turned down interview requests from other teams. The Titans did not inquire but it's assumed they would have been turned down too. This is the same as LaFleur not being able to interview or hire his own brother because his team turned down requests. Can the guy quit and join? Yeah but then you anger everyone in the league, he has to pay the contract owed, and it just doesn't happen. 

I don't like most suggestions. They're retreads in a not good way. I mean not like they coached a zillion dynamic offenses and it's our turn with them but like they had a bit of success and then failure...average.

My favorite suggestion is Mularkey- not because I want him. That doesn't happen and it would be stomping on Vrabel's toes. He's my favorite because whenever him being under contract is mentioned, people actually suggest reasonable candidates and give continuity a thought so at this point I'm like "yeah suggest Mularkey, he got us a win in the playoffs" and the discussion is excellent.

I lack patience. I feel like I've given the team patience through lean years so they owe me some dividends. I didn't forget that Vrabel was hired to take this team further into the playoffs and miss that he failed to qualify either. I want the pressure on him as it was when he was hired. It's like a few months went by and the Titans org just had this "give it time" vibe. No, no, I'm not going to be patient and undergo some roster overhaul and wait while some young guy learns the NFL as an OC. This is a common sentiment BTW and their season ticket holders, despite being given a Casey bobblehead doll, did not respond well to the renewal offers. It's like "everyone" is waiting to see who they hire.

JRob is not in a praised spot anymore. His Conklin trade looks bad. There are a bunch of picks that do. Not making the playoffs is considerable. Hiring the right OC (and the assumption toward offensive success) impacts him as much as Vrabel. 

I think they're taking their time. Whoever they do want probably knows of their interest, they just haven't settled on one guy. 

Vrabel, the defensive guy, is also about to be defined as a poor offensive coach if this flops. I'm sure he'd get another job as a HC after this one, but even at that time, people will be like "yeah but who is the offensive coordinator?"  There aren't that many like Marvin Lewis that go from coaching the defense super to being known as an offensive head coach.

Pees almost retiring had to affect him too. He has to get "his guys" and has to build "his staff" relatively quickly. I wouldn't be surprised if there is an assistant defensive coordinator hired as Pees' eventual replacement and to take some weight off him during the year. I believe he had a stroke but some said mild heart attack. Whatever, he's gotta watch his stress level.

More Pats were hired as head coaches and the pool of assistant candidates with Patriot experience is real thin.  He seems excited when he talks of Ohio State and Boston College. He also tells a good story of meeting coaches from Connecticut with BB. It could also be a coach he played for or regularly against like a division opponent that always had a "sharp" offensive gameplan. It's really fascinating to hear how he went to a proday or ran into someone at a restaurant or clinic and things clicked and they talked for hours and became friends. Coaches are so arrogant and stand-offish that this is very uncommon. 

Vrabel's a smart guy and I think a Vrabel guy is intellectual. I think that was the allure with LaFleur and also BC and CT....and probably Belichick too. The ability to see the game through someone else's lens.

Mike Sullivan was just let go from the Broncos and I oh so strongly hope the Titans hire him but it's too new for him to be a candidate

 

Bri

Footballguy
Smith is the hire. Very little experience. Zero calling plays, zero even drawing them up. Titans players seem happy so I guess that's good. 

Edit- I was wrong here, he called red zone plays and red zone D. In fact, the time he didn't were plays that drove us nuts

 
Last edited by a moderator:

Bri

Footballguy
The Titans new offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, is definitely unique. His dad is the founder of FedEx and worth 5+ billion. Smith played offensive line at UNC but sat two plus years due to injury. His dad bought naming rights to the Redskins' stadium and asked for his college graduate son to get a job there. He was a defensive quality control which meant he broke down film some and fetched things. Joe Gibbs had no idea he was a rich guy's son that was supposed to take it easy on the rich guy's son and Arthur had never worked before. He worked all hours of the night and loved it. Gibbs took a liking to him and the two of them hit it off. After Gibbs apologized, Smith started working 20 hour days and had no plans to stop because his dad's a billionaire and he doesn't have to work. A seed was planted. 

His next job was similar and he was a secretary til someone realized and then he became an intern LB coach. 
Jump a few years, and the Titans hired him but the message was supposed to be clear this time. Coach Mike Munchak publicly said how Smith's background with coaching the offensive line would help the team. Smith never coached the offensive line.
One year later, new coach Ken Whisenhunt was asking about the prior staff and only doing courtesy interviews while the reality was he'd let most everybody go. When he asked people of Smith, they commented how well he did and how he was the most active, most vocal. The Titans had two hall of fame lineman on that staff and probably two hall of fame players on that unit yet Smith somehow someway blended in. How is that even possible?

Mike Mularkey was the TE coach and assistant head coach. He was to keep an eye on Smith who would hold the position of assistant TE coach. Smith did all the filmwork and wanted to do all the reps in practice, so Mularkey eventually spent more time with other units. So now, he was truly coaching and entrenched in the NFL as a position coach.

Mularkey had asked him to plan the red zone defense and offense, through filmwork. He did it so well, Mularkey let him present it to the team.
During the interview with Vrabel to see if he'd stay, Smith pointed out that he had used his $ to purchase game film and game plans from Gibbs and many other coaches over the years. When he wasn't working, he was working at home.

New coach Mike Vrabel and new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur were struggling to create the right offense last offseason so amidst their struggles, they decided to let Smith continue to coach the red zone. 
The Titans QB has struggled between the 20s and yet has best ever success rate in the red zone. Their defense in the red zone has regularly been one of the best during this time as well.

He became the Titans offensive coordinator yesterday. The call he couldn't wait to get, came- Joe Gibbs calling to congratulate him.

 

Bri

Footballguy
I don't like that it's not some famous flashy hire and hiring inexperience could absolutely cost Vrabel and JRob their jobs if he fails, but....I lllllove that he has such Gibbs influence and that Vrabel has such BB influence.  

 

Bri

Footballguy
No presser is scheduled, none, for January so for at least a couple weeks. The guy may not get his moment there 

Unlike when LaFleur said it initially (didn't til week 10!!!!), the "new" offense is to be a collaboration of the prior offenses and what he feels worked best. 

 

msommer

Footballguy
The Titans new offensive coordinator, Arthur Smith, is definitely unique. His dad is the founder of FedEx and worth 5+ billion. Smith played offensive line at UNC but sat two plus years due to injury. His dad bought naming rights to the Redskins' stadium and asked for his college graduate son to get a job there. He was a defensive quality control which meant he broke down film some and fetched things. Joe Gibbs had no idea he was a rich guy's son that was supposed to take it easy on the rich guy's son and Arthur had never worked before. He worked all hours of the night and loved it. Gibbs took a liking to him and the two of them hit it off. After Gibbs apologized, Smith started working 20 hour days and had no plans to stop because his dad's a billionaire and he doesn't have to work. A seed was planted. 

His next job was similar and he was a secretary til someone realized and then he became an intern LB coach. 
Jump a few years, and the Titans hired him but the message was supposed to be clear this time. Coach Mike Munchak publicly said how Smith's background with coaching the offensive line would help the team. Smith never coached the offensive line.
One year later, new coach Ken Whisenhunt was asking about the prior staff and only doing courtesy interviews while the reality was he'd let most everybody go. When he asked people of Smith, they commented how well he did and how he was the most active, most vocal. The Titans had two hall of fame lineman on that staff and probably two hall of fame players on that unit yet Smith somehow someway blended in. How is that even possible?

Mike Mularkey was the TE coach and assistant head coach. He was to keep an eye on Smith who would hold the position of assistant TE coach. Smith did all the filmwork and wanted to do all the reps in practice, so Mularkey eventually spent more time with other units. So now, he was truly coaching and entrenched in the NFL as a position coach.

Mularkey had asked him to plan the red zone defense and offense, through filmwork. He did it so well, Mularkey let him present it to the team.
During the interview with Vrabel to see if he'd stay, Smith pointed out that he had used his $ to purchase game film and game plans from Gibbs and many other coaches over the years. When he wasn't working, he was working at home.

New coach Mike Vrabel and new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur were struggling to create the right offense last offseason so amidst their struggles, they decided to let Smith continue to coach the red zone. 
The Titans QB has struggled between the 20s and yet has best ever success rate in the red zone. Their defense in the red zone has regularly been one of the best during this time as well.

He became the Titans offensive coordinator yesterday. The call he couldn't wait to get, came- Joe Gibbs calling to congratulate him.
You've set the bar pretty high for Arthur with this wite up, @Bri. Here's hoping he meets it and more!

 

msommer

Footballguy
I don't like that it's not some famous flashy hire and hiring inexperience could absolutely cost Vrabel and JRob their jobs if he fails, but....I lllllove that he has such Gibbs influence and that Vrabel has such BB influence.  
This comment made me :whoosh:  

 

Bri

Footballguy
You've set the bar pretty high for Arthur with this wite up, @Bri. Here's hoping he meets it and more!
Nah I don't have an expectation other than to run the plays he has seen work best.

I wouldn't be surprised if a FB was added and some beefier TEs. I liked Andrews slinging it to Marcus, will they get a RB with an arm? Rishard was key so a sure-handed veteran that doesn't have to be the tallest or fastest but...good, solid. I like the concept of going with what works. It's simple. I love the influences too. I think this is how you give Marcus continuity and the best chance of success. 

I think the best chance of success for the Titans may be to get a retread (ugh I know) or college spread guy (it's been coming to the NFL for years) and try to light up the scoreboard rather than ball control and patience. That might mean the end for Marcus and they gotta trade him but....it's possible we look back and think that.

I still very much expect Belichick to try and get Marcus because his raves about him are almost too strong considering Marcus' performance and in one year, he could be a free agent. If it's a year like 2018, I don't know that he's worth 20mil. If Marcus fails, JRob and Vrabel probably lose their jobs. That is life in the NFL, like it or not. Maybe JRob just loses his VP title...whatever, there will be some backlash, always is.

I'm torn. Completely indifferent and let's see

 

msommer

Footballguy
TENNESSEE TITANS: Jayon Brown, linebacker. Halfway through the season (after watching an unusually large amount of Titans film), I wondered why Brown wasn't getting more love for his play. The young linebacker seemed to be everywhere against a variety of opposing offenses. His PFF grades weren't the best, but the tape didn't lie -- Brown was becoming a dude in Tennessee's defense. It warmed my heart, then, to see Around The NFL's Chris Wesseling place Brown on his All-Pro Third Team. His last big play of the season -- a 22-yard pick-six of Andrew Luck in a Week 17 loss to the Colts-- should help Brown carry his positive momentum into 2019, where I believe he'll be a great candidate to make the leap into stardom.
From NFL.com unsung heroes

 
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Reactions: Bri

Bri

Footballguy
Ohio State's DT goes about where the Titans pick and matches a need. 

I wouldn't be surprised to see them try and trade Mariota for Haskins. I'm not saying they will or any of that, it's just Vrabel is from Ohio State, is BFF with their OC, and that happens to be the only first round QB and the top QB. I think his friend raving about Haskins would be some comfort during stressy evaluations

 

Bri

Footballguy
Offensive coordinator presser today. The last couple weeks, I would say he got his first test of how NOT to talk to the press. I don't like it, of course, but Vrabel is a mini BB so I guess it comes with that

 

Bri

Footballguy
Ohio State's DT goes about where the Titans pick and matches a need. 

I wouldn't be surprised to see them try and trade Mariota for Haskins. I'm not saying they will or any of that, it's just Vrabel is from Ohio State, is BFF with their OC, and that happens to be the only first round QB and the top QB. I think his friend raving about Haskins would be some comfort during stressy evaluations
This still feels very "off" and too far-fetched but they reportedly had a lot of interest in QBs and not just at the Senior Bowl but at the AFL training camp. One writer wrote that "the Giants select, wait Jon Robinson, who should we take?"

Their interest should be in backup QBs but...it feels off. Maybe this is due diligence and previously they didn't? 

 

Bri

Footballguy
Julius Warmsley got some love from Mike Singletary and he praised him back. He and Mekhale McKay stood out at the AFL training camp. I hope the Titans will be interested in giving them another chance in camp.

Mike Martz created a "fleet TE" offense and Singletary created a "FIVE" defense due to personnel and "still got a job to do" necessity. I'm curious of both. The five we know is five DL or five LB or five DBs and can even be five LBs and five DBs. I wish I knew more about presnap reads and shifts. He's being very weird and very successful too. Singletary's seems to be about teaching gap discipline and everyone attacks whatever gap they're supposed to, regardless if it's a typical setup. Martz' looks like basketball plays. The TEs pick for each other and occasionally they just dart straight ahead and skip the pick. He's got the TEs everywhere and it's above my head- why does it matter (if it's the same two defenders) if the TEs are off the tackle or out wide? It's the same pick play and I don't get it. When they run, then it's obvious like ohhhh you got all the attention on your TEs to the right, then ran left, like he manufactured a #1 WR but for pass plays this seems stupid, then it works because communication stinks between the defenders. I'm all interested by these nuances 

 

-OZ-

Footballguy
I don't like that it's not some famous flashy hire and hiring inexperience could absolutely cost Vrabel and JRob their jobs if he fails, but....I lllllove that he has such Gibbs influence and that Vrabel has such BB influence.  
Funny, that makes me like him more. 

Ohio State's DT goes about where the Titans pick and matches a need. 

I wouldn't be surprised to see them try and trade Mariota for Haskins. I'm not saying they will or any of that, it's just Vrabel is from Ohio State, is BFF with their OC, and that happens to be the only first round QB and the top QB. I think his friend raving about Haskins would be some comfort during stressy evaluations
It would really surprise me. I get that Mariota hasn't met expectations and is hurt often but trading him would be a mistake. 

Jones could be a good choice.

Might go for Ferrell on the opposite side from Landry, or help on the line. Maybe even hockenson.

 

Bri

Footballguy
Nice to hear that the Titans offered a contract to Dimitri Flowers and Alex McGough but the Jags landed them. I really loved both those guys for the Titans. Last year's top rated FB who is unique and has some scat back to his game and a very highly rated QB that did so well on film but not the prototype teams wanted so he fell undrafted. Looked great for the Hawks in preseason and they tried to protect him all year but couldn't as the playoffs neared so he got claimed. 

I really haven't felt good about JRob working the waiver wire for a while now. That matches up exactly to what Vrabel and Smith said too. They're gonna shore up the backup QB spot and they're gonna get a FB. 

Austin Davis was cut and...yep there's another sign. 

Add that to the RB and NT they signed as the year closed and it's really refreshing to see some transparency that hasn't been there since Vrabel took over

 
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Bri

Footballguy
Mekale McKay looked real good. He was on everyone's players to watch list too. He's got thighs and arms now so I had to look. 26 to 36 pounds heavier depending which weight/site ya go with from draft day. He looks calm too. After one catch, he's on the sideline and he and a coach are pointing at feet and stepping. Coach is all smiley. I want to say it was his turn on his route and he got his feet perfect, got good separation with a nice sharp cut. 

They gotta bring him back. He hit everything he could improve upon on day one- weight, route running. They're not gonna find many 6-5 6-6 WRs that can leap like him, let's face it if they existed, they'd play basketball. 

I didn't see Warmsley. Akrum Wadley is on a team but appears to have been a late addition.

Woodside was very unimpressive; threw darts almost every time like he has no skill.

 

Bri

Footballguy
Didn't re-sign Spain

Didn't try to do one of these trades where they give up a late pick if someone takes on a big contract for you- Butler, Kline

Re-signed Vaccaro at 6 plus and he wasn't good. The Titans often play two deep safeties. Byard's side is tops or second best in NFL. Vaccaro's was 26th or 27th. This is an awful mistake for a division with wise QBs too. IF IF IF they can fix whatever issues, I guess it's OK. The Saints couldn't and he wound up being an odd safety that covered the slot pretty often. 

Butler had started the year awfully and then they were able to limit his exposure and he closed just fine. Adoree still is the same as his rookie year. OMG athleticism and questionable coverage. It's possible Vaccaro, Adoree, and Butler are improved in 2019. Also that Ryan recovers well. Then they will have a top secondary that they spent a lot of $ and picks on. 

Tye Smith hasn't played a lot but was a surprise starter and/or key contributor for about 6 games in 2 years. He allowed only four passes in that time. Sims still looks like he would be a fine corner if he got the playing time. I would have been OK with playing these two more and NOT having Butler and Vaccaro.

The other problem is watch Landon Collins break the bank. They have to re-sign Mariota and Byard. Byard might wind up being close to as much as MM8. I think JRob messed up. We're gonna have to wait to hear if there's an out. They can't afford Vaccaro next year.

No one is pointing out that Cruik is a wasted draft pick. 

For two days, Cyp was going to come back and be a nickel LB and dime LB. I don't know what happened there. He could definitely do that role and I thought it was smart. He isn't good in coverage but comparable to a LB, yeah he's good. His hitting is already like a LB and...yep I could totally see it. There is absolutely no need with Evans and Browns being as athletic as it gets at ILB so it's probably a good thing it didn't happen. Guy played a half season for the Titans and JRob is getting credit for signing him two years ago....garbage.

A few guards were traded and a few edge guys, Titans didn't jump in.

Humphries was one of my fave WRs available and woohoo! They got him! That's exciting. Robinson rated him as a UDFA and a top UDFA so they Bucs picked him up after the draft. People are mentioning that, not that JRob had two visits with him and still considered him undraftable. I'm having a lot of trouble with this "in JRob we trust" stuff from fans. The guy is never wrong or to be criticized and it's weird.

Titans have shopped Tajae and had no takers at their price. (No idea) The Steelers continually wanted Taylor as part of the Brown trade. At one point they wanted Conk

Kenneth Adams was offered a position by the NFL in January and something by the federal gov't. He didn't become the majority owner in January. Since no one knows what happened, it's assumed he took the federal investigator job and it must be kept private. It's all odd. He was instrumental in getting the draft to Nashville, had changes coming....we just don't know what happened. It's still possible Amy wanted more time or some sort of family disagreement. I just don't know. He was to be the new majority owner for like 7 months and then he's not.

This is important for JRob and Vrabel's jobs. Remember Amy lllloves Marcus. So like every GM and coach, if Marcus doesn't pan out this year, their fates could be tied to his.

Smith has discussed the offense with Vrabel and spent some time with this. I was thrilled to hear what he said about things being obvious strengths and weaknesses and utilizing strengths- we all said that too! They were either a top line or awful. There wasn't much in-between.

The Titans spent a lot of time with a UDFA WR at the combine which is just wasteful. 

Vrabel did say the Titans have watched Warmsley and they will be bringing him back if the sides can agree. He has been a tough NT in the AAF and most writers had him making the team last year. He's depth, not a starter.

Since JRob said they aren't done signing help for Mariota, I assume they'll do something with Taylor and we can move on to where I point out they'll regret it.

 

Bri

Footballguy
This concept that the Colts could be a superteam is fascinating and scary. Watch that GM in free agency. He has pieces already and crazy amounts of money

 

-OZ-

Footballguy
This concept that the Colts could be a superteam is fascinating and scary. Watch that GM in free agency. He has pieces already and crazy amounts of money
Agreed. Good coach, great QB, good GM, money to spend, a couple really good first and second year players, Colts are going to be tough for a while. 

Love the Humphreys signing, exactly the type of receiver I was hoping they'd get.

 

travdogg

Footballguy
Cameron Wake....hmmm good for third down
I'd bet he's a full time starter. He's still playing at a pro bowl level, its just he's been on Miami. Its kinda kinda the tree falling in the woods with nobody around theory. Anyway, great signing by the Titans.

 
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msommer

Footballguy
got your wish
I wasn't sure they would go after Saffold and not sure what to think of it. On one hand he's clearly the top Guard FA, on the other he's a bit long in the tooth. I hope this is not a desperation contract that will bite the Titans in the patooty later

 

Bri

Footballguy
Many reports of trade offers for Tajae and Taywan. One stated that it was close and they'll revisit near the draft. A deal seems real possible this offseason. 

 

Bri

Footballguy
Tannehill is eh but at least it's a former starter and I'm pleased about that. It doesn't change my thinking that backups stink in the NFL but it's an upgrade over Gabbert

 

-OZ-

Footballguy
Tannehill is eh but at least it's a former starter and I'm pleased about that. It doesn't change my thinking that backups stink in the NFL but it's an upgrade over Gabbert
Definitely an upgrade. I'm not surprised that Tanny is now a backup and frankly he's got to be one of the better backups in the league.  Obviously we hope MM is healthy for the year but backups are important. 

So far I like what they've done. Nothing huge but decent moves.

 

Bri

Footballguy
Most of their visits have been with defensive players- DL, CB, and LBs

One later type G, one TE, and one later round WR

 

Bri

Footballguy
Can Spain play right guard?
Right now it looks like Spain's agent is trying to pit Minnesota versus the Dolphins for his services. New England had a visit and reportedly worked him out as a tackle and were impressed. (He was a college tackle) If money is any indication, the Pats appear to be looking for quality depth while the Fins and Vikes want a starter. 

 

msommer

Footballguy
Right now it looks like Spain's agent is trying to pit Minnesota versus the Dolphins for his services. New England had a visit and reportedly worked him out as a tackle and were impressed. (He was a college tackle) If money is any indication, the Pats appear to be looking for quality depth while the Fins and Vikes want a starter. 
Then the Titans need another LG. 

 

Van Dyman

Footballguy
Then the Titans need another LG. 
Ben Jones can play guard, and they brought back Pamphile. I've seen a lot of speculation that the Titans could draft a center in the first round and move Jones to RG with Saffold beside Lewan. Seems like a decent option.

 

Bri

Footballguy
VandyMan said:
Ben Jones can play guard, and they brought back Pamphile. I've seen a lot of speculation that the Titans could draft a center in the first round and move Jones to RG with Saffold beside Lewan. Seems like a decent option.
Today, word is the Titans are not 100% done with Kline or Spain and have "left the door open."  Curiously, Kline has visits with the Vikings and Dolphins just like Spain did. 

Spain was onto a visit with New England, last I saw.

Kline- supposedly, they'd want him as a backup and his salary would have to match. Spain "everyone" has as a possible guard starter, again. If he's 4-5 mil, that would suit the Titans but if he's going to go much higher, they don't want to pay that.

Next year, the Titans are expected to lose Conk and Kelly to free agency. The Titans are not expected to have enough $ to re-sign Conk if he has an exceptional year and to not want him if he has a poor year. If he has a good year, they can handle that. (Byard and Mariota could "break the bank") 

Everything I have heard is Saffold will be playing RG, not left. Many are writing LG but I'm not hearing that.

The Titans are overloaded with tackles now. It looks odd but, it'll be somewhat normal when the roster hops up to 90 players. Don't misunderstand writers trying to force a T into a G spot because there isn't one on the roster.

Pamphile was cut, had an injury during his exit, then switched to injured reserve. He is not a projected starter and it's a stretch even for him to be projected to make the team after not doing so last summer. Filo played a good amount for the Cowboys and Vrabel did say he could have made better decisions to get to the 53 but everyone has used that one quote over n over and applied it to just about everyone. The Texans free agent OL got beat out and after the Texans own line not doing well, yet they let those guys walk...I'm not expecting anything from Pamphile.

Jones filled in at guard briefly. He's not expected to lose his C spot regardless who they draft. He's a free agent in a year. He is the leader of the Oline and they're not sure Lewan is ready to. Saffold is vocal and they're not sure he is. Jones had a lot of issues with the ZBS last year and respectfully privately discussed it with the coaches and they really loved how he did it. As they try to go with a system that suits the linemen best, they strongly want him in there at C.

Many have had the Titans drafting the top C in the draft. He had a great Combine and all the interviews are going real well. The problem is he was exposed as being not likely to succeed at G. While draft rags had the Titans drafting him to play G this year and center next, that seems unlikely now. 

Barron is the only lineman they visited with, last I checked. He's a mean G that teams are unsure of and probably a late rounder. 
They protected Stinnie all year last year for a reason and they are NOT saying why. He was an (small school) all american tackle twice and comes from a basketball family. His dad played in the NBA and was able to arrange for predraft training with some former NFL players. Last preseason, he played G, T, and a blocking TE spot. There's almost nothing about him during the season through practices. Everyone I talk to says he played G and TE but they're hesitant because they weren't trying to notice some guy that wouldn't play. Sooo regardless of all this, let's pencil Stinnie in as a backup somewhere.

Conk has no ambition to play G and JRob confirmed he will not be moved. 

Levin struggled starting and playing with the ones each preseason. They like him, but he looks like a longtime backup. 

Tackle Martz is still defying everyone (since high school) and still in the league despite being snail slow. He was awesome at Wisconsin with great grades against future NFL DEs. His combine scores were worst ever type. He was the pawn Mularkey used to motivate rookie Conklin by benching him one practice. They tried him at G and he was awful for a couple weeks of year 2. Otherwise, he's been fine with the 2s and 3s. Every year he makes it (or is brought right back) because despite  his lack of athleticism, he has so much fight and determination to him that he can handle the tackle spot better than most scrubs. 

With only one OL visit, it doesn't look like the Titans plan on drafting one but there's still time. JRob has this great mindset where he's not afraid to replace anyone on D(except Casey) to improve it. I think he's too patient with the offense. All in all though, ya gotta figure there is a free agent G that he has in mind.

The only other alternative is Kelly at G. He played G in Philly and did fill in at G some for the Titans. I do not think this is what they're doing.

The Conk trade rumors are real strong. Maybe he plans to get a G that way

It all comes back to "what are you up to if you're not visiting with guards before the draft"

 

Bri

Footballguy
(As if that wasn't long enough) Walker has been an excellent blocker and Jonnu blocked real well until he became the starter and got all nervous. They had an excellent right edge and Henry is a great runner around the corner. I think they are determined to settle things at RT/TE and feel like they flopped when they tinkered with things last year.   They loved the idea of bookend tackles for a decade. While Conk struggled to come back from his ACL, that doesn't mean they dashed their dreams or thoughts. Mariota tends to run right when under pressure and they just can't be weak there

 

King of the Jungle

Footballguy
Great move by the Titans to strengthen the backup QB position, MM just cannot be trusted to play the full season. Looking forward to seeing Corey Davis can take that next step. I will never understand why they don’tfind more ways to get Taywan Taylor more involved in the offense. Both preseasons he was on full hype and then nothing during the regular season. Maybe a trade would be best for him (would love to see the Steelers grab him and try to develop him).

 

Bri

Footballguy
Great move by the Titans to strengthen the backup QB position, MM just cannot be trusted to play the full season. Looking forward to seeing Corey Davis can take that next step. I will never understand why they don’tfind more ways to get Taywan Taylor more involved in the offense. Both preseasons he was on full hype and then nothing during the regular season. Maybe a trade would be best for him (would love to see the Steelers grab him and try to develop him).
I predict Taylor will be traded this offseason

 

Bri

Footballguy
Garbage from the Titans at the owners meetings and everyone knows.

Vrabel saying how of course they reported every injury yet Strunk confirming they're under investigation.

Vrabel saying how Pamphile could be the starting RG yet also saying how he was to be cut last year if not for the late injury.

No owner change and no discussion on Kenneth Adams and they literally went into a meeting to discuss the Titans ownership

Numbers were great, new uniforms were great, yet this year the numbers will be 3/4 of an inch bigger

Reporters from all over the league are raising an eyebrow like what the is going on here?

The only sincere thing seemed to be the praise the league was giving Moustache for planning this draft. He's going to be making up a manual/guide of sorts for other cities to follow in the future.  A lot of his plan is just brilliant and I'll try to write something up in the future if I have time. He's thought out how to use the profit of local businesses (from the draft) to reinvest into NFL properties and keep money flowing into Nashville with youth football programs, nutrition programs, and a potential NFL retirement community built somewhere near. Come retire where musicians retire....it's really great. 

 

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