NASHVILLE. Tenn. – Logan Ryan has manned the slot for the Titans' defense for the better part of three years.

It seemed clear early in the offseason the Titans wouldn’t be working to re-sign Ryan, as significant a player as he’d been for the franchise. And Mike Vrabel pretty much sealed it on April 20th when he spoke of how offensive deployment and the route being called for inside receivers have redefined the demands of the slot corner position.

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“Now we’re seeing a lot more vertical routes that are coming out of the slot," Vrabel said, "so I think that is something that is always a challenge when you are looking for players that do all those things and do them very well.”

Ryan was a better horizontal defender and now the Titans want to have more speed to withstand a threat like Tyreek Hill lined up inside, ready to take off. [Unlocked.}

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The first time Taylor Lewan had a big position of leadership with the Titans, it didn’t go well and I was puzzled by how things were so complicated.

A year removed from being the 11th pick in the draft, a well-regarded, highly athletic left tackle, he had maturing to do. But naming his a captain didn’t seem like a huge stretch for Ken Whisenhunt.

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“I think for a while, captain, there was a piece of me I lost trying to be that All-American guy,” he said in a Zoom chat with media Thursday. “Then I come in here, and Ken makes me a captain my second year, and I’m trying to be what I think people need me to be. (Mike) Mularkey came, stripped the ‘C’ away and all that. Whether that was right or wrong doesn’t really matter. I think I was just trying to be something that I wasn’t.”

Ryan Tannehill will almost assuredly take over Marcus Mariota’s captaincy this season, and Ben Jones is an incumbent. So there may not be room for Lewan to be a captain. But he wants to take on more of a leadership role for a team that will be without three players who’ve been big leaders Delanie Walker, Jurrell Casey and Wesley Woodyard. [Unlocked.]

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Titans' playoff effort against Ravens seems forgotten in forecasts for Lamar Jackson

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Lamar Jackson’s improvement in 2019 was remarkable and it lined him up for a unanimous MVP award.

Expectations remain high for him, and they should. He's talented, plays for a team with a very smart coaching philosophy and is surrounded by very good talent.CaseyBAL2

But I’ve seen much written about him that completely disregards the Titans' playoff win in Baltimore. Sure, it was one game and he still put up big numbers in it. Tennessee, however, affected him in a big way, prompting two interceptions, a lost fumble and failed attempts on a couple fourth-and-1 rush attempts.

The Titans forced Jackson to move laterally. They were super-sound as they rallied to tackle him. They stopped the Ravens on a total of four fourth downs and went and scored touchdowns following the first two, those fourth-and-1 stops of Jackson runs.

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Regression areas to fear for the Titans' offense

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Based on what the Titans did in 2019, it’s fair to say some expectations need to be reset.

That’s certainly what @TitansElite2018 believes.

But this tweet from that account lends itself to a different interpretation as well.

Regression to the mean may be coming for Tennessee, and that’s one big cause for concern as the Titans work through Zoom meetings right now, doing the best they can to prepare for what they expect to be a complete follow-up season to their march to the AFC Championship game.

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Mail call: A.J. Brown attention, who gets into games, Derrick Henry's importance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Happy Memorial Day Weekend. Here's hoping as things start to open up, some fun opens up for you.

ICYMI, here's the big Periscope from Thursday.

 Onto my best answers to your best questions from the week. I hope you ave a terrific weekend. 

 

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Eric North Has AJ Brown earned the game plan of “we have to get AJ the ball X amount of times per game” that many top WR’s get? If not, what does he have to do to get that?

I don’t think it will work like that with the Titans. They will work to get him the ball and they will go into games knowing that against this look they should have the opportunity to get it to him. And they will certainly call those plays and look for other situations as a game unfolds that present calls that will maximize his chances.

I doubt, however, they will ever have a quota like you are talking about.

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Who a salary cap dip in 2021 hurts most on the Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The NFL salary cap grew to $198.2 million this year with projections for sizable growth in a year with the players’ share of all revenue growing from 47 to 48 percent in the new CBA.SalaryCap

But with the potential for empty stadiums or venues with significantly reduced attendance and with sponsors that may be ailing and unwilling or unable to spend as they have in the past, predictions for the 2021 salary cap are now dire.

Adam Schefter reported that insiders are telling him it could plummet by $30 to $80 million.

Let’s go halfway and say it took a $55 million tumble to just under $143.2 million.

Per spotrac, the Titans currently have 48 players under contract for 2021 worth $136.4 million.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jeffery Simmons has continued to rehabilitate the torn left ACL he suffered in Feb. of 2019 with Titans strength coach Frank Piraino and head medical man Todd Toriscelli as the NFL rules have allowed during the COLVID-19 pandemic.

He’s one of the few players and people who’ve been in the facility during that time, but said he hasn’t really noticed.

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“It’s kind of how it was when I first got here (after getting drafted), just me rehabbing,” Simmons said. “Every day that I am going into the building it’s just the same mentality, continue to get my knee in the best shape I can for the season. That’s pretty much what it is. I’m not feeling lonely. … [Unlocked.]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It took Jevon Kearse a while. But a Titans teammate who had a great deal to do with his rookie record 14.5-sack defensive rookie of the year season in 1999 that helped get Tennessee to the Super Bowl got an overdue thanks about six or seven years later.

In Philadelphia.

Rookie defensive line coach Jim Washburn did a great deal to help Kearse take the league by storm after he lasted as a tweener until the 16th pick in the draft.KearseSkype2

Tuesday on The Midday 180 The Freak said right tackle Jon Runyan also deserves credit for that big rookie year. Washburn lined Kearse up on the left side and he tried to get the past the 6-foot-7, 330-pound lineman starting in OTAs.

“(Those matchups) started out physical from Day 1 and we didn’t even have pads on,” said Kearse, who recalled one early combination block where guard Benji Olson tried to take his head off as if Kearse had done something bad to his kid or mom and wound up falling down. “Going against Jon every day, going against him in training camp that really got me developed as much as Washburn got me developed because like I said I didn’t play defensive end in college, I played it when I got to the big league.

“Jon Runyan, that’s an angry cat. I don’t know why he as so angry, but he was always walking around with that bottom lip [Unlocked]

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