By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans had a very solid unit in 2017 with the best left tackle in the NFL in Taylor Lewan.

In 2018, the team changed offensive line coaches from Russ Grimm to Keith Carter. The team also switched to a zone blocking scheme and went away from their strength and personnel skills. Lewan can function and play in any system, but some players are brought in and only fit in some schemes.Saffold1

(Photo courtesy Los Angeles Rams)

The Titans signed veteran guard Rodger Saffold to fill the left guard position vacated by Quentin Spain. Spain is a very similar player in size, frame and strength. I was a big backer of Spain. He was a better foot athlete but Saffold is better with his technique and hand use. The Titans decided to go with an older player instead of re-signing Spain.

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Titans' cap features minimal dead money

IMG 9998NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The concern over just how much salary cap money the Titans have left is generally overblown.

Jon Robinson joked on Friday that until his cap guy, Vin Marino calls and tells him to stop, he’ll keep making moves.

But the GM also said he had nothing in the cooker and it’s clear the Titans are not shoppers in what’s left in phase one of free agency after signing Rodger Saffold, Adam Humphries and Cameron Wake and trading for Ryan Tannehill.

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Pickers mailbag: At his best, comps for Marcus Mariota

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Wow, was that a whirlwind of a week. The Titans have four new players who hit on four majorly deficient areas, plus they re-signed two of their own. So we opened up the mailbag and I dive in.

PK: Well, I think it’s a bit more complex than your simple question, which I know you can claim is a cop out.

Because starters in the NFL are basically haves or have nots. Until you are on the list, you’re not on the list. He’s not on the list, which is: Tom Brady, Aaron Rodgers, Drew Brees, Ben Roethlisberger, Andrew Luck, Russell Wilson, Philip Rivers, Patrick Mahomes, Matt Ryan, Deshaun Watson and probably Matthew Stafford. Eleven guys.MariotaChestEagles

Can Marcus Mariota be any of them in terms of what he can do as a passer? No.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ryan Tannehill's comparable in many ways to Marcus Mariota. He's thrown for over 4,000 yards a couple times, something Mariota's never threatened to do.Tannehill2

(Photo courtesy Miami Dolphins)

That will doubtlessly get some fans riled up and wanting a training camp competition.

They will be disappointed. [Unlocked.]

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In imperfect Ryan Tannehill, Titans give Marcus Mariota his best backup

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In Ryan Tannehill, the Titans have acquired the best backup Marcus Mariota has had in his career, and thus the best chance the team has to win games in the starter’s inevitable absence.

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(Photo courtesy Miami Dolphins.)

The franchise cannot count on Mariota to play 16 games.

In his four seasons, he’s missed four, one, one and three starts, not to mention the games he couldn’t finish that led to those misses.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – All NFL GMs have a list of mistakes, but plenty hold on to them too long out of principal.

Jon Robinson is not afraid to eat his.

KlineSackJets

He raised his hand and said my bad on Kevin Dodd. He bailed on Matt Cassel after one year and made at least a bit of an upgrade in turning to Blaine Gabbert. traded out Johnathan Cyprien for Kenny Vaccaro. He cut Sylvester Williams. He admitted things couldn’t work with Rishard Matthews when he released him. He let go of Nick Williams right after his dropped TD cost the Titans a game in Buffalo. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kenny Vaccaro said he did a lot of retweeting while waiting on his new deal with the Titans because there was so much positive stuff coming at him on social media and he knows how unusual that is.

All those good vibes were flying at him because of the way he played for the Titans in 2018. He brought the team a style and level of production that, paired with his personality, made him a big-time fan favorite.

HumphriesPortrait

After Vaccaro chatted with us, what struck me most as two of the Titans three outside additions – Adam Humphries and Rodger Saffold -- met the media is that they are in line to be just as well-liked. [Unlocked.]

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Take a Lap: The Titans' genetic failings at wide receiver

FRANKLIN, Tenn. -- A bit in campus and certainly in size, Battle Ground Academy reminds me a bit of a little place in Somerset, N.J. know as Rutgers Preparatory School, where yours truly was in the class of 1987 and joined the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2017.TakeALap 2

David Jackson joined me for our newest edition of Take a Lap at BGA, where he pays some tuition, this week. 

We fought through the wind and talked about the Titans' Nashville-long failings at wide receiver, the need for some sandpaper in a locker room, how free-agency so far affects the team's draft strategy, coaches as scouts and my top Springsteen concert.

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