Pickers mailbag: Coach-GM relations, beloved undrafteds and visitor supporter sections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings and welcome to the mailbag.

If you haven't been checking in this week, I hope you will circle back to two great pieces. I had an opportunity to Take a Lap with Logan Ryan. ASNd I chatted for about 45 minutes with Nate Washington in a great podcast you won't want to miss.TitansFanJacket

Now we shall dive into your questions of the week.

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YAZOO PODCAST: Nate Washington on why some Titans' WRs have not developed, hand-strength work and Corey Davis

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  -- Nate Washington had an eye on Twitter last week when Steve Watterson was a guest on The Midday 180, and he tweeted about how key the former Titans' strength and conditioning coach eas to his successful six years in Tennessee.

It prompted me to reach out to Washington to catch up and invite him on the podcast, and I am sure glad I did, because our conversation is packed with some excellent insight from him.


Most compelling was what he said about the Titans continual lack of development of receivers, but you also won't want to miss the story of his one-on-one matchup with Logan Ryan in Patriots camp in 2016, his detailing of the work he did with Watterson to strengthen his hands, what he thinks about a run-first offense in 2019, his thoughts on Marcus Mariota and on Arthur Smith and his detailed breakdowns of the Titans current wide receivers.

You can find Part 1 on iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes.

If you're a member of the site, Part 1 and Part 2 are together, and all you have to do is head below the line.

You can find the history of this site's podcasts right here.

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Take a Lap: Logan Ryan on eating, parenting and bowling

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Logan Ryan was at The Zone studio Wednesday promoting his excellent upcoming charity event, The Chow Down, and I secured enough time with him to Take a Lap. 

TakeALap 2I learned some things about him I did not know, which I felt good about as I probably know him as well as I know anyone on the team thanks to his relationship with The Midday 180.

You'll enjoy hearing of his hidden talent, his best meal, his worst sport, his comparison of kids at a football camp today to him at a football camp as a kid himself, the best and worst things about Rutgers, the toughest thing about parenting and the most underappreciated person on the Titans' staff. 

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While it’s not clear if the Titans will be looking at any remaining veteran additions before training camp, it is clear they will not be looking at one: Ndamukong Suh.Suh

The Titans courted him last spring before the former Lions and Dolphins defensive lineman landed with the Los Angeles Rams for a one-year deal reportedly worth $14 million.

But indications are that the Titans do not judge Suh to be a fit and that they may not have been as high on him as we believed a year ago after they had him in for a visit in March.

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Undrafted rookies these days have to produce in three days or can be gone

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans clearly have some priority guys in the undrafted rookie free agents they signed. Running back Alex Barnes from Kansas State and outside linebacker Derick Roberson from Sam Houston State look to be two of them.AlexBarnes

(Alex Barnes photo courtesy Kansas State athletics.)

But of the dozen guys they signed, a third are gone after rookie minicamp, replaced by guys on the list of 31 tryout players who out-performed them.

It’s the way things work these days. While high-priority free agents are pretty safe, the rest have to shine right from the start or their can swap spots with guys who were only assured of a three-day audition.

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Rookie camp gave Arthur Smith a bit more, different work

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Like players waiting for their first meaningful snaps, Arthur Smith’s got to make the best use of his time before he gets to call plays in preseason games, reviewing those to help prepare for opening day in Cleveland.Smithrookiemini

In the first real glimpse of Smith working as the offensive coordinator, in a light blue windbreaker, he flapped his arms and motioned receivers about where to go and how to angle routes. One longer conversation before the start of one segment the media saw of Saturday’s rookie practice was with second-round pick A.J. Brown, the receiver who was, as he should have been, automatically, at the head of the line.

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AJBrownpodiumNASHVILLE, Tenn. – For starters, Saturday had very little meaning. Rookies vs. rookies with no pads a day or two into the playbook, with on a day when five of six draft picks, 16 undrafted rookies and 31 tryout players were on the field.

Fewer than 10 of these guys are likely to make the 53-man roster at the conclusion of training camp.

But we saw some A.J. Brown route running.


And some D’Andre Walker one-on-one work with Mike Vrabel.

Vrabel got a nick on his nose but said he didn’t know who from, that it’s all just a bunch of guys. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Spend 90 minutes with Steve Watterson, the former longtime Titans’ strength and conditioning coach, as Jonathan Hutton and I were fortunate enough to do on Friday’s edition of The Midday 180, and you’ll get stories of pranks and players, injuries and ownership and much more.Watterson

Right off the top, I was struck by how much he said he felt responsible for injuries during his time with the team. As I’ve said time and time again, which there are things a team can do to reduce injuries and things it can fail to do that might increase them, Mike Vrabel is entirely correct when he says the injury rate in the NFL is 100 percent. Luck is certainly also a huge factor.

“I would say all of it (is connected to me), that’s how I felt,” Watterson said. “Every time a guy got injured, it was a heart attack and I would stay late at night and call peers around the league and find out, ‘What are you doing, what’s different, how are you handling a situation?’

“Another time, believe me I’m not exonerating myself, I’m just giving you an example that sometimes the fans don’t see. Let’s take a look at the year (2017) that Marcus had a hamstring, (Corey) Davis had a hamstring and (Tajae) Sharpe had a hamstring issue, oh and DeMarco (Murray). One of the variables out of that is, that entire offseason, they didn’t work out with me one day. Davis came in with an injury, a foot injury. He was limited in what he could do in conditioning. If you remember DeMarco had toe surgery, hand surgery. [Unlocked]

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