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TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It would certainly be better if Taylor Lewan was with the Titans for the three days of mandatory minicamp.

Instead, he will be soaking up fines – that he may or may not ultimately pay – as he makes a statement about his contract status. Heading into his fifth year and scheduled to make $9.341 million per Spotrac.LewanShermanSEA

But he’s in line for a monster deal that would lock him in long-term. I estimate it will go here or beyond: Six years, $85 million, a $17 million average salary and $41.65 guarantee.

I’d suggest not panicking.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A conversation over a beer or cocktail tends to be looser and less formal.RobinsonPickers

As Jonathan Hutton pointed out on The Midday 180, this site has afforded me the chance to have such chats over the last 10 months with Amy Adams Strunk (off the record), Mike Vrabel (on a podcast over Yazoos) and Jon Robinson (on a Periscope/Facebook Live with a couple Pickers cocktails on Monday night).

It's not a claim to fame. But it does serve to illustrate a big element of what I strive to give you here: Stuff you can't get anywhere else, and significant conversations with important Titans people in an informal setting where we can get to know them better. [Unlocked]

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Previewing Jon Robinson's broadcast with us tonight

pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jon Robinson joins me for a Periscope/Facebook Live session Monday evening at 6 p.m .CT.

It’s a members-only event, so if you want in you better move fast.  I solicited questions for Robinson and pledged a free year-long membership to the best, that goes to Jim Belaskie who gets the first question.RobinsonSmile

Details below for members on how to find the broadcast.

Here are some of your questions that won’t come up, with my explanation for why not.

Most of them, based on how I know Robinson, just are not going to evoke much info or detail.

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Marcus Mariota: Now is not the time to be assertive about what I don't like in the offense

pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As the Titans gave him new coaches and a new system, I’ve made a simple request of Marcus Mariota:

Take ownership of the offense.MariotaRefJags

That means, at least once he’s gotten a handle on it all, he needs to work to have as much of a stake in it as Matt LaFleur.

Asked earlier this week if Mariota was offering a lot of feedback on what he likes and doesn’t like about the offense, LaFleur smiled as he answered.

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YAZOO PODCAST: John Middlekauff measures Marcus Mariota against Derek Carr and Jimmy Garappolo

YAZOO podcast stripeNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Former NFL scout John Middlekauff's been in Nashville this week, and he watched the Titans' OTA practice on Tuesday after visiting with old friend Jon Robinson.

John was nice enough to visit with me in this week's podcast where we talked about the positive trend of complicated offenses, the ranks of which the Titans are now joining. 


Also on the docket: The fraternity of scouts-turned-journalists, the appeal of Malcolm Butler when he was on the market, the Titans' overall talent level and where Marcus Mariota fits in compared to the QBs he sees most often and most closely -- Derek Carr of the Raiders and Jimmy Garappolo of the 49ers.

Part 1, like podcast versions of my public Periscope and Facebook Lives, will be available through 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. 

It's a good conversation you'll want to hear. And if you missed last week's sit down with Mike Vrabel and his high school coach and want to be part of Monday evening's Periscope/Facebook Live with Jon Robinson, it's a great time to become a member.  Just click here.

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Titans’ coaches making sure players understand ‘the why’ behind plays

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Some autocratic coaches may give off a vibe to players regarding the construct of plays: Don’t ask me why, just run it.

Mike Vrabel is not taking that approach at all.

Matt LaFleur said the Titans want the players running their plays to understand exactly why they are being asked to execute them.

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Matt LaFleur assesses Marcus Mariota's attempt to play with a wider base

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marcus Mariota appears to be doing well playing with a wider base, something he said he concentrated on during his offseason in Los Angeles.

I tried to watch it closely on Tuesday during the Titans OTA session and he was generally in the athletic position players are asked to be in as they start anything, with his feet a bit wider than shoulder-width apart.MarcusPriest

On one dropback I saw him set in that stance as he surveyed the field, step up and to his left and reset it in for a bounce or two, then tuck the ball and take off. Of course, I don’t have the immediate reference to compare it to the width of his stance previously. I did look to compare it to his veteran backup, Blaine Gabbert, who I felt was a bit wider.

My understanding is that a narrow base prompts a quarterback to overstride and that overstriding tends to produce high throws. Two seasons ago, I thought Mariota’s primary passing inaccuracy was throwing high to the right. Last year his misses were not as consistently similar.

To Matt LaFleur it seems not to rate as as much of an accuracy issue as a getting the ball out issue – which can obviously relate to how open a target is and the timing of a play,

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TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The best thing I saw at Tuesday’s OTA Titans practice was an open-field one-on-one tackling drill that produced some great competition and some energy I felt carried over into the next couple parts of the session.SharpeStretch

In a grid that was roughly 15 yards wide, an offensive player with the ball and a defender stood in the center side by side facing in opposite directions. They ran away from each other to a cone, then changed directions.

The ball-carriers job was to get beyond the defender. The defender was supposed to leverage the sideline and square up for a non-contact win.

I’ve been at a high percentage of open Titans practices dating back to 1997, and I’ve not seen it or anything like it before.

It struck me as a smart, practical way to break the game down into a small important element. I saw Tajae Sharpe beat Jeremy Boykins and Dion Lewis

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