YAZOO PODCAST: Neil O'Donnell on Mariota's ownership, Tannehill's future and McNair's memory

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  -- Former Titans' quarterback Neil O'Donnel sets us straight on what we should be worrying about with Marcus Mariota and what we shouldn't be so concerned about in the new episode of the Paul Kuharsky podcast.PodcastYazooArtSquare

O'Donnell said he'd certainly like to be hearing Mariota in Year 4 come right out and say this is his team and he intends to be its quarterback for a good while. He also discussed who Mariota is and who he isn't as an NFL passer in the NFL circa 2019.

In the context of O'Donnell's expectations for Mariota in his fourth year, we also discussed Ryan Tannehill, the team's best backup QB since Matt Hasselbeck and what his future may hold.

And of course, with the Titans set to retire Steve McNair's No. 9 Sunday at Nissan Stadium, O'Donnell shared memories of his old teammate from when they first met, from how they shared notes when O'Donnell took most of the practice snaps before an injured McNair played on a lot of Sundays and from when McNair contemplated retirement after a serious sternum injury suffered in a game against the Chiefs.

Part 1 of the podcast is available on Apple PodcastsSticher, Spotify and TuneIn as well as directly through the Vokal website. (Please subscribe and offer a nice rating!)

We also talked about why the Titans are always a run-first and defensive team, how reviewable pass interference will impact DBs, the idea of moving Adoree Jackson inside, the state route-running and Pollard's infamous hit on Tom Brady that really triggered the increase in quarterback protection.

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. (Here's the path to membership.)

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

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The six punts that make Brett Kern such a weapon for the Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nobody wants to pick a punt as the play of the game or the punter as the player of the game.

But as Brett Kern heads into his 11th season with the Titans, he’s been in that situation plenty of times.

And even on a team that made a great first step in a good-to-great quest Sunday in Cleveland with a 30-point win, Kern was in the middle of things.Kern

The Titans faced fourth-and-11 from their own 27 at the 2:00 warning of the first half with a 10-6 lead.

Kern bombed a 70-yard punt – one he calls his rocket missile -- and his snapper, Beau Brinkley downed it at the Cleveland 3-yard line. After a Browns’ false start put them at the 1, Cam Wake found his way to Baker Mayfield in the end zone for a sack and a safety.

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Mike Vrabel liked what Titans did with one-crack plays in Cleveland

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As the Titans pulled away from the Browns in Cleveland Sunday and then we heard Mike Vrabel talk of the themes of the week, I thought perhaps it was the best illustration yet of the team staying right on the path that was laid out for it.IMG 6996

Monday I was able to ask Vrabel about that, and his answer was very interesting, narrowing my premise.

“I just felt like with those one-timers, those one-hitters that whether you want to call them scheme plays, you’re only going to have one crack at it in the game,” he said. “I think we really took the next step

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Play-calling took the pressure off Titans' OL: Scout's Take

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- My review of the Titans' 43-13 opening day win in Cleveland...

The Titans' offensive play calling took the pressure off the offensive line for most of the game. A couple of chunk plays to WR A.J. Brown and one to RB Derrick Henry was all the team needed to keep the Browns’ defense off balance.

The screen game to Dion Lewis was not a factor and the team did not need to utilize Adam Humphries or Corey Davis.IMG 6972

I thought offensive coordinator Arthur Smith did a great job of calling plays vs. the Browns personnel groups on the field and Marcus Mariota did a very good job of executing those plays. Smith called an excellent game in the first half with a mix of run, pass, play-action, screens and rollouts. Did Mariota play perfectly? No.

But he was accurate when he needed to be and found his favorite target, Delanie Walker, twice for touchdowns. 

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Derrick Henry screen TD was the play that changed the game

CLEVELAND – The game was very much still in question when the Browns got a short Baker Mayfield-to-David Njoku touchdown pass with 2:10 left in the third quarter Sunday at FirstEnergy Stadium.

Titans 15, Browns 13 and a game that may have been starting to tilt in the home team’s favor.

Tennessee took it back in one snap.

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Titans' poise, Browns' penalties at the heart of big start

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CLEVELAND – The Titans made the Browns look highly overrated on opening day at First Energy Stadium, gradually dismantling their undisciplined hosts en route to a massive 43-13 win.

They minimized its meaning beyond Sunday, and no one should tout it as more than one game because Cleveland serves to show the danger of thinking you’re really on to something. But considering many of the ingredients in Tennessee’s win, it should at least serve notice of what the team is capable of: Big plays, takeaways, ball-security, composure and patience among them.mariotaPortraitCLE

The defense settled in and was stifling, sacking golden child Baker Mayfield five times and picking him off on three occasions while holding receiver sensation Odell Beckham to a 10.1-yard average on seven receptions.

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Yazoo mailbag: Early-season D, road atmosphere, Jack Conklin, Jonnu Smith and more

 NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Welcome to the mailbag, which I hope helps do a bit to tide you over until noon on Sunday.

GoodToGreatPK: I think defenses do have an easier time gelling – there is less for them to time up as they are often reacting. But Friday on Midday 180

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Matchup issues and advantages for the Titans in Cleveland: Scout's Take

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- My Cleveland Browns game preview...

Matchup concerns for the Titans:

Myles Garrett vs. Dennis Kelly

This matchup will dictate so many things that the Titans want to do on offense. First, they will not be able to match Kelly vs. Garrett 1 on 1. Kelly is a solid backup tackle with the ability to play multiple games as a starter, but he isn’t a true starter in the NFL.PamphileSteelers

Kelly is best on as a right tackle. On the left side, he is weak to his inside (right) hand. This issue has shown up multiple times in the preseason because Kelly oversets to his outside to take away the speed rush which he is less athletically capable to handle. Kelly has great size and does have strength in his frame, but he lacks the ability to recover and redirect his feet in pass protection.

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