NASHVILLE, Tenn.  -- Daryl Johnston is widely known as the fullback who played 10 seasons for the Dallas Cowboys and was the lead blocker for Emmitt Smith during the prime of his career as the NFL's all-time leading rusher.

While he mains part of the NFL on Fox calling games, he's also now the director of player personnel for the Dallas franchise of the XFL which is set to start play in the spring of 2020. He was in that capacity as he watched the Titans on Saturday and Sunday with his focus on the bottom of the roster, not the top.

He was kind enough to join me to share some thoughts about the Titans, to talk about scouting players likely to become available, to look back at Logan Woodside who he saw work while he was general manager of San Antonio of the Alliance of American Football, to contemplate the pull the secondary leagues have had on him, to discuss Bob Stoopes' foray into the XFL and to examine the state of the fullback in today's pro game.

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Also, feel free to listen on this page by heading below the line. [Unlocked]

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Defense won red-zone for Titans Saturday, has been better in camp

IMG 5818NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The last play of Sunday’s practice when the offense was operating in the red zone, Logan Woodside was under pressure. Moving backward he threw a hopeful ball to the front left corner of the end zone intended for Anthony Firkser that Joshua Kalu didn’t have trouble breaking up. It could have been worse.

It was a fitting topper to a hugely successful red-zone day for the defense. As the period built to that finish, starters on the sideline hooted and hollered and splashed water out of bottles in wild celebrations of each success.

If it didn’t break the spirit of the offense for the day, it might as well have. That unit will be asked to respond Sunday after a weak, low-energy effort.

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Yazoo mailbag: Logan Woodside's chances, Darius Jennings' standing and Adam Humphries' usage

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Thanks for stopping by the mailbag. I'm happy you are here. You should be drinking a Yazoo while you read on.

We start with the most popular question of the week. 

PK: He’s improved a great deal. I think it’s pretty quick to be so certain he’s gold for them or someone else. But certainly, in a QB-starved league, he looks to be a guy who is on the upswing and will garner interest.TitansScoreboard

The question is, will the Titans come to view him as what Luke Falk should have been last year when they spent a sixth-rounder on him. He was not good, they cut him and hoped to get him on their practice squad but watched the Dolphins claim him. He’s now with the Jets, so clearly he’s an Adam Gase guy.

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Scout's take: Concerns over OL; confidence in WRs and Sharif Finch

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Scouting throughs on the Titans after their Preseason Week 1 win in Philadelphia.

Quarterback

I felt Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill both did a very good job with play-action and creating time for receivers to uncover.

The play-action game will be important for Mariota and the Titans’ passing attack because of the type of receivers they have. It is going to be imperativeBlakeBeddingfieldGlasses have a strong running game for the play-action to truly work.

Mariota focused on Adam Humphries early especially on the third-and-7 and fourth-down plays. Humphries was the security blanket for Marcus like he used to have with Delanie Walker.

Mariota was late on his first corner route throw to Darius Jennings. He must get the ball out sooner and not lead him out of bounds.

Tannehill plays like a veteran with his good play-action and patience in the pocket. He waits for the routes to open. He continued to convert on third downs

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TitansWallHelmetFaceLeftSome thoughts out of the Titans’ 27-10 preseason win in Philadelphia, overall a good top-to-bottom effort by the visitors.

Taywan Taylor: Corey Davis didn’t play so we saw Khalif Raymond earlier than we might have expected and he was good, particularly on a catch in a dangerous area over the middle where he held on knowing he was about to get blasted. We saw Cody Hollister make a very nice sideline catch and haul in a TD.

What we did not see was a good performance by a guy who should outrank them both. A third-round pick going into his third year can’t be dropping one short pass and misplaying a deeper toss that might have been underthrown by Ryan Tannehill, but could have been adjusted to for a touchdown.

He also couldn’t get a second foot down in bounds on a reception near the left sideline inside 2:00 of halftime on what seemed like it shouldn’t have been an issue at all. [Unlocked]

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I count 39 roster locks as Titans start the preseason

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As the Titans ready for kickoff Thursday night in their preseason opener in Philadelphia, a smart member of this site was playing around and counting how many guys he considered roster locks.

That prompted me to do the same.FluellenBucsPractice

So before they start, here are guys I feel certain will be on the final 53 if they are healthy:

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Sharif Finch came into the league as a pass rusher with a good array of moves, an uncommon thing for a guy who didn't get drafted. He's worked a ton with the first team so far in training camp, in part because Cameron Wake's snaps have really been measured. TakeALap 2FinchLap

But Wake may really be a situational player which will mean plenty of opportunity for Finch in his second year.

As Finch and I took a lap, we discussed his emergence as a front-liner in camp, who he's modeled his moves after, his affection for Julius Peppers and Lawrence Taylor, the toughness he showed at Temple, his gigantic family, his best friend on the team and the Blues and Jazz he plays on the piano, along with some Beethoven. 

This is available to all, just click to head below the line.

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Successful Marcus Mariota-to-Tajae Sharpe throw in the corner of the end zone has potential to be a staple play

SharpeTDEagles2NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- During a Tuesday red-zone seven-on-seven period, in the back left corner of the end zone, facing Marcus Mariota in the back left corner of the end zone, Tajae Sharpe rose up over LeShaun Sims and with high hands pulled in a touchdown pass.

That play, or some version of it, has been something we've seen working for the Titans and the Mariota-to-Sharpe connection, particularly in that end-zone situation, looks like it's developing into something that could be a staple play for a developing offense that needs a big play passing element.

I asked both Mariota and Mike Vrabel about how it is coming along and it's potential to be a regular feature for Tennessee.

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