Yazoo Mailbag: Snap limitations, injury depth and the AFC South power balance

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Welcome to the weekend. I know we're all excited for Sunday's home opener and I look forward to seeing many of you at Nissan Stadium.ForeverTitans

Thanks for your contributions to the mail, which is always open via Twitter if you use #PKmail.

Ethan Cooper Two of the most productive players last Sunday, Cameron Wake and AJ Brown, both played under 50% of the snaps. Should we expect that to stay the same in the coming weeks or will their snap counts increase? Put differently, what is the logic of limiting snaps of your most productive guys? 

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Scout's Take: How Titans can diffuse what Colts did to Marcus Mariota last time

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- My scouting advance report on Colts at Titans...

The Titans will not have to face Andrew Luck who has retired undefeated against the team. Wide receiver Devin Funchess will also miss the game due to a broken collarbone. ColtsHelmet

This Colts will be a different looking offense without Luck, but despite the lack of an elite quarterback, they have a very talented team due to the roster-building of GM Chris Ballard and his scouting staff.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ray Lewis certainly knows adulation from a city. 

Thursday evening before he chatted with Eddie George at an intimate off-the-record event, he chatted with The Midday 180 in an inteview we broadcast Friday.EddieRay

The beloved Baltimore linebacker talked about the size of the reminder George will get Sunday about judst how beloved he is in Nashville.

"I’ve always said there are certain people that will forever be connected to certain cities," he said. "I knew where he started from. I knew what the whole roller coaster ride was all about. To see him finish it, to see how he is appreciated in this city is very close to the feelings that I have in Baltimore.

[Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans of Jon Robinson and Mike Vrabel value football-first players, distraction-free guys who treat the team as they want to be treated.

So, on a weekend when the franchise will honor two guys who exemplified that as they retiring the numbers of Eddie George and Steve McNair, I was shocked to see the list of participants in the weekend’s festivities include Pacman Jones, the one player from the franchise’s Tennessee era who landed the furthest from the mark.GeorgeRetirePresser

My initial reporting of why he was on the list indicated that George himself has included the renegade Titan, who played the last of his 12 NFL seasons in 2017 in Denver. The sixth pick in the 2005 draft missed the 2007 season with the Titans for a violating the league’s personal conduct penalty and he was out of the league in 2009.

As probably only George could, he explained to me after a Thursday press conference at the Titans’ headquarters why he included Jones on his list of players he asked to be included. [Unlocked]

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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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