YAZOO PODCAST: Bernard Pollard on Marcus Mariota, locker-room sandpaper and the Titans' DBs

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  -- When he saw some tweets about Marcus Mariota's minicamp work last week, former Titans' safety Bernard Pollard chimed in. So I quickly reached out to one of the more outspoken members in locker-room history to see if he'd chat with me about the quarterback and more.

And here we are.

Beyond Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill, we covered the secondary with his player-by-player review of the top five, delved into Dean Pees who he played for in Baltimore, looked into the importance of chemistry and the idea of sandpaper in the locker room which I've been pushing (and which he was). PodcastYazooArtSquare

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.

You can find Part 1 on Apple Podcasts, here (please subscribe), 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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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In all the ways people can approach me, friend or foe, critic or supporter, I’ve always been pretty good about not letting things get to me outside of the moment.

But I am here to confess that trolls and idiots have begun to take their toll and I need a change. I simply spend too much time on Twitter engaged with people who are either trying to egg me on or who are truly clueless.Twitter

I know it’s dumb, but I get sucked into this hole, and while my intention is to converse with people reacting to my work or asking legitimate questions, I wind up in a defensive mode that doesn’t serve anything and simply has too much power over my mood. And the waves just don’t stop.

That’s not where I want or need to spend my time.

I want to spend it serving the membership here and producing the best radio I can with The Midday 180 and when I pick up my kid I’d like to be less grumpy (even if it’s my natural default).

Not only do I hope to read less, I want to comment less. I don’t need to offer my strong thought on the U.S. Woman’s National Soccer Team or Chernobyl to the world as often. I’ll try to save it for the radio and here.

My Twitter habit is very strong and are going to be hard to break.

But I’m going to make a serious attempt to change them in the next month. While doing so I don’t want to cut off communication with you, as you are the lifeblood of this operation.

So here is my plan.

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Take a Lap: Brent Urban on Ryan Ellis as a teammate, cast-iron steaks and altering passes

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- One-time hockey player Brent Urban likes to make a quarterback alter his throw with his giant wingspan, making it hard for him to see where his receivers are.TakeALap 2

He made it hard for me to frame our lap with my long-armed Gimbel, thanks to our 10-inch height difference. I'm sure you will let me know how I did.

We talked about that as well as his ability to eat hot stuff, his abilities as a chef, his failures as a basketball player, his previous work with Dean Pees, his time as a hockey teammate in juniors with Ryan Ellis and how much it bothers him when another big man chooses to sit next to him in tight quarters.

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Pickers Mailbag: Nissan Stadium has tripled its WiFi bandwidth

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Greetings mailbag connoisseurs. I welcome you with open arms.TitansFlameballCloth

My weekend is filled with a big Little League baseball tournament, the U.S. Open and the U.S.’s second game in the Women’s World Cup.

I hope yours is as good and that you have a wonderful Father’s Day. (Here is a great gift idea.) 

If you missed it Wednesday, I sat down with Mike Vrabel for Periscope/ Facebook Live. Many have said that alone is worth the price of admission.

On to your mail.

PK: I dug around on this a bit to provide you with an update.

As for security – There will be more equipment, more lines and better staffing to try to get people into Nissan Stadium more efficiently. The long-term plan, given what the Titans are working with, is to amp up pregame events inside the building in order to prompt more people to want to be in there earlier, alleviating the big push shortly before kickoff.

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Derrick Henry now reviews a video of him in a drill at the beginning

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Not long after Derrick Henry arrived in Music City, he struggled through a drill under the watch of then-running back coach Sylvester Croom.

It was an unsure rookie and an unfamiliar drill, but it was visually arresting for a Heisman Trophy winner and second-round pick.

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Derrick Henry footwork. #titans

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As minicamp closed up, after watching him crush similar stuff four years later, I thought it would be interesting to show him that video. And lucky for me he went along with it as he left the field Wednesday.

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As their numbers are officially retired, remembering Steve McNair with Chris Chandler, Eddie George with Deja Voom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans connect past and present through Mike Vrabel, who played with Eddie George at Ohio State and remembers putting a hit on Steve McNair in a playoff game.

The two best players of the Titans' era of the Oilers/Titans franchise were honored Wednesday with an announcement by Amy Adams Strunk that their numbers will be officially retired at the team’s home opener, on Sept. 15 against the Colts at Nissan Stadium.IMG 3801

The numbers have not been worn since George last played for the Titans on Jan. 10, 2004 in a heartbreaking playoff loss in New England and since McNair last played for the Titans on Christmas Eve of 2005.

They represent the best era of NFL football in Tennessee NFL football, and during their time as teammates, the team’s 80-48 record (.625) ranked third in the NFL behind only the Green Bay Packers’ 88-40 (.688) and the Denver Broncos’ 83-45 (.648).

In those eight years, the duo experienced only one losing season, 7-9 in 2001.

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Why Marcus Mariota's eggs are more important than you may think (it's not actually about eggs)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Reporters used to hang out at least once a week around the quarterbacks’ locker, and it wasn’t all notebooks and microphones. It certainly wasn’t all live streamed as a TV show.eggs

The official stuff would be over, the cameras would be down, the tape recorders off.

Then, as with some of the sorts of conversations that still exist with lower-profile players, sometimes even one-on-one, you could bullshit about stuff – the NBA finals, the success or failure of alma mater, the headlines in or out of the world of sports, a good restaurant, a funny joke or – even – the menu helping a guy who’s offseason focus was bulking up 12 or 13 pounds maintain the weight.

Player-reporter relationships aren’t like a typical office, but some of these conversations are actually like those that take place in a typical office.

The elevation of quarterbacks to once-a-week talkers who often hit bullet points, say as little as possible and get the hell out of dodge has decreased the opportunity for such connections in some places with some guys, certainly the Titans' private and reserved one.

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Looking at Marcus Mariota's most important snaps from minicamp Tuesday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In June, Marcus Mariota is focused on competition not results and that’s a good approach for any team and any player at a stage of the offseason when there is no contact and no games.IMG 3637

He’s had good days, average and bad through OTAs and the Titans began to wrap the offseason with mandatory minicamp Tuesday, three days that could wind up being chopped to two.

As I’ve mentioned, the team periods now are minimal and focused largely on third down. The second focused predominantly on swing passes dump offs to running backs. But the first was more standard passing against the blitz, and Mariota’s segment wasn’t pretty.

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