Titans' administrative growth is a significant development and here's why

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It’s about football, of course.

Like all NFL franchises, the Titans are broken into football and non-football.

When Burke Nihill became team president and CEO in May, he said the business side of the operation needs to know that “football is the singular priority.”

That sounds obvious, but people who are really good at their jobs on the non-football jobs, and some who aren’t, can lose focus on that mission.


Under Amy Adams Strunk the Titans' football side is faring pretty well, coming off an appearance in the AFC Championship Game.

But for the entire operation to be successful, it needs effective marketing, presentation, legal work and all sorts of behind the scenes work.

Strunk continues to catch her team up with more modern franchises.

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Mail: COVID plans, Jonnu Smith expectations, stadium signage and more

Mail: COVID plans, Jonnu Smith expectations, stadium signage and more

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings all. I'm happy to visit with you and talk about some of the things on your mind.

Barring news in the coming week, I'll probably do a Periscope/Facebook Live and a podcast, but otherwise lay low and clear my head during a furlough from The Midday 180.

I'm planning on taking the boy and some friends to a waterfall, to get him some swings and keep him working on throwing strikes, maybe take him fishing if I can figure out what I am doing while I also try to unplug from the news.

The NFL is considering expanding practice squads to as many as 16.

That will certainly help, but I don’t think loading up with inexperienced players is a sufficient solution. I think there needs to be a COVID-19 reserve list that functions separately of NFI and PUP – lists that are in play as players report -- and IR.TitansSparkleHelmet

And I think there needs to be an option for cap relief. It’s not as if there are a load of quality veterans out there. But if the coronavirus puts a team in position to want to go sign Logan Ryan or Everson Griffen, it seems fair to me that it be easier for it to do so if they have lost someone at the corresponding position where a player has exposed a position group to the virus.

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Dean Pees had fun scheming pressure with Mike Vrabel, now Titans need to finish more

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – During Mike Vrabel’s two years leading the Titans, the defense has failed to sack the quarterback consistently enough.

In 2018, it recorded 39 sacks, 16th in the NFL, led by Jurrell Casey’s seven (tied for 38th in the NFL).

In 2019, it recorded 43 sacks, 13 in the NFL, led by Harold Landry’s nine (tied for 22nd.)


Much of my banter with Vrabel over those two seasons has concerned sacks and gone something like this...

Me: You should value sacks more.

Him: You put too much stock in sacks. We affect the quarterback in a lot of ways. Get your nose out of the stats sheet.

Me: But what if you got a guy who can sack the quarterback?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Retired Titans defensive coordinator leaves a hole in the Titans coaching staff and some intrigue about how Mike Vrabel will work things in his absence considering no one now carries Pees’ old title.

Vrabel recently said Shane Bowen will be the lead voice for the defense when the head coach isn’t in the meeting room or with the defense on the field, but still did not say that he will call the defense, though that is what I have now long presumed.PeesSkype

In an hour interview with The Midday 180, Jonathan Hutton and I had a chance to ask Pees about how often Vrabel jumped in to make a call over the last two years and how he envisions things might go now. [Unlocked]

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Unknowns: Who gets Tajae Sharpe's role with the Titans?

Unknowns: Who gets Tajae Sharpe's role with the Titans?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the days since the Titans wrapped their remote offseason work, we'll examine some issues that didn’t get a great deal of resolution given no time on the field…

Who takes on Tajae Sharpe’s snaps?SharpeTDBucs

Sharpe was a pretty good fourth receiver for the Titans. He had 25 catches for 329 yards with a career-best 13.2-yard average and a career-high four touchdowns.

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Titans have just a month left to get a deal done with Derrick Henry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have one month to negotiate a long-term deal with Derrick Henry, otherwise he’s got to play the 2020 season under the franchise tag and the sides cannot talk about a new contract until after the season ends.

Henry is due to make $10.278 million under the tag. The Titans tagged him March 16 and he signed it on April 2.


The debate over second contracts for running backs is one of the biggest in football, except that the pay-them side is shrinking and doesn’t have a great deal of support from recent evidence.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – "Where are the NFL Owners now during this powerful movement?"

That’s the title to a Wednesday tweet by ESPN reporter Dianna Russini of a video clip from Get Up.

In it, she suggested that numerous NFL owners listen to Hall of Famer Jerry Jones and seemed likely to wait to hear from the Cowboys owner and follow the lead of the first domino to speak on social injustice – an idea that gained traction with at least one other outlet.AmyAdamsStrunk2019

But actually we’d seen or heard statements from at least 10 NFL owners, 32 percent of them, by then -- Jeffrey Lurie of the Eagles, Gayle Benson of the Saints, Steve Bisciotti of the Ravens, Jed York of the 49ers, George McCaskey of the Bears, Jim Irsay of the Colts, Dee and Jim Haslam of the Browns, Kim and Terry Pegula of the Bills, Cal McNair of the Texans and Shad Khan of the Jaguars.

Commissioner Roger Goodell also wasn't waiting on Jones when he apologized to players for the league’s failure to support them before and pledged to change last week. He did that just a day after an impactful video was released by some of the league’s most visible players, and many of us wondered if Goodell had consulted with any of his bosses at all before making his statement.

Titans owner Amy Adams Strunk stepped forward Thursday with a strong statement of her own, also ahead of Jones.

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Shane Bowen to be Mike Vrabel's top defensive lieutenant

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As head coach, Mike Vrabel is going to have to step away from being the head of the Titans' defense.

When he leaves defensive meetings to be with the offense or special teams or for other CEO duties, outside linebackers coach Shane Bowen (pictured below, right) will take the defensive lead, Vrabel said Thursday in a Zoom meeting with reporters.

It’s the furthest Vrabel has gone at acknowledging he is the de facto defensive coordinator after Dean Pees retired and Vrabel didn’t hire or designate anyone to replace him.VrabelOfficeZoom

I’ve presumed from early on that Vrabel will be the defensive play-caller, which is not as big a job as offensive play-caller, a job done by several head coaches including Andy Reid and Kyle Shanahan, who squared off in the Super Bowl.

Vrabel still says he does not know. [Unlocked]

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