NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There are a lot of people who work for the Titans in capacities we don’t really see, effecting the football side of the operation in unknown ways.PK.comLogo badge vintage HiRes 1

I was struck on Wednesday that Mike Vrabel casually mentioned two of them as he was listing others. That he mentions them, and the way he mentions them, speaks some to who he is and how he operates.

With no detail he cited Sheila Peters and Zak Kuhr, two names I’d not heard before.

Peters is a Nashville psychologist and the team clinician who is working with Chic Ejiasi, the team’s director of player engagement, in Zoom sessions helping indoctrinate rookies.

Vrabel mentioned Kuhr as he ticked of the people he sees in a Zoom meeting now just as he’d see them assembled early in a real offensive line meeting.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – We’ve got the who – Jonnu Smith and Ryan Tannehill – and the what – football workouts.

The when is pretty broad – a few times a week, pretty much since "right when this quarantine thing went into effect," Smith said.

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The where is pretty broad – a private South Florida park.

The details of just how weren’t anything that Smith wanted to share during his Wednesday Zoom chat with Nashville media. They’ve got a couple of balls and he does pretty much anything he’d do in a game while working with his quarterback. 

We know the why: To get in sync in a way where the two can have a very strong sense of each other when (if?) games arrive.[Unlocked.]

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Better ways to think about the Titans' 2020 strength of schedule

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – How good an NFL team is from one year to the next can vary pretty dramatically.

So the common practice of using last year’s records to determine this year’s strength of schedule is not a good one.TitansCircleLogoDraft

Using that, the Titans rank 13th-easiest, facing opponents where were .498 in 2019.

But analyst Warren Sharp points to other indicators he thinks are more accurate in assessing the difficulty of a schedule, and I’m on board with his thinking.

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The mail: Are the Titans better? Plus scheduling, games with no media, Logan Woodside, Jadeveon Clowney

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Hello, nice to see you.

Was nice to be away for a bit. Thought I'd re-emerge with some answers to some good questions I found in my mail.

Darryn Hobbs #4 Why can’t the league figure out a way to better space out division games but also not leave them for last?

I’ve been bitching about the poor spacing of rematches for years. Teams change over the course of a year and different people are injured at different time. They should play at least six weeks apart, by rule. Titans-Colts play twice in 17 days. It’s just dumb.

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Yes, it’s complicated. But they like to make it like it’s a miraculous feat of engineering. This year it should have been simpler. Venues didn’t have to clock out dates for concerns and other big events. There are none.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans better be ready for prime time, and Mountain time, 

If the NFL schedule starts as planned, Tennessee will open in Denver as part of the second Monday Night Football game on Sept. 14, leading into a short week to prepare for Jacksonville at home, the first of seven consecutive noon home starts and at least a dozen total.

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The Titans played in Denver on Oct. 13, 2019 and the pathetic offensive showing in a 16-0 loss dropped them to 2-4, got Marcus Mariota benched and triggered the Ryan Tannehill takeover at quarterback that saved a season that resulted in an AFC Championship Game appearance.

It's the first Monday Night Football appearance of opening weekend in franchise history.

The schedule doesn't lead with all four of the Titans' matchups against NFC teams or appear to be built to be shrunk if the NFL must start late because of the coronavirus pandemic. Multiple reports ahead of the schedule release said it would be built in such a fashion. [Unlocked.]

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Titans make right call, but disappointing Corey Davis is hardly a bust

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Corey Davis is not a bust.

JaMarcus Russell was a bust. Justin Blackmon was a bust. Lots of first-rounders have been busts.

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Davis hasn’t been what a fifth overall pick should be, and that’s a disappointment.

But we need to expand our language. We simply cannot use the same word for him that we use on guys like Russell and Blackmon, or guys like them who bomb out of the league in short order.

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Was Titans' choice of Tucker McCann as undrafted kicker over-influenced by his punting ability?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – I had no objection to the Titans not using a draft pick on a kicker.

It’s simply too much of a roll of the dice and waiting to sign a guy as an undrafted free agent is a plan that makes sense.

McCannThe idea that being the best kicker in college will make a guy the best kicker in his NFL class it too simple. The Patriots were the first team to pick a kicker – and it wasn’t Rodrigo Blankenship of Georgia (who hit field goals at a 82.5 percent clip) or Tyler Bass of Georgia Southern (79.4), the two kickers widely regarded as the top two guys in the pool.

New England chose Justin Rohrwasser in the fifth round. The Marshall kicker was the lone drafted player not mentioned in the extensive draft preview written by Dane Brugler of The Athletic. He hit at a 78.6 percent clip in his college career. 

Bass (79.4) went to the Ravens in the sixth and Sam Sloman of Miami (Ohio) (79.0) went to the Rams in the seventh.

After the draft was over, the Titans quickly agreed to terms with Tucker McCann out of Missouri.

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At start of 'OTAs,' Ryan Tannehill already being assertive leader

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While Ryan Tannehill is throwing a few days a week in South Florida with Jonnu Smith, the rest of his leadership in his first offseason as a starter is coming electronically: Through texts to draft picks and in Zoom meetings in the first week of what now qualifies as OTAs.

Like everything given the restraints of the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s not ideal.TannehillIntro

But a year ago Tannehill was learning how to sit back and be a good backup to Marcus Mariota, quieting the leadership voice he’d used in six seasons as the starter when healthy in Miami.

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