Can Titans help Marcus Mariota become more skilled at avoiding injury?

PHOENIX – Rodger Saffold and a new, to be determined right guard, will help. As will Adam Humphries, a reliable, underneath target.

But beyond other guys on offense, in a giant year for Marcus Mariota, he needs to find ways to stay healthier to be productive for the Titans and to put himself in position to earn a new contract. MariotaGettingSacked1Jets

After chronicling Mariota's 2018 injuries, I asked Mike Vrabel and a few other coaches at the NFL Annual Meeting if there is a skill to staying healthy as an NFL quarterback.

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PHOENIX, Ariz.  – Marcus Mariota’s 2018 injury list was even worse than we thought, I’ve learned.

The ulnar nerve issue in his throwing arm that started when he got stepped on opening day in Miami and left him with a tingly hand was the first big one. He missed two starts with that, though he played in the second one.MariotaDazeIndy

The neck stinger suffered in Indianapolis on Nov. 18 and then reaggravated in Week 16 in Washington that cost him the crucial Week 17 game against the Colts was the second.

He also suffered a cracked vertebra, presumably with the initial stinger. [Unlocked]

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Jon Robinson expects draft, health to influence decision on Jack Conklin's option

PHOENIX – The Titans are a long way off from making a decision on Jack Conklin’s fifth-year option.

The Titans have until May 3 to tell Conklin if it will pay him a $12.866 million base salary in 2020, which would amount to a $10.249 million raise.ConklinJaguars

At the NFL Annual Meeting at the Arizona Biltmore, Jon Robinson said variables that will factor into it are still unknown.

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Scout's Take: OLB options who will be better than what the Titans already have

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are looking to replace two well-respected and longtime veterans and leaders in the linebacker room.  Pro Bowl outside linebacker Brian Orakpo retired after the 2018 season and consistent OLB and former first-round draft choice Derrick Morgan is a free agent.

Both players were largely ineffective as pass rushers in 2018, but still provided the ability to be a force in the run game and demand the respect and attention from offensive blocking schemes. The veteran presence allowed the inside linebackers to create pressure and provide sack numbers.CameronWakePortrait

The team now will be relying heavily on 2018 second-round draft choice Harold Landry, who showed flashes during his rookie year.  Landry came into the league with one very successful pass rush. His outside speed rush with excellent balance and bend around the edge proved to have success early in the season, but opponents advance scouting caught up to the young pass rusher and was largely ineffective for the remainder of the year.

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Take a Lap, Las Vegas edition: The Titans' conservative player personality prototype

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas, except my pause of all things Vegas to visit with dedicated site member Kyle Hargis.

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I met him at Gary Dexter Park in Southwest Vegas and we strolled another baseball field to chat about offensive line change, positional cap allocation on defense, what he perceives as the Titans' conservative player personality prototypes and the need for the Titans to find their own guy(s) at premium positions -- receiver, edge rusher, corner -- because good long-term solutions generally don't make it to market.

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YAZOO PODCAST: Titans' free-agent/trade review

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Whoever the Titans add with veteran experience going forward will be a bonus, and the expectations for how they impact the lineup and the roster will be a lot smaller than those for the three free agents that came in early.

In the newest edition of the podcast, I review the additions of Rodger Saffold, Cameron Wake and Adam Humphries as well as the trade acquisition of backup quarterback of Ryan Tannehill.

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You can find the history of this site's podcasts right here.

You can find Part 1 on iTunes, here, 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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Take a Lap, Louisville edition: When the QB you cover isn't particularly interesting

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- During a day here and the build-up to it, I didn't want to expend great effort finding a football field to stroll with Josh Toomey.

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So imagine how thrilled I was when Alex Mayer of the Louisville Bats, AAA affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, was incredibly accommodating as soon as I made contact.

Louisville Slugger Stadium is a beautiful park with a beautiful view, and Josh and I had a nice stroll complete with a visit from a canine friend who was part of the grounds crew preparing the field for a Louisville City FC match.

My son, Simon, did a good job staying out of the shot, as I requested. He got to chew some Bats' gum right from the team's (stale?) stash and then got a good swing on a soft toss with a new wood bat he got down the street at the Louisville Slugger factory.

Josh and I talked about this site and my life as an independent journalist, how to cover a boring quarterback, how people should feel about a team that's had three consecutive winning seasons for the first time ever, modernizing the offense, Ryan Tannehill's standing and some relationships I have with colleagues I don't always see eye-to-eye with

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By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans had a very solid unit in 2017 with the best left tackle in the NFL in Taylor Lewan.

In 2018, the team changed offensive line coaches from Russ Grimm to Keith Carter. The team also switched to a zone blocking scheme and went away from their strength and personnel skills. Lewan can function and play in any system, but some players are brought in and only fit in some schemes.Saffold1

(Photo courtesy Los Angeles Rams)

The Titans signed veteran guard Rodger Saffold to fill the left guard position vacated by Quentin Spain. Spain is a very similar player in size, frame and strength. I was a big backer of Spain. He was a better foot athlete but Saffold is better with his technique and hand use. The Titans decided to go with an older player instead of re-signing Spain.

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