NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In Kevin Byard, now the NFL’s highest-paid safety, the Titans have locked up a rangy, hard-hitter and a defensive centerpiece.

The Titans look to have the core of a solid defense in place for several years.ByardIntro

With Byard (signed through 2024), Jeffery Simmons (team option through 2023), Jurrell Casey (2022), Kenny Vaccaro (2022), Malcolm Butler (2022), Rashaan Evans (team option through 2022), Adoree’ Jackson (team option through 2021) and Harold Landry (2021), the Titans have eight defensive starters in line for at least the next three seasons.

Among them, only Simmons, the 19th pick in this year’s draft, has not proven himself to be at least a promising NFL talent, though his game was almost universally well regarded coming out of Mississippi State and he lasted so long primarily because of a knee injury that will render him unavailable deep into his rookie season. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans desperately need Marcus Mariota healthy.

Now they have to do it in four games at the start of the season minus his best edge protector. 

With Taylor Lewan revealing he'll be suspended for the first four games of the season for a PED violation, the Titans have to scramble. Dennis Kelly can play left tackle or the Titans could move Rodger Saffold there from guard, but it will set off a domino effect that is less than ideal in every respect.

LewanHands

Lewan put forth evidence in the form of a lie detector test that he did not knowingly take the forbidden substance, osterine. [Unlocked]

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The underneath passing game could fuel Arthur Smith's offense

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Amid a lot of offensive uncertainty, there is one element of what the Titans are about to build that has the potential to be super-effective, a staple they can rely on and build from.

With the addition of Adam Humphries and the return of Delanie Walker, Marcus Mariota has two primary weapons available to him who know how to regularly get open underneath and Dion Lewis should be a good option out of the backfield. A.J. Brown can be a factor in that too.HumphriesShortGame

The quarterback won’t need extended protection to find crafty players who can find space.

Humphries, a top slot receiver, was signed because the Titans were one of the least productive teams out of the slot in the NFL last season.

“I think if the quarterback and receiver have a really good connection, if you run a good route and the quarterback’s got a good pocket, and can get it out of his hands quick and on time in the right spot, I think it

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Ryan Succop is on PUP to start training camp as a result of knee surgery that followed the 2018 season that did not go as neatly as planned.

Succop had a troublesome knee cleaned up sometime after the season, but it had some swelling after the fact and did not respond the way it was expected to.SuccopTexans

Indications are the issue that prompted the surgery did not affect his kicking during the season -- he hit 26 of 30 field goals -- and that the team expects him to be fine in time for the regular-season opener Sept. 8 in Cleveland. [Unlocked]

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JonnuSmithProfileNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans will open camp with Jonnu Smith on the physically unable to perform list and Jeffery Simmons on the non-football injury list.

Smith is recovering from a knee injury suffered against the Jaguars on Dec. 6, 2018.

After my report on Smith and Simmons the Titans officially announced those two moves and also said that Jurrell Casey (knee) and Ryan Succop are also on PUP. 

They can attend meetings and work out but not practice. The Titans can move them to the roster at any point in camp.

If they remain on PUP into the season, they do not count against the 53-man roster. Then they may not practice or play for the first six weeks of the season. After six weeks they must be activated for practice or be placed on IR. Once they practice, they have a three-week window to be moved to the active roster or moved to IR. [Unlocked]

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If the Titans don't top 9-7 and earn a playoff bid, 2019 will be a failure (well, duh)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – We’re here, the week where the Titans’ 2019 season gets set in motion.

Quarterbacks, rookies and injured players report Monday, everyone else will join them on Thursday.VrabelRobinsonGoodellEagles

There are seasons where incremental gains are an accomplishment, where a change in tone is a big win, where a slight advance qualifies as a big success.

This is not one of those years.

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Unboxing some old Titans and NFL memorabilia I'd left behind

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Years ago, when I was driven out of a lovely Nashville neighborhood of bungalows by a country music star who insisted on building a tower with a recording studio and a dance club right next door, I left a box in a high storage area of our old houseScreen Shot 2019 07 15 at 8.54.12 AM

Remarkably, about 13 years later, the owner reached out to my wife to see if it was ours and I was able to go pick it up.

I'm not one to display a bunch of memorabilia. But if I was, the box was filled with the sort of stuff that would be on offices shelves not in storage.

I opened it in this video with the assistance of my nine-year-old son. I think you will really be interested in a couple of the items that qualify as one-of-a-kind Titans' stuff.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Frank Wycheck remains one of the most popular players in Titans' history.

After his 11-year career, he was an accessible radio presence in town, as the color analyst on Titans Radio’s game broadcasts and as part of the Wake Up Zone on 104.5 The Zone, where I spent an hour three mornings a week bantering with him and his co-hosts.

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Before those jobs ended, a guy with back problems talked openly about how he believed he’d have CTE as a result of concussions and hits to the head during his 11-year career.

The combination of the successful career as an underdog, the charming radio personality and the health concerns continued to make him a very likable guy. And because he’s sort of retreated from public life there is some mystery about him now. [Unlocked]

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