Malcolm Butler: Fans and I are feeling the same about my play so far

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Malcolm Butler isn’t pretending things haven’t been OK so far.

Understandably, expectations are very high for a free-agent who came to Tennessee on a five-yard, $61 million deal with $30 million guaranteed.Butler

And we’ve seen him give up a 75-yard TD catch to Miami’s Kenny Stills and a 39-yard scoring catch to Will Fuller.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings at welcome to the latest edition of our mailbag, brought to you by Pickers Vodka. Check out their fancy new bottles.

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Makes me thirsty.

Drink responsibly.

Members will find a mid-week Periscope/ Facebook Live available if you missed it awaiting you on those private pages.

This week's podcast is available to all, right here.

On to your questions.

Davey Shepherd Will we see more of Jonnu this weekend, or will the Jags pass rush dictate another game plan that for whatever reason excludes him?

PK: Well, we saw a lot of him last week. He played every snap. We just didn’t see him targeted. The really needed the tight ends to help block. That should be less the case this week with Taylor Lewan back, though we are likely to see Kevin Pamphile or Tyler Marz require help.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This week's podcast, brought to you by the fine folks at Yazoo, is a one-for-all affair.

Get smart, quick hits on predetermined throws, Taywan Taylor's workload, the Titans being run-heavy on first down, the path to beating the Jaguars and the light blue jerseys all in one listen.

Plus, a great lifehack I've adopted that helps me circumvent my iPhone's prudish autocorrecting.

It's what I like to call good stuff.

Hit it here on iTunes.



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Scout's take: Leonard Fournette 'tends to disappear if he is hit early'

Blake Beddingfield was a Titans' scout for 19 years, through the 2017 draft. He was the team's director of college scouting for his final six years. He's brought to us by Party Foul, where you should definitely be eating and drinking.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jacksonville has arguably the most talented defensive roster in the NFL.

The Jaguars have done a great job of drafting elite talent when they have been in that position: Jalen Ramsey and Leonard Fournette. 

They are an example of success as a result of not playing it safe:

  • They paid AJ Bouje off of one year of production.
  • They signed Calais Campbell, Malik Jackson and Andrew Norwell.
  • They drafted Myles Jack coming off a knee injury.
  • They drafted Dee Dee Westbrook after off the field concerns.
  • They drafted a small undersized LB who turned in to a playmaker in Telvin Smith.
  • They found first-round talent like Cam Robinson, Yannick Ngakoue in the second and third rounds, respectively.

They have the best duo of corners in Ramsey and Bouye. Both are aggressive cover corners that look to make plays on the ball.


Do the Titans attack the corners with Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews?  The secondary receiving options for the Titans will be

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After offseason of pass-rush concern, youth infusion has Titans' feeling better

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Throughout the offseason, the pass rush was fairly rated as the No. 1 concern for the Titans.

Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan are quality outside linebackers. But there was nothing reliable behind them. Waves of great pass rushers keyed the Eagles’ Super-Bowl run last season. Orakpo talked about how much he’d like to play 25 snaps a game, a fresh player on the edge aiming for the quarterback.


But there was no real reason to expect it.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have been mum on injury specifics, but Marcus Mariota went against the grain with a pretty candid report about his right elbow and hand issue after a partial practice Wednesday.

His rehab entails trying to build the strength back in the hand as well as rest.

"They way they explained it to me, it’s like when you strum a guitar string,” he said. “When that string settles down, that’s kind of similar to how my never is. My nerve has kind of been strummed and it’s going to take it’s time to settle down.”


A few other things:


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Scout's take: A closer look at how the Titans made things go right

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Scouting notes on the Titans and Texans out of Tennessee's 20-17 win Sunday at Nissan Stadium;

The win within the win was in energy and intensity from the Titans

Two things happened on the final play of the game: Deshaun Watson was over the line of scrimmage when he threw the ball and it appeared, based on the three views I had, that Deandre Hopkins was never touched down by a Titans defender but gave himself up after the clock ran out. MatthewsTexans

The Titans special teams gunner Dane Cruikshank was their leading receiver in yards.

The Titans came out pulling out all the stops. This created a fight and energy for the team. 

A great call on the fake punt, but for some reason, no one covered the gunner. And it made for a quick and easy touchdown. Bad coaching on the Texans special teams, it was an easy alert for the personal protector Kevin Byard to make.

Matt LaFleur did a great job of managing Blaine Gabbert. He managed his throws, asking him for more high-percentage passes rather than asking Gabbert to drive the ball downfield. Quick throws, predetermined reads, get the ball out of his hands quickly. 

The Wildcat formation with Derrick Henry confused the defense. The offensive line and tight ends did a good job of wham blocking and trapping on those inside runs by Henry.  That allowed Henry to run downhill and punish the defense. 

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Ugly win over Houston contrasts with Titans-Browns in 2017

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Beat your head against a wall, or find a way over or around it.

Last year in Cleveland, the Titans found a path to a 12-9 overtime win in Cleveland. Mike Mularkey and most of his players hit the “any win is a good win” theme, but it was a game that exposed Mularkey and his staff.

They stubbornly did what they regularly did, making no notable adjustments and then expressing satisfaction that what they did worked as if they’d really proven something. The terrible Browns were down two key members of the secondary in that game, and Tennessee did nothing out of the ordinary to attack backups on a weak team.OrakpoTexans

Contrast that with Mike Vrabel’s first win as an NFL head coach. With mounting injury issues, they worked well beyond the typical NFL work week, searching and finding extra stuff that would work. There was no Wildcat in the

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