NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Taylor Lewan knows he returns to big expectations, and he certainly welcomes them. He’s not lacking in confidence, and that whopper of a contract he got last season confirmed the Titans share it.

But even as the guy who is probably the best player on the team returns from a four-game suspension for a violation of the NFL’s PED policy, he did make it a point to offer a reminder that he won’t be floating down on a cloud and solving every issue. He did that by looking back rather than ahead.

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Titans defense seeks to confuse QBs with brilliant disguises

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mohamed Sanu started to the far right of a three-wide formation. Matt Ryan gave him a wave. Sanu motioned all the way across, stopping behind the left guard. No one across the line on the Titans followed him. He set there. Ryan stabbed his left foot back, setting Sanu back where he came from.

At the snap, he was behind the right tackle and began to angle out into the flat. But a lot of eyes were already on him. Adoree’ Jackson and Logan Ryan were both between the numbers and the hash marks, well aware of Sanu in the fourth-and-1 situation. So was Rashaan Evans on the inside.MattRyanSack

What had happened to that point in the game, what Matt Ryan saw as he got under center and the down-and-distance led him to expect man coverage.

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By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

The Titans had a successful game plan in all three phases in Atlanta. The blueprint was obvious and worked from the beginning until the end of the game.MercedesBenzStadium

The Titans offense used the threat of the run game to open up the middle of the field for passes. The defense wanted to be physical and a nuisance to the Falcons’ receivers and it frustrated the offense all game. The special teams wanted to pin the Falcons deep and make them drive the length of the field and with good coverage and great punts and they executed that well.

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House money? In great win, Mike Vrabel's field-goal refusal felt reckless

ATLANTA – How many times do you think NFL teams have gone on a 14-0 run in a span of 13:09 in an NFL game?

A ton, right?

And how about teams run by one-time NFL MVP quarterbacks?IMG 0223

Even more, for sure.

Heck, Marcus Mariota has been struggling and the Titans got two TD passes in a span of 9:31 in Sunday's 24-10 win over the Falcons.

And a week ago in the Falcons' 27-24 loss in Indianapolis, the Falcons scored two touchdowns in a 9:40 span in the fourth quarter.

All of which is the context for a very odd Mike Vrabel decision that he pretty casually sluffed off after the Titans’ Sunday win.

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Julio who? For a day, in a much-needed win, Titans' receivers steal the stage

ATLANTA – Drafted sixth overall in 2011, Julio Jones is consistently the receiver I point to when the conversation turns to premium draft picks and the position.CD AB

He’s an unreasonable standard, sure. But you use a top 10 pick on a position you shoot for the gold standard, and he’s it. For five healthy seasons from 2014-2018 he averaged 105 catches for 1,598 yards and six TDs.

For the Tennessee Titans, a virtual wide-receiver black hole for their entire existence, those number are unimaginable. (Last year, six wideouts combined for 150 catches, 1,867 yards and six TDs; six guys combined had just 45 more catches for 269 more yards and the same number of touchdowns as Jones’ five-season average.)

We do not know if the Titans truly want to emerge as a substantial passing offense, but Sunday at Mercedes-Benz Stadium they did so, executing a near-perfect formula in a faith restoring, record-evening 24-10 win.

And after a sometimes-miserable first quarter of the season, they sit tied at the top of the AFC South at 2-2, though their 0-2 AFC South record is still a killer.

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ATLANTA – The Titans will stick with Jamil Douglas at right guard at the start of Sunday afternoon’s game against the Falcons, but Nate Davis will take over the position at some point and could finish there if he plays well enough.NateDavis

Why the Titans are taking that strategy rather than starting the third-round pick out of Charlotte isn’t clear. But they need a boost on the offensive line where Douglas has been part of a line that’s given up 17 sacks thorough three games. He was manhandled by Calais Campbell in Tennessee’s last game, in Jacksonville.

The Titans are likely to keep eight offensive linemen active to give themselves enhanced options.


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Yazoo Mailbag: Titans' player development, present and future

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Thanks for your mail this week. It will certainly be a telling game at Mercedez-Benz Stadium in Atlanta on Sunday.


We had a quality podcast which you may need to catch up on.

And of course, a big Periscope/Facebook Live session.

Now we forge ahead to your questions in advance of Sunday.

Jamie Zaleski Do you trust this coaching staff to develop a new qb next year, if that is the route they go? Who in the building has the knowledge/track record to help a new qb?

PK: I don’t know. We have not seen them do it.

But I’d like to think the guy they’d be developing comes in with some really good traits and has some different qualities than Marcus Mariota has had.

Pat O’Hara coached quarterbacks in Houston when Deshaun Watson was a rookie, so he had a hand in getting that good quarterback

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Scout's Take: How the Titans will try to slow Falcons' dangerous WRs

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- This is a must-win for both 1-2 teams. The Falcons have a potentially dynamic offense built around arguably the best wide receiver in the NFL in Julio Jones.

The Falcons offense has three very good receivers in Jones, Calvin Ridley and Mohamed Sanu, a receiving tight end in Austin Hooper and a running back in Devonta Freeman that has run and pass receiving skills. TitansPatchThe weak link for the Falcons is the offensive line.  Both guards and the rookie right tackle Kaleb McGray can be beat. This is a game for Harold Landry, Cameron Wake and Jurrell Casey to get their pass rush going.  

The biggest matchups for the Titans defense:

Julio Jones vs. the Titans’ corners

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