NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jeffery Simmons has continued to rehabilitate the torn left ACL he suffered in Feb. of 2019 with Titans strength coach Frank Piraino and head medical man Todd Toriscelli as the NFL rules have allowed during the COLVID-19 pandemic.

He’s one of the few players and people who’ve been in the facility during that time, but said he hasn’t really noticed.

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“It’s kind of how it was when I first got here (after getting drafted), just me rehabbing,” Simmons said. “Every day that I am going into the building it’s just the same mentality, continue to get my knee in the best shape I can for the season. That’s pretty much what it is. I’m not feeling lonely. … [Unlocked.]

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As Jevon Kearse recalled record rookie year, a thanks to Jon Runyan

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It took Jevon Kearse a while. But a Titans teammate who had a great deal to do with his rookie record 14.5-sack defensive rookie of the year season in 1999 that helped get Tennessee to the Super Bowl got an overdue thanks about six or seven years later.

In Philadelphia.

Rookie defensive line coach Jim Washburn did a great deal to help Kearse take the league by storm after he lasted as a tweener until the 16th pick in the draft.KearseSkype2

Tuesday on The Midday 180 The Freak said right tackle Jon Runyan also deserves credit for that big rookie year. Washburn lined Kearse up on the left side and he tried to get the past the 6-foot-7, 330-pound lineman starting in OTAs.

“(Those matchups) started out physical from Day 1 and we didn’t even have pads on,” said Kearse, who recalled one early combination block where guard Benji Olson tried to take his head off as if Kearse had done something bad to his kid or mom and wound up falling down. “Going against Jon every day, going against him in training camp that really got me developed as much as Washburn got me developed because like I said I didn’t play defensive end in college, I played it when I got to the big league.

“Jon Runyan, that’s an angry cat. I don’t know why he as so angry, but he was always walking around with that bottom lip [Unlocked]

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NFL was overdue to reopen one path for more minority coordinators

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The proposal to encourage more minority hiring for head coaching and GM openings in the NFL has, at least, created a lot of conversation.NFL

But it’s super flawed.

I’ve seen and read people who could benefit from it give it a thumbs down. Boosting a team’s third-round pick by six spots (for a minority head coach hire) or 10 (a GM) or 16 (for both) the year after hiring them isn’t a great incentive.

In coaching hire terms, that’s a jump from Jonathan Greenard to Terrell Lewis for a team that may have been in the outside linebacker market and in the right range in 2020 and had them stacked the way they went off the board. In GM terms it’s Lewis to Zach Baun. In the coach-plus-GM equation, it’s just short of Lewis to Julian Okwara.

If the hire is still in place three years later, a fourth-round pick moves up five spots.

That is really minor.

And frankly, a team that has put itself in position to have to hire a coach and/or a GM a should not benefit in any new way over teams who’ve fared better by hiring coaches and GMs they haven’t had to fire -- regardless of what color any of them are.

As a middle-aged white guy, I'm certainly no authority on minority opportunity

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While Titans could partially reopen Tuesday, they will hold off

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While city and league rules allow the Titans to begin to reopen their facility on Tuesday, the franchise is more likely to wait to do so until after Memorial Day.

My understanding is that a delay of at least a week will give the franchise additional time to sort out a plan that would include some staff members returning to the team’s MetroCenter headquarters.

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Roger Goodell told teams in a recent memo published by multiple outlets that if their cities and states allowed it, they could return 50 percent of their people to their headquarters up to 75 people, but excluding coaches and players.

That includes people at any team buildings, so St. Thomas Sports Park and Nissan Stadium workers would be combined in the count. [Unlocked.]

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New Titans president Burke Nihill: Business side need to know 'football is the singular priority'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – New Titans president and CEO Burke Nihill said he didn’t think he was being groomed for the job and was surprised when he got the call from Amy Adams Strunk asking him to replace the retiring Steve Underwood in the role.

In an interview with 3HL on 104.5 The Zone, Nihill said his background as an outsider helped make him appealing in 2016 when he applied for the Titans general counsel job.Nihill

“I submitted an application,” he said. “I don’t mean to oversimplify it, but that’s how the ball got rolling. I think it’s to Amy's credit that she was looking to take opportunities to bring in some voices from the outside and to get some fresh perspective on some things. [Unlocked.]

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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

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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