Titans should consider Josh McCown, Teddy Bridgewater for backup QB upgrade

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Time for some quarterback math.

Let’s presume the Titans see what we see: that Matt Cassel, while under contract for another year, doesn’t have the arm to step in and win a game for the Titans if Marcus Mariota needs to miss one or more and that the backup will likely be called upon at some point.

That should make moot Cassel’s connections to Jon Robinson, who worked for the Patriots when Cassel was there, and Mike Vrabel, who played with the quarterback in New England and Kansas City.CasselOAK

There are a lot of quarterbacks in line to hit the market in the middle of March, and there are a lot of teams that need one.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Holding a guitar presented by Titans great and Ohio State teammate Eddie George, Mike Vrabel pledged hard work and got a huge ovation Saturday night at Opryland.

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“I appreciate this, this is an amazing opportunity, I’m humbled by this opportunity,” Vrabel said at the end of a program that ran about two hours. “I’m going to give you everything I’ve got, the guys that we’ve hired are going to give you everything that they’ve got and I know you’re going to be proud of the players.”

At an event that was scheduled to include 8,000 season ticket holders, Mike Keith served as master of ceremonies on a stage draped with navy curtains on which white stars were projected and scaffolding was lit in red.

Amy Adams Strunk, Jon Robinson,  Vrabel and Dean Pees all spoke along with George, Taylor Lewan and Kevin Byard.

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Pickers mailbag: Titans need to scheme receivers open

pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Greetings. Hope you enjoyed the gold medal in curling as much as I did. I hope the game now sweeps the nation.

Here's our end-of-the-week Periscope.

There was a private follow up for members only during which we discussed the 20th anniversary of the Oilers negotiating out of the second year of their two-year lease in Memphis. 

Feel free to tweet a question at any time. I'm @PaulKuharskyNFL. If you use #PKmail I’ll be able to find it easily. Member question from our private Facebook group page get priority treatment and we lead off with one of those.

Oscar Benjamin You’ve mentioned in the past about the Titans having issues developing their WR’s. Any thoughts on what kind of philosophy and/or personnel decisions you would want to see from them that would suggest their on the right track turning the WR group around?

PK: This is a very interesting topic and I want to focus on expectations and philosophy.

Separation was a major issue last season for a franchise that consistently has receiver issues.

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We hear a lot about quarterbacks throwing receivers open, and we certainly need to see more of that from Marcus Mariota who’s shown he can do it.

But how about scheming them open?

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Potential Dean Pees, defensive staff free-agent connections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – We’ve looked at potential free-agent connections with Mike Vrabel, John Robinson and Matt LaFleur and the offensive staff.Pees

For the final installment of this series, let’s see who’s got expiring contracts and connections to Dean Pees and the guys working under him.

This one is certainly more a list of role players than stars, but there are a decent number of them.

We’ll start with those connected to Pees:

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Jon Robinson has shown he'll be proactive, set market with contracts for right guys

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jon Robinson isn’t sprinting, but heading into his third season as the Titans GM he’s shown he’s willing to get ahead of the league when it comes to negotiating contracts.

A percentage of guys in his job, facing a situation comparable to another in the league, sit back and see what unfolds elsewhere, and then react.CaseyRams

Two recent instances tell us with a player he clearly wants to retain, Robinson prefers to be proactive.

On Tuesday, the Titans signed Ryan Succop to a deal ESPN reported is for five years and $20 million, with $7.25 million fully guaranteed and $8.25 million in the first two years.

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Potential Matt LaFleur, offensive staff free-agent connections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Want a connection arrow for the Titans new staff and an intriguing player heading to free agency?

Point it at receiver Sammy Watkins.RamsHelmet

Not only did new offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur see Watkins at close range last year with the Rams, but new receivers coach Rob Moore was with Watkins in Buffalo in 2014.

Watkins was not super-productive in his one season in Los Angeles. He was only fourth on the team with 39 catches. He turned those into 593 yards and a team-high eight touchdown catches.

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Potential Jon Robinson free-agent connections

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There is no Logan Ryan here.

Last year, the connection between Jon Robinson and Ryan was an easy one to make. Robinson had scouted Ryan for the Patriots and after taking over the Titans had mentioned using analytics to help single Ryan out from a group of cornerbacks New England was considering.Word Art

But as we trace some connections that could be in play for the Titans in free agency this year, Robinson doesn’t have as strong a tie to as good a player – unless we’re counting 32-year old Danny Amendola, who is so connected to Tom Brady and the Pats that he would be an unlikely target for Robinson.

A Patriots’ free agent coming off his fourth season didn’t overlap there with Robinson, who left New England after the 2013 season. Robinson may love corner Malcolm Butler (undrafted in 2014) or running back Dion Lewis who landed in New England in 2015), but he didn’t work with them.

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PODCAST: Remembering the Randy Moss 'era' in Tennessee

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Episode 5 of our podcast-only podcast is ready for you.

Part 1, like podcast versions of my public Periscope and Facebook Lives, is available through iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here.BlevinsPodcast

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.

Wih the help of Madison Blevins, I cover Ryan Succop's contract extension, why a report that the Titans' new uniforms won't be red strikes me as a ridiculous, what two former Titans think of Derrick Henry in a zone-blocking scheme, Jay-Z's bottle service and my memories of the Randy Moss "era" in Tennessee.

As always, we welcome your feedback.

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