CANTON, Ohio -- After a day of Pro Football Hall of Fame interviews on The Midday 180 that included quality chats with Steve Largent, Jim Kelly, Bruce Matthews, Terrell Davis and Jimmy Haslam, Jonathan Hutton and I took in the Gold Jacket Dinner and then headed to Glenmoor Country Club.

There, we were among roughly 1,000 guests at Jerry Jones' party, shortly after he put on his jacket and the night before his bust is unveiled and he's inducted into The Hall of Fame.

Friends who were at Eddie DeBartolo's shindig last year said Jones worked hard to trump what rated as an all-time bash, and succeeded.

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There was only one shelf of liquor, and it was a top shelf. Black wristbands like ours got you on the floor while white wristbands got people into tiered levels above where the host had a great perch to visit with friends, family and Hall of Famers and see it all unfold in front of him.

The cocktail napkins were made for the occassion. The cocktail stirrers were topped with "JJ." The glass table tops in our area covered pictures of Jones and friends and Jones' families from different eras.

He offered a short greeting and talked about the place being filled with people on whose shoulders he rode to such success as the Cowboys owner. The team's won three Super Bowls under his watch, and he helped the league move into a new television stratosphere.

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CANTON, OHIO -- Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk is on the NFL's Hall of Fame committee. Friday, following the State of the Hall event, she posed for pictures with the other NFL owners and looked around for Oilers Hall of Famers to say hello. I'm here with The Midday 180 from 104.5 The Zone, and caught up to her for a few seconds.
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The Titans practice Friday night at Centennial High School in Franklin. They’ll get dressed at their MetroCenter headquarters’ locker room and hop on busses – not the yellow kind – and head off to work under the lights.

In anticipation of that, I checked in with some guys about their favorite thing or memory of the stage in their football lives when they played their games on Friday nights.

Tight end Delanie Walker: “There was always that band playing. That was my favorite thing. Once I heard that I knew it was time to play. I think that would be awesome for an NFL team to have a band. That kind of gets you hyped yup to see your band rocking the stadium.” (The Ravens do still have a band, a carryover from the Baltimore Colts. Washington has one too.)

Nose tackle Sylvester Williams: “Going to eat after the game with the boys. We used to go to Quizno's after every game. I got the bowl, I think it was a chicken bowl, a soup bowl, a chicken soup bowl. I probably haven’t had one since high school. We’d hang out for an hour or two, replay the game, talk about life.”

Cornerback Adoree' Jackson: “My favorite Friday night memory, I think it was my junior year. It was championship to go to state. It was against a team we lost to in the regular season. It was 0-0 going into the second quarter and we did a fake punt and we ended up beating them and we won state that year. Yeah, it was me on the fake punt, 30 or 40 yards.”

Punter Brett Kern: Up in Western New York, I had about three Friday night games in my whole career. Friday night though, we had a playoff game in about almost a foot of snow. I think we were the last seed and we went to this farm town down in the southern counties in Western New York. We beat them something like 47-7. I was punting and kicking. Some of the local farmers brought their snowplows out and were plowing off the yard markers, but they couldn’t get quite to the corners of the field. I had a punt that went left, it almost went out of bounds, but it stopped on the 3-yard line and it just kind of disappeared. The next play, one of our guys picked it for a touchdown and it kind of started the rout. That got us to the Bills stadium for a sectional game.”

Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo: “Man, the bright lights bringing the whole city together. That’s how it was. That whole high school feel, it’s a great feeling, I had a number of great Fridays in Houston. Texas is big on high school football. The crowds were ridiculous, like 30,000. First time is definitely an eye-opener, it’s like bigger than life, and it’s crazy.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Thursday, three national reporters passed through Nashville to look in on the Titans.

Their visits will inform not just whatever they wrote/write with a Music City dateline, but will likely color their opinion of the team, especially before meaningful games are play.

Kevin Clark of The Ringer and Dan Pompei of Bleacher Report and The Athletic are high-quality, insightful guys. La Canfora, of CBS, has been around the league for a long time and has solid connections -- though in Nashville he’s known for a disconnect with the Titans.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The fifth pick in the draft, Titans receiver Corey Davis, pulled a hamstring during one-on-one drills on Thursday and was sent to have an MRI.

Coach Mike Mularkey said he didn't know the extent of the injury yet.

With Davis out, Eric Decker will move outside opposite Rishard Matthews and third-roubd rookie Taywan Taylor will be in the slot.

Here's a good look at every receiver at practice before Davis was hurt.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- With an influx of perimeter weapons who can run after the catch, the Titans are in better position to play balanced offense.

Titans coach Mike Mularkey wants camp to unfold to learn just what he’s got.

But those around him believe, as I do, the Titans won’t be changing a great deal from what they were in their turnaround 2016 campaign: A two-tight end base offense that calls on an extra blocker to help a run-first scheme and add a layer of protection for Marcus Mariota.FullSizeRender 10

“Our offense is a run-first offense, I would say," Delanie Walker, the No. 1 tight end, said. "With the tight ends on the field we can run those packages and we can also spread out a tight end and be able to audible out into a pass.

“I think we’re going to keep that two tight-end set. Even if our receivers come together and be a dominant group, we’re still going to run two tight-end. It’s going to be very hard to get away from that.”

The Titans ran the third-fewest three-wide receiver sets in the NFL last season.

Anthony Fasano was a dirty work hero as the on-the-line tight end, and he played a significant role in protecting Mariota, helping right tackle Jack Conklin have an All Pro rookie season and left tackle Taylor Lewan make his first Pro Bowl.

Fasano left as a free agent for Miami.

The Titans will turn to rookie Jonnu Smith and veteran Phillip Supernaw in the role now, while third tackle Dennis Kelly could also get some snaps. He was the third tight end in jumbo sets a year ago.

“I don’t think much is going to change from last year,” left tackle Taylor Lewan said.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Frank Wycheck, the tight end who threw the lateral on the Music City Miracle, won’t be in the Titans Radio booth as the team’s color analyst for the 2017 season.

Veteran coach Dave McGinnis will replace him, though it may only be for a year.

 

Dave McGinnis with the fellas from my group: John Smith and Jay Spoonhour. #drive4Dinger

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McGinnis has been in coaching since 1973 and his career included 31 seasons in the NFL. He was assistant head coach to Jeff Fisher with the Los Angeles Rams in 2016.

McGinnis served as head coach of the Arizona Cardinals from 2000-03 and joined Fisher’s Titans staff in 2004. He spent eight years in Nashville before five with the Rams.

He’s a gifted and enthusiastic storyteller who will bring a new perspective to games working with play-by-play man Mike Keith.

Because of personal issues, Wycheck has missed a good share of the offseason on The Wake Up Zone, the morning show on 104.5 the Zone. (Disclaimer, I also work at the station.)

He was on the air this morning and revealed he would not be in the booth on game days this year.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn.  -- Among the most popular questions I get from you guys isn’t about the Titans right now, it’s about the Titans long term.

How long can defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, who turns 80 in September, do the job and who’s in line to replace him?

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I’ve suggested linebacker coach Lou Spanos, who worked under LeBeau before they came together with the Titans could be the ultimate successor.

On The Midday 180, I asked LeBeau if he wanted to reassure fans the end is not in sight.

But he admitted it’s coming.

“You have to be realistic,” he said. “I mean, I ain’t going to do this forever, you know? I don’t want to stay too long, let’s put it that way. Who’s to say what that is? I don’t know. I’ve got a feeling I’ll know when it happens.”

He said, as many older coaches do, that being around you energetic players helps keep him young. The schedule doesn’t leave him time to think about his coaching fate beyond 2018.

But the charming, beloved coach isn’t pretending he’s not 79 –- and proudly told us about shooting a 66 on a North Carolina golf course recently, and knocking in his ninth hole in one in Kentucky with his son.

“The aging process sucks,” he said. “There is nothing you can do about that. I don’t even think about that. I hope Mike (Mularkey) doesn’t think about that too much.”

His mom lived into her 90s and his dad to 88.

“It was probably 100 in most people’s lives, he lived a very active life,” LeBeau said. “I’ve got aunts who lived close to 100. We’ve got lifespan, there is no question about that. I’m pretty careful about the poison that I put in my body, so it’s got me in pretty good (shape). But still, there is only one guy that’s got out of this stuff alive.

“So it’s waiting for all of us. Working with this young guys and getting ready for a game coming up on Sunday, you ain’t got time to think about that kind of stuff.”

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