After cut block on Julius Peppers, Derrick Henry talks pass protection

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Pass protection is priority one for Mike Mularkey and the Titans offense.

Everything they do hinges on Marcus Mariota quarterbacking the franchise and minimizing hits gives the franchise the best chance to have him for 16 games.

So a run-first team needs productive guys at running back, but they also need to be good at blitz pickups.

Derrick Henry wound up one-on-one with Carolina’s Julius Peppers Saturday afternoon, and while he slowed Peppers with a cut block, quarterbacks Matt Cassel wound up running for his life and throwing the ball away.

“I thought Derrick, from the first game, was better,” Mularkey said. "Our other backs, we had some breakdowns again. We certainly have to clean that up...”

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Halfway through preseason, my Titans' 53-man roster

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans are getting deeper.

I just didn’t think they were deep enough to make picking a roster at this stage especially tough. Finding guys for the last few spots would be the issue, not cutting guys who should be around.

Well, I made a quick pass through the roster and circled the numbers of the guys I think are locks to relatively certain picks at this time.

And I came up with 26 guys on offense (which includes the kicker) and 26 on defense (including the long-snapper and punter).

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Precise receiver play has been an issue Mike Mularkey and his staff have obsessed about since they took over the Tennessee Titans.

The addition of veteran Eric Decker, currently out with a right ankle injury judged to be relatively minor, is expected to help the team upgrade in that category.

“That’s him, that’s who he is,” offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie said. “The good part about it for us is, when we’re trying to teach it to you, it’s one thing. When you’ve got a guy like that who’s showing it to you, it’s a whole different package.

Eric Decker early practice, Aug. 16. #Titans. #Panthers

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“We can say ‘precision,’ ‘precise,’ ‘exact.’ We say that 50 times. But when a young guy sees him do that, he says, ‘Oh, that’s what they are talking about.’ So it’s a big plus for us.”

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sylvester Williams came to Music City as the team’s third most-prominent free agent, at least until receiver Eric Decker arrived on June 19th.

There was no doubt the Logan Ryan was a starting cornerback and Johnathan Cyprien would be the strong safety when they were signed. I figured the same thing for Williams, a nose tackle who was in line to replace Al Woods, who was cut six days before Williams signed.

But Mike Mularkey has gone out of his way to praise Antwaun Woods as a man on a mission who’s in a tough competition with

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Protests during or after the national anthem by players at NFL games tend to draw great attention.

Supporters and detractors are moved in ways that can go beyond my understanding, but it’s clear there are strong feelings on each side.

I think guys can do what they like and that anyone who lets it impact his or her interest in the game is really stretching it. But if it bothers you so much you don’t watch the game, you too can do as you like.

Titans defensive end DaQuan Jones was recently featured in an ESPN.com story about his plan, and the plan of some of his teammates, going forward.

"It's going to affect your job, your endorsements and your money," Jones said in the story about anthem protests. "Someone like me, going into my fourth year, I'm trying to get paid too. A lot of teams will look down at that and say, 'He's a Colin Kaepernick.'"

Not long after the piece was published, Jones tweeted, indicated he was displeased with it.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Take two on the impossible assignment I gave myself.

Here is my best try at a note on everyone on the roster out of the Titans 34-27 preseason Week 2 win over the Panthers. I'll circle back with help from snap counts and any further information that comes to light Sunday.

2 WR Mekale McKay – Did not play (hamstring).

4 K Ryan Succop – Hit field goals of 34 and 50 yards while missing another 34-yarder wide right. Hit one extra point off the left upright and through. Hit two touchbacks on five kickoffs.

5 QB Tyler Ferguson – Took a knee on the final two snaps of the game to run out the clock and seal the win.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Injured NFL quarterbacks typically do what they can to stay involved. They talk of taking “mental reps,” listen in on play calls, watch snaps unfold, converse with their replacement, chat with their coordinator.

In my time watching such practice scenarios I’ve always seem them try to do that.IMG 1412

The quarterbacks I’ve covered include Jeff Hostetler, Vince Evans, Chris Chandler, Steve McNair, Neil O’Donnell, Billy Volek, Vince Young, Kerry Collins, Matt Hasselbeck, Jake Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Peyton Manning, Curtis Painter, Dan Orlovsky, Andrew Luck, Matt Schaub, Sage Rosenfels, T.J. Yates, Blaine Gabbert, Chad Henne, Zach Mettenberger, Charlie Whitehurst, Marcus Mariota, Matt Cassel, Alex Tanney.

I can’t remember an injured one at a camp practice who wandered around or did his own thing when he wasn’t the man under center as opposed to working to watch what was unfolding. Hurt guys were inside getting treatment or with the offense.

So I was fascinated to see how Carolina’s Cam Newton, who’s recovering from a shoulder injury, carried himself Thursday during a joint practice with the Titans.

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