Pickers mailbag: Growing pains with new Titans' schemes

pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings and welcome to the mailbag.

I know everyone is excited about Ndamukong Suh, who will reportedly visit this weekend. I'll be monitoring and bring you anything I find out and reaction to any development as quickly as I can.

Onto your questions...

Will Craig: Do you expect growing pains with the new schemes early in the season? What can teams do to limit those things?

PK: There are probably some, sure. But a big part of what Mike Vrabel, Dean Pees and Matt LaFleur have to get done before opening day is getting players comfortable with the schemes so they don't have to overthink when it's time to play. and part of that comes from not making the schemes too complicated.

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Ndamukong Suh questions and Sylvester Williams contract concerns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Ndamukong Suh is a tough guy to block and a very appealing available defensive lineman.

After Ian Rapoport reported Suh has a visit to Tennessee lined up, Jurrell Casey was excited, just like a lot of Titans fans. The visit is reportedly this weekend.

Here’s my concern about Suh as a Titan.WilliamsJags

In eight NFL seasons, one could argue that two of his three least-good years came in Miami while he was coached by Terrell Williams, who is now the Titans defensive line coach.

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YAZOO PODCAST: Loss of Avery Williamson not tragic, not so sure about my stomach issues

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings from a few days into free-agency.

The evening after meeting Malcolm Butler and Dion Lewis I chatted with Madison Blevins Pk Pod 2about them and a whole lot more for the new edition of The Paul Kuharsky Podcast.

Part 1, like podcast versions of my public Periscope and Facebook Lives, is available through iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes. We always welcome your feedback.

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.

Other topics: Potential pursuit of Ndamukong Suh, the loss of Avery Williamson and self-diagnosing my stomach issues.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We met the two newest Titans at team headquarters on Thursday.

Malcolm Butler is a self-made player who came into the league as an undrafted rookie, intercepted Russell Wilson to seal a Super Bowl XLIX win for the Patriots and became a key cog in the New England machine.

Dion Lewis was missed 2013 hurt and was out of the league in 2014.

Now they've got big-dollar contracts and are expected to be central figures in the next step of Tennessee's resurgence.

My video report:


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What Titans adding Dion Lewis could mean to Derrick Henry

NYJ101517 JM71 1NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The presumption when the Titans released DeMarco Murray was that Derrick Henry would assume the mantle as the team’s lead running back.

With Dion Lewis incoming as a free-agent acquisition, we may need to reassess.

Ultimately Mike Vrabel, Matt LaFleur and Tony Dews will determine deployment.

But in less than 24 hours after Lewis-to-Tennessee came to light, a film analyst, an analytics expert and a fantasy expert all looked at the move and concluded Lewis will, or should, get work on early downs, not just on third down.

(Dion Lewis photo courtesy New England Patriots/Jim Mahoney.)

Dion Lewis will bring contrast with Derrick Henry, durability concerns

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Dion Lewis’ role in New England wasn’t carved out quite as narrowly as we might believe based on the team’s large number of running backs.

Adam Schefter reports Lewis will agree to a four-year deal with the Titans

He was one of four Patriots backs to see significant action in 2017, leading the team with 405 snaps – 35.6 percent of the team's snaps on offense. PFF says Lewis' work was pretty evenly split between run and pass plays.

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Addition of Malcolm Butler further defines Titans' corners as tough

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The addition of free-agent Malcolm Butler further identifies the trait the Titans want in their cornerbacks.

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While Adoree’ Jackson certainly brings elite speed, the defining characteristic of their top-line trio of Butler, 

Logan Ryan and Jackson is toughness.

The addition is a giant free-agent move with giant money connected to it. We always need to see how a deal breaks down to really understand what it is worth. But Ian Rapoport’s initial reporting says it includes over $30 million guaranteed.

For those kinds of dollars, I’d expect a truly special player.

But from what scouts I know tell me, special isn’t the first word they’d attach to Butler.

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Annual message: Don't freak if the Titans don't break the bank for free agents

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The loud segment of Titans fans that is preset to bemoan a lack of spending in free agency is already at full social-media volume.

It’s my favorite thing!

I said on The Midday 180 in Tuesday that it’s a big disappointment to me that as a prominent voice covering the team I’ve failed to educate or influence enough people on the subject.

Sure, the Jaguars crushed it in 2017, layering A.J. Bouye, Calais Campbell and Barry Church into their team that finally broke through and advanced to the AFC Championship Game.

But why should that now be the standard?

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