Titans need more sandpaper in the locker room

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans’ real culture change started in 2016, when Jon Robinson took over as general manager and Mike Mularkey shifted from interim head coach to head coach.

Mike Vrabel replaced Mularkey in 2018 and the push continued, and the team’s carefully built locker room and belief in the ethos – team first, accountability, know what to do – continued to grow. It was seeded with predominantly nice guys.

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“I love coming to work, I love coaching these guys, I love watching them succeed individually,” Vrabel said Monday as the Titans kicked off their offseason program, which he pointed out totals 176 hours. “I love even more so watching them succeed collectively. We don’t have a whole lot of bad guys.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Since he got past the basic rookie learning phase, Marcus Mariota been asked to do everything a team could ask of an NFL quarterback, at least to hear the Titans tell it.

But even as I’ve considered his lousy protection, his poor weapons and his long list of injuries, I’ve also often wondered, does what the Titans have really asked of him tell us what they really think of him? How much do they really trust him?MariotaFumbleHouston

As the Titans gather in Nashville for the start of their offseason program Monday, he’s the biggest question for the fifth year running. They’ve made moves to address what’s around him with a replacement coordinator in Arthur Smith, a new left guard in Rodger Saffold and a true slot receiver in Adam Humphries. The upcoming draft will surely provide more.

But it’s incumbent on Mariota to show the Titans enough this season to warrant a second-contract commitment, and there isn’t really such a thing as middle ground. It’s a 2020 franchise tag that will build on this year’s number of $24.865 million or a long-term contract built starting with that number.

Who among us expects them to be a quarterback-dependent team, like most of the league is?

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Scout's take: Major details on the draft's tight ends

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans will welcome back their most reliable receiving target in former Pro Bowler Delanie Walker.

Walker will be 35 years old when the 2019 starts and is coming off a serious lower right leg injury. These type of injuries can be hard to recover from, especially for someone that is in his mid-thirties.WalkerTwelfthEagles

On the positive side, Walker has always been one of the best conditioned and hardest-workers on the Titans’ roster since he was signed as a free agent in 2013. He has averaged over 70 receptions per season for the Titans and I expect him to reach those numbers again this season.

The Titans drafted Jonnu Smith in the third round of the 2017 draft with the intention of him replacing Walker. Smith has shown flashes of speed and receiving ability, but he has not shown the consistency of being a No. 1 TE in the NFL. Year 3 will be very important for Smith and the Titans' personnel department.

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YAZOO PODCAST: Titans' specific fits from draft analyst Kyle Crabbs

NASHVILLE, Tenn.  -- We often don't spend enough time considering how to shape a conversation with a draft analyst.

For this week's edition of our podcast, I talked to Kyle Crabbs and asked if he could, ahead of time, ponder guys he thinks fit the Titans' needs and systems.

And so our chat centers on outside linebackers, defensive linemen, interior offensive linemen and receivers. He paints us pictures of a couple guys who could be there for the Titans at each of those spots at No. 19 in the first round, in the second/third rounds and in the fourth round and after.

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I think you will really enjoy it as he walks us through 16 different prospects. You should follow Crabbs on Twitter at @GrindingTheTape and read him with several other top draft analysts at The Draft Network.

You can find Part 1 on iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes.

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.

You can find the history of this site's podcasts right here.

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Top path to quick cure for Titans' WRs isn't the draft, it's big jumps for Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Receivers take time.

Even with Adam Humphries in the fold, even if Corey Davis, Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe make jumps, the Titans need more than they’ve got.

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(Photo courtesy Tampa Bay Buccaneers)

And to hear Mike Vrabel talk about the transition, big impact from a rookie is practically a pipe dream.

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NASHVILLE Tenn. -- At the recent NFL owner's meetings we saw the NFL 100 logo rolled out for the first time, and it's going to be a huge feature all season.

Rather than the defending Super Bowl champions playing in the season opener, we're going to see a classic matchup for the start of the 2019 season: The Bears hosting the Packers.NFL100

Amy Adams Strunk, a member of the NFL's Hall of Fame Committee, hinted recently that one element of the 100-year celebration could be an expanded Hall of Fame class.

That could create room for her father as a candidate. The case for K.S. Bud Adams, co-founder of the AFL and founder of the Houston Oilers who became the Tennessee Titans, is strong.

Strunk and I spoke about the potential for her father's candidacy in any sort of expanded field of candidates.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A deep dive into the mail in a podcast sounded good to me this week. And since no middle manager had to justify the idea because we run an efficient and smart one-man operation here, it came quickly into existence.

(Yes, occasionally I still tap into some bitterness from my old life.)

This is sure to get you through a good workout or a drive and I am confident you'll come through it better off.

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Among the topics covered: The optimal time for the draft, a free agent I'd still sign, Dennis Kelly's future, Dion Lewis' reliance on Derrick Henry, right guard or center solutions, Arthur Smith's draft influence, how expanded replay will affect challenges, a real view of the Titans' fan base and information overload for draft decision-makers. 

You can find the history of this site's podcasts right here.

This edition of the pod is free to all. You can find it on iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes.

It's also below the line.

I hope you enjoy it.

[Unlocked]

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