Where were Titans' players in the NFL's Sunday 'WeWantToPlay' chorus?

 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – We repeatedly hear not just from their fans, but from some of the Titans themselves, about how they are underappreciated, under-represented and under-respected nationally.

In some respects, they have a fair case.

And in some, like one they put on full display Sunday, they do not.

NFL players worked together to get out a clear message as a group that while they want to get back to work when training camps are open, they are not satisfied with the NFL’s plans for health and safety precaution plans to the extent they’ve been revealed so far.

NFLPASafety

 

J.J. Watt was one of numbers of NFL players who spelled out his concerns in a Twitterstorm.

Where were the Titans’ leaders on this?

Well, a couple echoed the hashtag and couple retweeted the league’s big names. [UPDATE: Actually a few echoed the hashtag: Taylor Lewan, Kenny Vaccaro and Rashaan Evans.]

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Titans fared well staying short-term with guarantees in deal with Derrick Henry

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Long-term investment in a running back is dangerous.

The Titans are built around a special running back.

It put them in a tough spot as they reached Wednesday afternoon’s deadline for an extension, as Derrick Henry would have had to move forward on his one-year franchise tag without a new deal.HenryRun3Jaguars

I expected that was what would happen, and that he would make $10.278 million this year and $12.333 million – 120 percent of the 2020 tag as the 2021 tag in a year.

I thought that, though, because I figured Henry and his representatives would over-value him.

While I'm wary of big second deals for running backs, this is good money, not reset-the-market-for-the-position money, and it's a deal that could easily amount to two years for just over what two tags would have cost.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Jon Robinson led the Titans decision to fire Mike Mularkey after a playoff season in 2016, his primary attraction to Mike Vrabel was Vrabel’s ability to lead.

“Obviously I hadn't worked with him from a coaching standpoint, I had really observed him as a player in the way that he conducted himself as a leader on those teams in New England,” Robinson said. “Certainly, I watched his coaching career from afar, you know, when he was at Ohio State and with the Texans. I knew that the leadership was going to be something. He just a natural leader.”RobinsonVrabelLaughDraft

After two years working with Vrabel, I wondered if Vrabel has delivered something different and/or something more than Robinson expected when he chose him as Mularkey’s replacement.

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Jon Robinson: Revenue, salary-cap uncertainty hurts potential for extensions

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The deadline for an unlikely Derrick Henry extension is Wednesday.

Beyond that, the Titans have three other key players heading into contract years. in a normal year, history suggests one of them would get an extension and the Titans would remove all worry of losing him next spring in free agency. 

Titans have been very proactive in recent summers, extending players like Taylor Lewan and Kevin Byard before they got close to the free market.JSmithTDBucsBut the slowed revenue stream ahead with limited capacity at NFL stadiums due to the coronavirus pandemic makes the future of the salary cap unknown. New TV deals are on the horizon – the contract with ESPN runs out in 2021 and all the other deals expire in 2022. A big part of the league’s push to get the CBA done before this season was to line up negotiations with those broadcast partners. [Unlocked]

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Jon Robinson: 'I assume when we come back, we’re probably going to have some guys that test positive'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jon Robinson has watched what’s unfolded with other sports amid the coronavirus pandemic. He saw Nashville SC’s game in MLS’s return-to-play tournament postponed because of positive COVID-19 tests, and put them on what seems like an inevitable path toward cancellation.

He knows what that means for the Titans.typorama

“I think this whole thing is pretty scary, you never know how it’s going to affect different people,” he said Tuesday night. “You don’t know what it’s going to be like. I assume when we come back, we’re probably going to have some guys that test positive and we’ll have to deal with that, I am sure every team will. Every league is going through that right now.

As for whether anyone working for the Titans has tested positive at this point, he said he could not disclose such information and joked he didn’t want to get arrested by HIPAA.

He’s been working on some of the logistics at team headquarters and awaiting further information for the league about roster size and preseason operations.

I asked him about the idea of isolating a quarterback to assure the Titans would have one in a worse-case scenario, but he broadened the topic.

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Jon Robinson's latest on Jadeveon Clowney, and Stephen Gostkowski too

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – What’s Jon Robinson’s current picture of Jadeveon Clowney’s health?

“What I’ve seen on Twitter, him rushing off the edge and hitting that bag,” he said Tuesday night in a Periscope/ Facebook Live conversation with this site to benefit Safe Haven Family Shelter. “Anytime you are dealing with whatever the contract is going to command, you want to make sure that the player is healthy, that you are able to allow your doctors to see him, to look at it, to make sure everything is going to be good.”

The Titans still cannot bring Clowney to Nashville for a physical that would put them in position to evaluate his recovery from offseason core surgery and allow them to move forward with an attempt to sign the linebacker who played some of his best football while Mike Vrabel coached him in Houston.

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Once Nashville hit a certain phase of reopening, NFL rules allowed the Titans to bring their draft picks to town for off-site physicals by their doctors. After those, the Titans were comfortable beginning to complete contracts for some – they have agreed to terms with fifth-round defensive lineman Larrell Murchison, seventh-round quarterback Cole McDonald and seventh-round defensive back Chris Jackson.

But the same rules did not apply to Clowney or other free agents. [Unlocked.]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For at least a year, I’ve tried to get Jon Robinson to join the available members of my All 22 group for libations and food for an off-the-record get-togetherRobinsonPhoenix.

He laughed and gave me a hard time at the request as I expected. I tried to lure him by saying my guys (we haven’t had a female member yet) would make donations in his name to the charity I know is near and dear to his family, JDRF.

That didn’t work.

But about a month ago I caught him in a tremendous mood and he proposed we do it as a fundraiser keyed around a Pedal Tavern ride, not for his charity, but for something that is important to me.

Alas, the pandemic did away with the excellent Pedal Taven idea.

But Tuesday, Robinson will join me for a Periscope/ Facebook Live broadcast prior to a small, spaced patio gathering of available members of the All-22 that will also be Zoomed to members unable to attend.

We are asking that you make whatever donation you can to Safe Haven, a Nashville charity that works to keep homeless families together while they find their bearings.

They’ve sent up a direct link for us and you can go directly to them here – where you can see more about what Safe Haven does and make a donation. No amount is too small!  

[Unlocked]

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NFL set to scale back preseason to two games, which would put Titans at home vs. Giants, on road at Tampa

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The NFL preseason is being scrunched, with the first and the fourth week erased from the schedule, per reports from ESPN and PFT.

The intention is for every team to play once at home and once on the road while the league sorts through the coronavirus pandemic.

That means the Titans trip to Washington for a game on Aug. 15 would be off as would be the Bears' visit to Music City on Sept. 3. The Titans are scheduled to be home against the Giants in the second week of the preseason and at the Buccaneers in the third week.

A later report from NFL Media said the NFLPA has not signed off and some leadership would like for there to be no preseason games, a set up it's hard to imagine the league falling in line with.TitansDoubleLogo

The rationale for eliminating the first game is largely that, after teams had no time on the field throughout the offseason, it will take them longer to get up to speed and into full football condition after starting camp, which for most teams including Tennessee will begin on July 29. [Unlocked.]

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