Beddingfield: How Titans are scouting roster heading into preseason opener

Party Fowl Online Ads 01By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The beginning of training camp is an exciting time for a front office and the personnel department. This is the first time a scouting staff will get to see their new players in game conditions.

The personnel department for the Tennessee Titans as well as most NFL teams will be interested in getting a game day look and view of their draft choices and some of the more prominent undrafted free agents from this 2018 class.BlakeBeddingfieldGlasses

The 2018 draft choices for the Titans -- Harold Landry, Dane Cruikshank and Luke Falk -- will all get long looks during the first preseason game. Rashaan Evans, unfortunately, will not play in this game due to injury that’s only delaying his development.

It is important to evaluate players in practice but to see them against opponents and under the lights in a real game setting is crucial. 

Creating matchups during the game is a big part of the evaluation process, it is not beneficial to see Landry go against a backup offensive tackle that will not make an NFL roster, it is imperative that he get meaningful reps versus a starting offensive tackle or at least a top backup to see how he can handle the competition against a top-level player.

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Party Fowl Online Ads 01 1NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- PaulKuharsky.com will have two extra posts a week and like everything already on the site, it will be content unlike anything you can get anywhere else.BlakeBeddingfieldMenu

Blake Beddingfield was a scout for the Titans for 19 years, and when his time with the team ended in 2017 he had finished the final six as the team's director of college scouting.

He will offer a scouting preview of every game -- starting Thursday in advance of the Titans' preseason opener at Green Bay. And he will provide us with a day-after-the-game review from a scouting perspective.

He'll post the questions a scout has heading into each game and he'll tell us what was answered, what wasn't and what new stuff is a concern.

He's been a guest of The Midday 180, he's done a podcast with me and we announced his role here in a Periscope and Facebook Live.

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Before his first preseason game as a head coach, a Mike Vrabel review

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The injury secrecy is extreme and, in many cases, unnecessary.

But with the Titans set to take off for Green Bay this afternoon and roughly two weeks of work in the bank, it’s good to pause to review what we’ve seen and heard from Mike Vrabel beyond that.IMG 3196 1

I think he’s been great.

He had a real knack for noticing little stuff in the moment that is hard for even very good coaches, simply because they are visually sorting through 22 guys on every play. But when the Titans are not playing hurry-up, there is no telling who he will walk toward with a correction or a compliment after a play. I often feel like he’s got All-22 vision, though he’s said he picks specific stuff to watch on specific plays.

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How often was Marcus Mariota on time in Tuesday's practice?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans’ offense didn’t look synched up on Tuesday in the teams’ final significant practice before their preseason debut Thursday night in Green Bay.IMG 3407

All sorts of elements are at play. I didn’t think Marcus Mariota threw the ball particularly well until the end. His targets were imprecise at times. And the defense is at a point, at practice 11, where it can often anticipate what is coming and jump it without risk of consequence.

On The Midday 180, I asked Matt LaFleur about the ball coming out on time.

“In the NFL, that’s paramount to good quarterback play,” he said. “We always talk about decision, timing and accuracy. So we're grading these guys on every play in terms of is the ball coming out on the right hitch or on the plant or on the second hitch? Those guys are constantly, probably annoyed by us in terms of just being on them every snap, whther it’s seven-on-seven or team.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans initial, unofficial depth chart is unsurprising, as we should have expected.

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I feel certain that despite Logan Ryan being listed as the second starting corner, there will be times when he is third -- he will line up in the slot as the nickel a ton and Adoree' Jackson could well start in a two-corner base with Malcolm Butler. They will mix and match.

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The Titans have not morphed into a three-wide base offense

TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Matt LaFleur was a part of the Rams last year, and Los Angeles ran a ton of three-wide formations.

The Titans ran very few.

And so we thought we’d see a dramatic transformation.IMG 3324

But at this stage of camp, while the Titans are running more three-wide, I wouldn’t call them a three-wide team.

First down looks to still typically default to two-tight ends and there is plenty of it on second down too.

“That’s going to depend on weekly basis on who we have up and at the end of the day we’re going to do whatever we feel is best to attack a defense whether that’s being in 12 (two-tight), 21 (two-back), 11 (three-wide), 13 (three-tight), we’ve got a pretty versatile group I feel like,” LaFleur said. “We’ll kind of see where it goes.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mike Vrabel hasn't been at Ohio State since 2013, but his defensive backs coach, Kerry Coombs, was there until he joined the Titans on Jan. 31.

The recent reporting of Brett McMurphy said the domestic abuse allegation against receivers coach Zach Smith was widely known by, at the very least, the wives of the bulk of the coaching staff.

Urban Meyer has been placed on administrative leave while Ohio State investigates what he knew and when.

Coombs told me Monday morning he and his wife, Holly, had no knowledge of any of it.

Vrabel spoke in broad terms recently about his alma mater and his confidence that Ohio State's athletic director will do the right thing.

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It's scorching out, so naturally Titans' coaches wear jackets to practice

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The temperature will be heading toward 90 while the Titans are on the field Monday, and like the vast majority of August days in Music City, it’ll feel worse.

Mike Vrabel and a good share of his coaches will, naturally, wear jackets.VrabelJackets

“I’ve always worn a sweat jacket, when I was practicing with the Patriots I’d put it on,” Vrabel said. “I may have had a few Diet Cokes at 11:00 at night so that gives me the ability to sweat it out.”

(Then he joined John Glennon in mocking the question. I forged ahead because I think it’s both interesting and funny. Keep reading and get to the Will Compton stuff and you’ll agree.)

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