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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