NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After three days of practicing alone, the Titans’ rookies get thrown in the deep end Monday.

It’s not a flat our sink or swim situation for the four draft picks, but the 22 undrafted rookies make their big impression now by how well they can stay afloat in the middle of veterans who have a giant head start on knowing what they are doing.IMG 8801

It’s not a full OTA practice at this point. The offseason program is still in Phase 2.

So they will work as position groups and the offense and defense can work as a unit but not against each other. Rookies get extra time for additional field work.

Veterans are certainly still learning the new playbooks put together by Mike Vrabel, Matt LaFleur, Dean Pees and the staff.

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pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The pace of the reveal of the 22 undrafted rookies the Titans signed is slowed under Mike Vrabel.

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They were on the field with the team’s four draft picks – Rashaan Evans, Harold Landry, Dane Cruikshank and Luke Falk – on Saturday.

But media saw only the stretch and the individual position period of a rookie minicamp practice, and then the locker room stayed closed while only the four draft picks spoke.

I’m most curious about running back Akrum Wadley and wide receiver Deontay Burnett. It’s hard to get much of an impression even at a fully open practice better yet at a limited view one, and so we will wait.

While Burnett (No. 80) was regularly first in line for the receivers, Wadley (38) was first at times but third at other times in running back drills.

Is that a guy who would seem to outrank Dalvin Dawkins and Larry Rose not asserting himself to head the group? Did running back

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TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Our fine city’s pro-sports peaks are now parallel:

A surprise season that fell just short of a championship; A spectacular regular-season follow-up that created massive expectations; A failure to live up to them; And a franchise absent the Lombardi Trophy and Stanley Cup we anticipated would arrive.IMG 8664

Music City remains a “new’ entry in the NFL and NHL, with teams that started out here in 1997 and 1998, respectively.

We’ve hardly got the tortured existence of some franchises or cities.

But the way the 2017-2018 Predators lost a second-round series to the Winnipeg Jets after a Presidents’ Trophy regular-season closely mirrored what unfolded for the 2000 Titans. 

They were linked last night as Eddie George joined Sheryl Crow to wave the gold towel and get the crowd amped.

That Titans team followed up a Super Bowl appearance with the NFL’s best regular season and a first-round bye, then bombed at home in a shocker of a loss to Baltimore.

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Party Fowl Online Ads 01By John Glennon, guest columnist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the end, maybe it was fitting that this utterly unpredictable playoff series ended on the strangest of all notes.

Who could have predicted, for instance, that the goaltender likely to win the Vezina Trophy this summer would have melted down in the opening period of Thursday's Game 7 loss?IMG 8671

Who could have guessed the Predators team that busted its collective backside for half a year – all in the name of capturing home-ice advantage – would drop three of four second-round games in Nashville to the Winnipeg Jets?

The only thing that made perfect sense by the time Winnipeg completed its 5-1 victory over the Predators was this: The better team was moving on.

In their own way, the Jets were more convincing beating the Predators in seven games in a conference semi-final than Pittsburgh was in beating Nashville in six games in the Stanley Cup Final last season.

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TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the most part, when it comes to sports, I’m most emotional about being unemotional.

I root for the Yankees and U.S. Soccer, and beyond that I tend to be detached. Certainly from the Titans and the NFL, which I cover twofold here and on The Midday 180 on 104.5 The Zone.PredsStand

The Predators put me in an awkward spot. I want them to do well. I’m a Nashvillian for over 20 years, I love a good story. They are a likable team with a generally enjoyable style of play.

But on the radio, I’m never going to get carried away with excitement over a local team. It just isn’t my approach. Maintaining some sort of distance from a team allows me to observe and analyze in a different way.

The flow of response to any pessimism about the Nashville Predators during their second-round series against the Winnipeg Jets has been truly remarkable.

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Party Fowl Online Ads 01By John Glennon, guest columnist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When last we saw the Predators' first line prior to Monday night, the trio of Filip Forsberg, Ryan Johansen and Viktor Arvidsson was trudging out of Bridgestone Arena following a Game 5 whipping at the hands of the Winnipeg Jets.Forsberg

As much as anything else, Winnipeg's win last Saturday was about the Jets' first line – Kyle Connor, Mark Scheifele and Blake Wheeler – going to toe-to-toe with the Preds' best and simply battering them.

 The Jets' big three finished that night with a combined eight points and a plus-seven rating, compared to a combined one point and a minus-six for Forsberg, Johansen and Arvidsson.

But it took all of one minute on Monday for the Predators' top line to make a statement that Game 6 would be different.

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mdi construction barNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Picture a five-man line: Derrick Morgan, DaQuan Jones, Jurrell Casey, Brian Orakpo and Rashaan Evans.OBrien

The offensive line across from those five have no choice but to start off singled up. Any help is coming from a tight end or a back.

That’s how the Texans lined up at time while Mike Vrabel was a defensive coach in Houston, and it’s sure to be part of the Titans’ new scheme.

That alignment basically winds up forcing those offensive linemen to have to pass set to the player in front of them.

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pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Welcome to a new edition of the mailbag. If you missed the big Periscope Friday, no problem. Here it is.

On to your questions.

Miracle

PK: We know Pittsburgh wanted up for Evans. Say the Ravens learn that, because Pittsburgh called them or a friendly team tipped them off. Of course you try to shop it to someone else. You want to see what the market has to offer. In this instance, you have a good sense, perhaps, that Evans is the target.

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