mdi construction barKANSAS CITY, Mo. – Before he ran out of trouble on an option play and then on the iconic stiff arm run last week, Marcus Mariota as having trouble negotiating a collapsing pocket.

I marveled that Blake Bortles looked better stepping up than Mariota did.

The Titans quarterback often moves laterally when trouble arrives, and that gives him a better out in terms of throwing the ball away without fear of a grounding call.

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But I’d like to see him climb the pocket and maintain his downfield vision better. He got sacked from behind a few times against the Jaguars. Faring better earlier and more often stepping up could give the offense a boost at Arrowhead Stadium later today.

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pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Happy Friday.

It's such a weird week when the Titans play on a Saturday instead of a Sunday. I'm off to Kansas City tonight thanks to MDI Construction and could see some of you there tonight. Then a big workday Saturday including a members-only Periscope.Facebook Live from Arrowhead at some point after the game.

Big thanks, as always, to Pickers Vodka for sponsoring this post and all the live broadcasts.ColdJags 1

Onto your questions.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Stuff I’d like to see from the Titans in Kansas City as they need to pull out all the stops to win a wild-card game against the Chiefs.

Adoree’ Jackson on offense: The rookie corner will be a big factor in defending Tyreek Hill, who averaged 15.8 yards a catch and had seven TDs. In Week 8, coming out of their bye, the Titans used Jackson a bit on offense, and he got at least one carry in three consecutive games. He doesn’t have an NFL catch, but they targeted him on the fourth-down that effectively ended the game in Arizona. I don’t love an offense that needs a guy from the other unit to provide a jolt, but the Titans certainly need a jolt. They should get him in there some.JacksonOffensePIT

Escorted runs and option plays for Marcus Mariota: The Titans used the term early in the season when they used some smartly-designed plays that allowed him to run, but also gave him a lead blocker or two who helped minimize the danger. Where have these

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There are a lot of dizzying elements to the 2017 Titans.

One is the ever-circular debate about execution versus scheme.

As he does with virtually everything, Delanie Walker did very well in addressing it.

It’s been clear since Mike Mularkey took over as interim coach during the 2015 season that players love him for his message, his honesty and his approach. He's glued a team together, and that is no small thing. But he's left an awful lot of room for debate about an anemic, out-of-sync offense that needs to show a lot more life if the Titans are to spring an upset Saturday in Kansas City.WalkerOAK

A few weeks ago, Rishard Matthews spoke about the Titans' predictability.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Terry Robiskie's weekly press sessions get more and more compelling as he doesn't hold back about what he thinks or why the Titans offense operates as it does.

In that, there are usually some doozies.

This week's included that Derrick Henry, who rated his performance against the Jaguars as soft, was good on Sunday, when he managed a 66-yard screen TD but ran 28 times for a 1.8-yard average.

"I thought he did pretty good Sunday, I thought he did pretty good, did some good things," Robiskie said. "Obviously the touchdown was a hell of a play for us, that was a good one for us. The 28 carries, of course he got tagged a few times. There we a couple holes that he missed, a couple cracks that I would have hit.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marcus Mariota suffered hamstring and knee injuries during the course of the season and may still have issues resulting from last year’s broken fibula.

It’s affected both the way the Titans call run plays for him and the scrambling he’s done.

Whether injuries are bothering him or not, he set them aside Sunday and found his way to 10 carries for 60 yards, mostly on scrambles. His two excellent third-down conversions late helped the Titans hold on to a playoff-clinching 15-10 win over Jacksonville.MariotaStiffJags

“We’re at that point right now where every man needs to do whatever he can, whatever it takes to make this thing go,” Mularkey said, responding to a question about measuring running Mariota versus protecting him as the Titans head into the postseason.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The long-awaited volume-carry game for Derrick Henry arrived on Sunday against the Jaguars.

And it was a disaster.

Henry made one huge play for the Titans, taking a screen pass 66 yards for the game’s only offensive touchdown.

But against the NFL’s 21st-ranked run defense and against a team he had Week 2 success against (14 carries for 92 yards and a TD), he struggled badly.

Twenty-eight carries for 51 yards. That’s a 1.8-yard average.MariotaHenryHandoffJags 1

Rare were the instances where he had room. But that’s where a back has to take what he can get. Instead, Henry paused far too often in the backfield and got hit for losses.

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