NFL words and actions don't match up when it comes to player safety

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Officiating has been a giant topic for Titans followers after a miserable performance by Jerome Boger and his crew in last Sunday’s season opener.

What we now know is the league, allegedly working hard on protecting players and preaching player safety, thinks both William Hayes’ hit on Marcus Mariota and Andre Branch’s hit on Taylor Lewan were not fine-worthy.


Hayes was not fined for his play, and Branch was fined $10,026, not for his hit, but for unsportsmanlike conduct after it.


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Marcus Mariota AND Blaine Gabbert?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Two important points regarding Mike Vrabel saying he anticipates playing both Marcus Mariota and Blaine Gabbert on Sunday against the Texans.

1) He has not, in a way I can recall, lied in a press conference. Smart coaches in the NFL know that while their relationship with the press can be a tug-of-war over decisions and information, that an outright lie simply kills an important two-way relationship.


He’s been honest with us and with me, and I do not believe for a second he’s lying here. As of Friday afternoon, he’s expecting to play both quarterbacks. I would think if the starter plays well and sustains it, that could change.

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Scout's take: 'If the Titans are going to have a pass rush, this is the week'

Scout's take: 'If the Titans are going to have a pass rush, this is the week'

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –  With the Jacksonville Jaguars on the horizon in Week 3, it is crucial for the Titans to fix their issues versus a division opponent in the Houston Texans.

The Titans offense will be without Delanie Walker for the remainder of the season. Without him, it is important to find a player or a position group that the Titans can rely on. 

Currently, that is the running back position.

With two quality backs in Dion Lewis and Derrick Henry, the Titans have two guys with different skill sets. It will be important to utilize their talents against that Texan defense.VrabelWatt

(Photo courtesy Houston Texans)

Lewis can take advantage of the aggressive pass rush of the Texans in the screen game and work to get him matched up with Bendarick McKinney the Texans big and powerful inside linebacker. 

The Texans would prefer to match Lewis vs. inside linebacker Zach Cunningham or a combination of safeties with Kareem Jackson or

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Minus Delanie Walker, how different will defensive coverage be?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – With the Titans ready to start life after Delanie Walker, I initially thought it would mean drastic changes in the coverage the offense faces.

But after talking with coaches, scouts and analysts, I’ve concluded things won’t be as different as I imagine.

Walker was unquestionably the Titans most threatening weapon, and he drew the most attention.WalkerThroatCIN

We tend to overestimate the frequency of the double teams he faced, however, as well as the number of guys in the league who warrant double teams.

I asked Mike Vrabel how often he goes into a game with the intention of double-teaming a guy throughout.

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NFL needs dramatic change to more transparent officiating


The cool-down period is over, the coaches have talked, the quarterbacks have spoken, players pulling on their ties and folding down their collars or sliding their feet into flip-flops have answered questions.

All of them are held to account.

Simultaneously, the officials clean themselves up and gather their things. But they leave the stadium in the shadows, answering for nothing.

The only way we hear from them is if a media member requests a pool report about something specific in the game.

And those are typically disasters, where tape recorders are stacked up and protocols are followed that all but ensure no meaningful answers. I resist asking for them, because a pool reporter has to waste his post-game in the name of nonsense.

We know the consequences of being poorly graded, in-house, are grades and rankings that can cost zebras playoff game assignments. But let’s say, hypothetically, officiating is poor league-wide. The best of the worst get the most important games and the worst of the worst have their season’s end early. There is pride involved there, and maybe money.

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NFL to Mike Vrabel: We want the hit on Marcus Mariota in Miami to be a penalty

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Last year the Titas failed to win the AFC South because of a failure in Miami, which was largely determined by an incomplete pass by Matt Cassel being ruled a fumble and getting returned for a touchdown.

We're a long way off from knowing the fate of the 2018 Titans, but it's possible they look back on a bad call in Miami messing them up again.

William Hayes third-quarter hit on Marcus Mariota that messed up his elbow should have been a penalty, the NFL told Mike Vrabel. Mariota said Hayes told him after the game he didn't mean to hit him low.

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Reviewing the debatable calls and no calls the Titans dealt with in Miami

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Referee Jerome Boger and his crew were overy influential in the Titans’ opening-day loss at Miami.

I don't like to put things on officiating, but it was increasingly bad and Boger lived up to his poor reputation.

Let’s review the main moments for him and his crew: umpire Bill Schuster, down judge Mike Carr, line judge Rusty Baynes, field judge Dale Shaw, side judge Jonah Monroe, back judge Tony Steratore and replay official John McGrath.

Game time: 10:29 left in the first quarter, no score.

Situation: Third-and-4 from the Miami 28.

IMG 4676What happened: Marcus Mariota threw deep into the left side of the end zone where Taywan Taylor was running with corner Bobby McCain. The defender tugged on Taylor’s arm as the two dived, but Taylor still had the ball in both hands and should have held on to it for a TD. There was no pass interference call and the Titans settled for a 47-yard field goal.

Vrabel said: “I thought the guy came early. I asked (down judge) Mike (Carr), I said, ‘Mike did you think?’ He said, ‘No, I thought it was bang, bang.’ And I thought the guy came early. But we have to do a better job of executing those and hitting some of those big plays when we get an opportunity.”


Game time: 14:01 remaining in the second quarter, Titans leading 3-0.

Situation: First-and-10 from the Miami 44.

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Brian Orakpo: 'The NFL is getting tougher and tougher to judge each and every year. I wonder how long this league is going to last, honestly'

Brian Orakpo: 'The NFL is getting tougher and tougher to judge each and every year. I wonder how long this league is going to last, honestly'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans botched plenty on their own in Miami, and simply didn’t play well enough to start the Mike Vrabel era with a win.

Generally, I want to steer clear of officiating complaints, as I am a believer that things even out. But they weren’t even and didn’t even out for Tennessee in Week 1.

Brian Orakpo said the way the NFL is now officiated has changed the way he plays.OrakpoProfile

“You used to err on more aggressive, but the one time you err on more aggressive you get called and it just ruins that possession and that is an automatic first down, tack another 15 and you not only put the team in a bind, you put the defense in a bind because now you have to play some more plays,” he said.

“It’s just a tough scenario, man. The NFL is getting tougher and tougher to judge each and every year. I wonder how long this league is going to last, honestly."

Orakpo said he loves the player safety but says the frequent calls hurt drives, possession, momentum.


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