Podcast: The Titans' New Kicker, New Bears And New Youth

The Paul Kuharsky PodcastNASHVILLE, Tenn. --  Nick Folk makes field goals from 40 yards and in. He tried 60 in the last four years for New England, and he made all 60.

So the Titans should feel great about their new kicker in that department.

He was also 36 of 40 from 40-49 and 12 of 17 from 50 and over.

But Folk will turn 39 on Nov. 5. His kickoff leg has been poor for the last four years when his punter has not handled the duties, with just a 12.2 percent touchback rate. Also, oddly, he missed 11 extra points.

He spoke on Thursday about these issues, and that's where we begin this week's edition of the podcast.

The new episode awaits you on Apple, Spotify, Google Podcasts, TuneIn, iHeart and YouTube, which is also embedded below.

Other subjects I dive into:

💥 The two new veteran additions on defense from Chicago.
💥 The five undrafted players who made the 53-man roster.
💥 Monty Rice's odd situation.
💥 Dillon Radunz quickly growing in importance.
💥 Two guys the Titans wanted and didn't get.

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To Access Thomas Odukoya From Practice Squad, Titans Have To Sacrifice Exemption

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Thomas Odukoya is on the Titans practice squad, but he's still earmarked as an international exemption which means he's not eligible to be called up.

That means he's the 17th player on their practice squad. Their original list included 15 others, and not Cade York, the former Cleveland kicker who's reportedly on his way.

That designation means Odukoya is ineligible to be called up to play in games. He is  also frozen with the team, as he is not allowed to sign with another franchise.


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Deep Analysis Of The Titans' 52-Man Roster from Mike Herndon

Deep Analysis Of The Titans' 52-Man Roster from Mike Herndon

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The 2023 Tennessee Titans officially cut down from 90 to 53 players along with the rest of the NFL on Tuesday. I want to hit on a couple of overarching thoughts before we drill down into the roster and discuss some of the biggest decisions that Mike Vrabel and Ran Carthon made at each position.

First, the team kept 11 rookies on the initial 53-man roster. That’s just over 20 percent of the roster made up of first-year players. It’s not quite as high as the Bucs (13) or Rams (14), but it’s certainly towards the top of the league in that category.

Kearis Jackson
Kearis Jackson made the Titans' initial 53-man roster/ Angie Flatt

That 11 included all six draft picks along with five undrafted players. That speaks to the lack of depth that we’ve talked about all offseason. Yes, some of these undrafted players made an impact in camp and preseason to earn a roster spot, but there was also plenty of opportunity available at the back of this roster for Kearis Jackson, Caleb Murphy, Otis Reese, Anthony Kendall, and Matthew Jackson to win a job.

Last season, only the Bears – who would go on to finish with the league’s worst record – started the season with five or more undrafted

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Titans' Cut Review and Fresh Depth Chart

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Thoughts on the Titans' initial 53-man roster, and depth charts built out of it. 

💥 Five undrafted rookies, four on D: LB Otis Reese IV, CB Anthony Kendall, OLB Caleb Murphy, S Matthew Jackson, WR Kearis Jackson.

Reese surprised me the most. I felt Mike Vrabel’s affection for him but I did not see him pop. 

Racey McMath
  WR Racey McMath failed to make the cut/ Photo courtesy Tennessee Titans 

Kendall may have outplayed Eric Garror on special teams, but Garror seemed to be more of a playmaker on defense. Special teams are a big factor for the fifth or sixth corner, depending on how you’re counting Elijah Molden, who’s the dime.

Matthew Jackson kept showing up as a punt return team gunner, and the Titans aren’t going to waste those snaps in [Unlocked]

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Titans' Treylon Burks Looks Smooth In Return To Practice

Treylon BurksNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- If Treylon Burks can do what he did Monday, 12 days after suffering an LCL strain after a several-step stumble took him to the ground following a deep-ball catch in Eagan, Minn., there is plenty of cause to expect he can be ready in 13 more days to play in New Orleans.

Burks took part in most of the receivers' individual period at practice under the guidance of Rob Moore, looking pretty smooth and comfortable without a brace or sleeve on his left knee.

At one point he leaped high to one hand a ball over a tackling dummy and an assistant holding two high padded arms that a pass had to clear. [Unblocked]

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Titans' 53-Man Roster Prediction With Surprises at Running Back, Tight End

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Here's my stab at the Titans' initial 53-man roster.

I have an inkling they will be light at tight end to start, but I'm not sure where that makes them heavy. I went with an extra wide receiver considering the injuries. I also factored in a forgotten running back, though we have no idea about the severity of the knee injury he suffered in the preseason opener. 

Kyle Peko
Kyle Peko accepts congratulations/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

Quarterbacks (3) -- Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis, Will Levis.

Yes, there was great progress from Willis and yes it's still early. I still don't have a lot of faith in Willis but it's still relatively early. This is as much about next year as it is this year. If things unfold where they move on from Tannehill, maybe they have starter and backup in Levis and Willis. [Unlocked]

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Scout's Take: Titans' Malik Willis Lacks Pocket Awareness, But He Has to Make It

Scout's Take: Titans' Malik Willis Lacks Pocket Awareness, But He Has to Make It

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Malik Willis has shown improvements in his game but with the extended playtime over the past two weeks, he has also shown how much further he still must go to be a solid backup quarterback in the NFL.

Malik Willis
Malik Willis/ Courtesy Tennessee Titans

Willis has very good athletic ability, arm strength and a quick release, which are all very good traits for any level quarterback.
But Willis still lacks pocket awareness and patience in the pocket, he gets uncomfortable in the pocket and flushes himself even when the pass rush hasn’t dictated it. 

With his vision and coverage-reading ability, Willis missed a vertical go-route on his fourth pass of the game. Colton Dowell was open by two steps on the left side of the offense. On the same play, Chris Moore was open in the middle of the field. He didn’t attempt the throw to either receiver, instead, he flushed himself up in the pocket and to his right for a sack. The offensive line had great protection on that play.

The maturation continues.  

Best things I saw [Unlocked]

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Titans, Malik Willis Rout Starter-less Patriots in Preseason Finale

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans hammered the Patriots Friday night at Nissan Stadium, 23-7 in a game that wasn’t nearly that close and didn't feature a single New England starter.

And Malik Willis, vying to solidify the backup quarterback job, did some quality work along the way engineering a 368-yard effort that included 211 passing yards during which the Titans held the ball for 38 minutes and 38 seconds. 

Julius Chestnut
  Julius Chestnut scores/ Angie Flatt

He hit Julius Chestnut and Kearis Jackson with scoring passes.

He also, unfortunately, threw two interceptions, one a low attempt behind Josh Whyle that bounced off the tight end and caromed to linebacker Calvin Munson and another that hit Joe Giles-Harris in front of Mason Kinsey when it needed to go over the linebacker. It was an easy play for Giles-Harrison.

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