Sorting through a Titans' practice with Dave McGinnis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sunday I watched the Titans practice with former NFL coach Dave McGinnis, who’s heading into his second year as the color analyst for Titans Radio.

Here are the highlights of the things he pointed out along the way.

Mugging the A gaps – McGinnis watches the early walk-through before stretch. It’s typically corrections from the most recent game or what was installed the night before.

This time it was backers joining defensive linemen inside and putting pre-snap thoughts into the heads of the guards and center. Would more than one defender try to fight through the gap between the center and guard, and if not who would drop off?

That led us to discuss Jurrell Casey’s permanent move to the 3-technique spot. Casey told me Saturday that he won’t be bouncing around to different spots on the line.McGinnis

He’ll always be over the outside shoulder of a guard, he just may flip from side to side. McGinnis said that is the hardest spot to double team, as the tackle typically has a rusher to his outside, and the center is on the other side of where Casey will initially attack the guard.

Casey has great lower-body flexibility which most guards can’t match, and that gives him a chance at immediate pressure.

Bogeys: Throughout practice, McGinnis pointed out bogeys by the defensive backs, pre-snap looks converting into something different to complicate reads for quarterbacks and their targets. He said it’s always been a strength of Dean Pees defenses.

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pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Our very first indication of what the Titans defense would be under Mike Vrabel was "front multiplicity and coverage consistency."

But we learned one key piece of that front will be planted in one spot doing his thing, not moving around as he did in the past.IMG 3589 2

Jurrell Casey made a surprise visit to our Facebook Live/ Periscope Saturday afternoon and it came up in our short discussion.

I asked him about his personal goals for the season.

"I've got to get back to double-digit (sacks)," he said. "I'm an all-time 3-technique from here on out, so I've just got to get back to it. Last year I was everywhere. I played 3-technique, 5-technique, played 6, played 4i. This year I can play my ground, play what I am going to do."

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Fruitlessly trying to learn why we can't even have a hint of what's wrong with Rashaan Evans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Whether you’re a cranky reporter like me or a fan completely bought into the new Titans’ regime, it’s ridiculous that we haven’t seen or heard anything about Rashaan Evans since he left the field injured on July 28thIMG 3586 4

Mike Vrabel has assumed total control on injury information and everyone is scared to death of him on it: Players, agents, coaches, families and most o the press. It’s an impressive seal of the injury lid, hard to accomplish in the midst of how virtually everything gets out.

I have not been on a mission to find it out. Generally speaking, I concede and have moved on. With a brief break from that Saturday, I guess.

After this long with Evans, it’s a disservice to him – as people start to speculate he’s soft – and a disservice to fans – to whom he was marketed as a big addition to and solution for the defense.

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By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans opening drive for a touchdown was just what the team had hoped for in its preseason opener in Green Bay.

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A big third-down conversion kept the drive alive.  Even though on that play Marcus Mariota missed a crossing Taywan Taylor who was running free and open but chose to make a tough throw to Nick Williams.

The completion to Williams did keep the drive alive and led to a score.  the first drive of the game: Josh Kline missed his run block on the first play of the game and Quinton Spain was beaten on an inside run with the ball inside the 5-yard line; Dion Lewis had a very good blitz pickup on the touchdown pass to Darius Jennings; Marcus Mariota escaped too quickly twice from the pocket for limited gains; Derrick Henry ran well, looked smooth and powerful; Taywan Taylor was knocked off balance on a fade route in the red-zone by the contact from press coverage from rookie cornerback Josh Jackson. 

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Something on everybody from the Titans' 31-17 loss to the Packers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- How about those penalties? They really sped up that beauty, huh?

I watched the Titans drop their preseason opener 31-17 in Green Bay and stayed up til 4 to try to give you at least something on everyone who played.

Please offer feedback.

3 K Austin Barnard – Hit four respectable kickoffs of 64, 66, 70 and 60 yards. Put each of his two punts inside the 20. Also hit the extra point on the Titans’ late touchdown.

4 K Ryan Succop – Hit a 23-yard second-quarter field goal that put the Titans up 10-7.

6 K Brett Kern – Hit two punts for 88 yards, one inside the 20. Held for all three placekicks.

7 QB Blaine Gabbert –Took over the offense on the second series. Average in his first time in a Titans’ uniform, with nine of 15 passing for 76 yards but nothing longer than 20.

8 QB Marcus Mariota – Let Nick Williams do the work for the bulk of his 42 passing yards, taking a short pass for a 38-yard gain. Also ran once for 7 yards. Left the pocket a bit quickly on the second play, when the only real sign of pressure was from Reggie Gilbert from the left edge and he wasn’t close. Taylor Lewan wound up riding him past where Mariota would have been if he’d been more patient.

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Beddingfield: How Titans are scouting roster heading into preseason opener

Party Fowl Online Ads 01By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The beginning of training camp is an exciting time for a front office and the personnel department. This is the first time a scouting staff will get to see their new players in game conditions.

The personnel department for the Tennessee Titans as well as most NFL teams will be interested in getting a game day look and view of their draft choices and some of the more prominent undrafted free agents from this 2018 class.BlakeBeddingfieldGlasses

The 2018 draft choices for the Titans -- Harold Landry, Dane Cruikshank and Luke Falk -- will all get long looks during the first preseason game. Rashaan Evans, unfortunately, will not play in this game due to injury that’s only delaying his development.

It is important to evaluate players in practice but to see them against opponents and under the lights in a real game setting is crucial. 

Creating matchups during the game is a big part of the evaluation process, it is not beneficial to see Landry go against a backup offensive tackle that will not make an NFL roster, it is imperative that he get meaningful reps versus a starting offensive tackle or at least a top backup to see how he can handle the competition against a top-level player.

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Party Fowl Online Ads 01 1NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- PaulKuharsky.com will have two extra posts a week and like everything already on the site, it will be content unlike anything you can get anywhere else.BlakeBeddingfieldMenu

Blake Beddingfield was a scout for the Titans for 19 years, and when his time with the team ended in 2017 he had finished the final six as the team's director of college scouting.

He will offer a scouting preview of every game -- starting Thursday in advance of the Titans' preseason opener at Green Bay. And he will provide us with a day-after-the-game review from a scouting perspective.

He'll post the questions a scout has heading into each game and he'll tell us what was answered, what wasn't and what new stuff is a concern.

He's been a guest of The Midday 180, he's done a podcast with me and we announced his role here in a Periscope and Facebook Live.

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Before his first preseason game as a head coach, a Mike Vrabel review

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The injury secrecy is extreme and, in many cases, unnecessary.

But with the Titans set to take off for Green Bay this afternoon and roughly two weeks of work in the bank, it’s good to pause to review what we’ve seen and heard from Mike Vrabel beyond that.IMG 3196 1

I think he’s been great.

He had a real knack for noticing little stuff in the moment that is hard for even very good coaches, simply because they are visually sorting through 22 guys on every play. But when the Titans are not playing hurry-up, there is no telling who he will walk toward with a correction or a compliment after a play. I often feel like he’s got All-22 vision, though he’s said he picks specific stuff to watch on specific plays.

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