NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On his 34th birthday, Ryan Tannehill pulled on his red practice jersey and took the field for the first official practice of his fourth Titans training camp.

The deep scar and wound he discussed from the devastating three-interception performance in the team’s divisional-round loss to Cincinnati as the AFC’s No. 1 seed in January that sent him to therapy may still be present.

But he’s worked through it and is on to the clean slate that comes with a new season.

Ryan Tannehill

© George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY

It’s a crucial one for a player who’s led his team to a 30-13 regular season record and three playoff appearances since taking over as the starter during the 2019 season. That's success. But what he's done from there is not, as he was in the background of two playoff wins and failed to step forward when needed in three losses.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bud Adams, the founder of the Houston Oilers/Tennessee Titans who was instrumental in the creation of the AFL and its merger with the NFL, did not make the cut from semifinalist to finalist for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s coach/contributor category.

Bud Adams

© George Walker IV / The Tennessean via Imagn Content Services, LLC

I didn't think he was getting into the Hall this year, but I thought for sure he’d garner enough support to earn one of the 12 spots in the cutdown from 29, which was the semifinal total because of ties in the trim from 37.

The other 11 members of the coach/contributor committee clearly disagreed with me on Adams and on the franchise’s pioneering scout, C.O. Brocato, who also failed to make the cut.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mike Vrabel and his staff have elevated the play of a lot of players on the Titans during his four seasons at the helm of the team.

And the coach’s swagger suggests he feels he can get the job with just about anyone he gets with the right composition.

Mike Vrabel

That fits right in with a theme he struck during his pre-camp press conference on Tuesday when he answered a question about whether the team has gotten more talented around Ryan Tannehill on offense going into the 2022 season.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Mark Howard, who spent 16 years as the co-host of “The Wake Up Zone” on 104.5 The Zone after working as a sports anchor at News Channel 5, passed away Sunday at his Bellevue area home in Nashville.

He was 65.

Mark Howard and Terry Crisp

Mark Howard with Terry Crisp, courtesy of the Predators Foundation.

Howard was a very popular host and with good cause – he was an encyclopedia of sports knowledge with a good sense of humor, willing to laugh at himself. He grew up in Connecticut which split his sports allegiances. He was a die-hard fan of the Yankees and Giants but also of the Bruins.

He was a graduate of Ithaca University.

I’m sure obituaries will more sufficiently cover his background.

I just wanted to touch on what Mark meant to me.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- One last open weekend before camp starts, so I asked for your pre-camp questions to stuff a mailbag.

Titans Graffiti

I think we did pretty well, so here is your weekend read.

David Jackson What do you think happens next year if we make playoffs and RT has a rebound statistically, looks better, but isn’t successful in the playoffs? But because we were in the playoff hunt we never got to take a look at Willis.

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Titans Training CampNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans rookies report for training camp on Saturday, veterans on Tuesday and they all will be on the field for the first practice of training camp on Wednesday.

One of the most popular questions I get at this time of year is about how players are paid during camp.

They don’t start to collect on their base salaries until regular season games are played.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the Mike Vrabel era, there have not been many real training camp battles for starting spots.

As camp opens next week that should be different, though I will be surprised if many of the favorites wind up losing out.

Treylon Burks

Treylon Burks/ © George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Let’s take a look at the fights we expect to see, ranked in the order of legitimacy of competition.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Aside from the concerns about the personnel at receiver and on the offensive line and questions about Derrick Henry, the primary question analysts pose about the Titans in 2022 is a familiar one.

Last year’s team did exceedingly well in close games, and the expectation for teams that do well in close games in a given season is that they will regress to the mean the following season.Titans Logo

I’m no statistician and I can’t sort through all the tendencies here.

But I have evidence to suggest that while Tennessee may be a worse football team this year, it won’t be because it forgets how to execute and succeed in close games.

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