pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When we last saw Tajae Sharpe as part of the Titans’ regular season roster, he was a rookie starting wide receiver.

Given that workload, he wasn’t asked to play any special teams.

Ideally, for the Titans now in his third year, he’d be the fourth receiver at best. And the fourth wide receiver needs to play on special teams.

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Sharpe isn’t the only guy adjusting to a new request.

Second-round pick Harold Landry will surely start Saturday in Pittsburgh on defense, but he may still get special-teams work.

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Party Fowl Online Ads 01By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The most important game for the players, coaches and personnel department has arrived.

It is time for the team to focus now on players that will be healthy and prepared to play in Week 1 On Sept. 9 against the Miami Dolphins.

Positions that are set going into Week 1 of the regular season: Quarterback, running back, tight end, offensive line, cornerback, specialists.BlakeBeddingfieldGlasses

Positions that need to be finalized this week: Receiver starters and depth, defensive line depth and rotations, inside linebacker starters, outside linebacker starters, safety depth.

Rishard Matthews will need time before he is healthy and can contribute for this team. Even if he is ready to play in the opener, he will only be able to play limited snaps. 

Corey Davis must produce right now and Taywan Taylor is going to play an increased role.

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TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans receiver Rishard Matthews is working his way back from a torn meniscus but could be in line to come off PUP as early as next week, sources told PaulKuharsky.com.

He’s not alone in his recovery from the knee procedure as Derrick Morgan suffered a similar injury against Tampa Bay on Aug. 18.

Morgan could have a chance at being ready for the season opener in Miami on Sept. 9 but it appears to be less likely he can return in that span. Another person with knowledge of the injury said it could be a four-to-five week recovery.

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Matthews’ surgery was performed in the first week of August, while Morgan's was recent. He played16 snaps on defense and one on special teams Saturday night against the Buccaneers at Nissan Stadium.

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YAZOO podcast stripeNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We've got two preseason games and about two and a half weeks between us and truly meaningful football.

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In this week's edition of the podcast, Madison Blevins guided me through a conversation about Titans injuries including Rashaan Evans status and the contingency plans if he's not ready, yet another example of modest Marcus Mariota and the weird contract extension for Rishard Matthews.

Part 1, like podcast versions of my public Periscope and Facebook Lives, will be available through iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes.

If you're a member of the site, Part 1 and Part 2 are together, and all you have to do is head below the line. 

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TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Chad Withrow, inventor of the “Let's Bang Hats” slogan on The Midday 180 ,recently sparked an idea when he said he’d run here to read a piece ranking the Titans by smartest to least smart.

Not eager to make (more) enemies and admitting I don’t have a full read on everyone’s intelligence, I spun the idea into something a bit different, talking to 38 guys in the locker room and asking them who the smartest guy in their positional meetings rooms is.

Some of the results were surprising, some predictable.

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I had only two guidelines for the question. 1) Guys couldn’t vote for themselves. 2) When they asked if I meant football smart or book smart or street smart I told them they got to define smart for themselves.

I skipped quarterbacks. I’m thinking Marcus Mariota would have won it and a three-man position group wasn’t enough to work with.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While Rashaan Evans did re-emerge to a new degree at Titans’ practice on Wednesday, early reported allowed people to believe he was really back.

And he’s not.EvansIntro1

Evans stretched with the team and did a little work, but it was very little and he was basically pulled out.

“Todd (Toriscelli, the team's director of sports medicine) does a great job with the return-to-play," Mike Vrabel said. "He starts them out with a jog-through, then we go into individual, and if they are feeling OK and doing OK with whatever they are working through, then we give them more. If he doesn't, then Todd pulls them back out of there.

“Rashaan wasn’t feeling great after individual, so we’ll give him some more treatment and will give him some more time. And hopefully, as soon as he’s ready, we’ll get him back out there.”

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TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Rishard Mathews and Delanie Walker both recently got contract extensions and when they are both healthy and back on the field they will get plenty of looks from Marcus Mariota.

But without Matthews for all of camp and without Walker for both games and the last small stretch of practice, Mariota’s often been left to look for someone else to rely on.TaylorSmile2Tampa

And Taywan Taylor’s been showing him and the Titans' coaches that he’s now a dependable, explosive player.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – If Rishard Matthews’ contract extension was particularly noteworthy, I’d say it was awfully hard to see that one coming, and that it qualified as an awfully big leap of faith.

But it’s an incredibly one-sided, team-friendly deal. It’s odd.

That’s a team option for an additional year in 2019 for a $2.75 million raise. Per Yates this year and next also include potential new money of close to $11 million in roster bonuses, incentives and performance escalators. This year's new money could total $1.375 million.

Even with that, Matthews can’t be celebrating much of a win.

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