As their numbers are officially retired, remembering Steve McNair with Chris Chandler, Eddie George with Deja Voom

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans connect past and present through Mike Vrabel, who played with Eddie George at Ohio State and remembers putting a hit on Steve McNair in a playoff game.

The two best players of the Titans' era of the Oilers/Titans franchise were honored Wednesday with an announcement by Amy Adams Strunk that their numbers will be officially retired at the team’s home opener, on Sept. 15 against the Colts at Nissan Stadium.IMG 3801

The numbers have not been worn since George last played for the Titans on Jan. 10, 2004 in a heartbreaking playoff loss in New England and since McNair last played for the Titans on Christmas Eve of 2005.

They represent the best era of NFL football in Tennessee NFL football, and during their time as teammates, the team’s 80-48 record (.625) ranked third in the NFL behind only the Green Bay Packers’ 88-40 (.688) and the Denver Broncos’ 83-45 (.648).

In those eight years, the duo experienced only one losing season, 7-9 in 2001.

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Why Marcus Mariota's eggs are more important than you may think (it's not actually about eggs)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Reporters used to hang out at least once a week around the quarterbacks’ locker, and it wasn’t all notebooks and microphones. It certainly wasn’t all live streamed as a TV show.eggs

The official stuff would be over, the cameras would be down, the tape recorders off.

Then, as with some of the sorts of conversations that still exist with lower-profile players, sometimes even one-on-one, you could bullshit about stuff – the NBA finals, the success or failure of alma mater, the headlines in or out of the world of sports, a good restaurant, a funny joke or – even – the menu helping a guy who’s offseason focus was bulking up 12 or 13 pounds maintain the weight.

Player-reporter relationships aren’t like a typical office, but some of these conversations are actually like those that take place in a typical office.

The elevation of quarterbacks to once-a-week talkers who often hit bullet points, say as little as possible and get the hell out of dodge has decreased the opportunity for such connections in some places with some guys, certainly the Titans' private and reserved one.

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Looking at Marcus Mariota's most important snaps from minicamp Tuesday

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In June, Marcus Mariota is focused on competition not results and that’s a good approach for any team and any player at a stage of the offseason when there is no contact and no games.IMG 3637

He’s had good days, average and bad through OTAs and the Titans began to wrap the offseason with mandatory minicamp Tuesday, three days that could wind up being chopped to two.

As I’ve mentioned, the team periods now are minimal and focused largely on third down. The second focused predominantly on swing passes dump offs to running backs. But the first was more standard passing against the blitz, and Mariota’s segment wasn’t pretty.

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IMG 3540NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When the Titans kick off three days of minicamp Tuesday before shutting down until training camp, they are likely to operate with a caution that has crept into a lot of operations around the NFL.

In OTAs, Mike Vrabel scaled back some of the team periods, sacrificing some 11-on-11 time and using those periods for more seven-on-seven passing periods (no linemen) while the guys in the trenches worked on their own with their position coaches.

That will continue in minicamp, which could well be chopped to two days.

There will be an overall emphasis on third down and not much if any run game work, as it means little give all that context. It’s better saved for training camp when there will be thudding in pads. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While A.J. Brown is available to practice in the Titans’ minicamp starting Tuesday and will do some work, the team will hold him out of team periods to be cautious.

Brown pulled up with an apparent hamstring issue early in an OTA session last Tuesday. Then offered an optimistic tweet a bit later.

The Titans do not have a great history with receivers and offseason hamstrings and clearly want to ensure Brown will be completely fit when the team reassembles for training camp in late July. [Unlocked]AJBrown1

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I hope your summer is going well. Greetings from New Jersey, where I'm with my parents and siblings for a couple of days but remain dedicated to you and provide this mailbag.

Please catch the podcast with Rodger Saffold, which is a good listen and available to all.

Mariota3INDPK: This was not specifically for me, I don't think, but I'm not too proud to pretend, Mike.

I don’t have a bright line for this – but he’s not going to throw 30 TDs and five picks the way one respondent to your Tweet [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As transformers go, Rodger Saffold needs to be a top one for the Titans.

The new left guard is expected to combine with Taylor Lewan to make for a major strength for Tennessee, paving the way for Derrick Henry and Derrick Lewis and making sure Marcus Mariota doesn't have issues from his blindside.

Saffold was kind enough to spend 30 minutes chatting with me about the increased value of internal pressure in today's NFL, and the increased value in stopping it. We also talked about his ownership of esports team Rise Nation, growing up on the same street as the girl he'd grow up to marry and the pain that results for a man his size -- and his seatmates -- when he gets stuck in a middle seat on a Los Angeles to Tampa flight.PodcastYazooArtSquare

This week's episoide is unlocked, so you can just head below the line. You can also find it on it on Apple Podcasts, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here

You can find the history of this site's podcasts right here.

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Harold Landry needs to steer away from his best move for it to work better

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Harold Landry knows he can burn the edge and get to the quarterback in the NFL. He also knows it doesn’t work all the time and he needs more variation.

So how does a young pass rusher developing an expanded pool of moves convince himself to go away from the thing that got him to the NFL in order to make that thing more effective?LandrySackEagles

“Guys, I think, have to be willing to use new moves that we practice in individual, when we go to the team periods, when we put pads on in training camp, whatever that may be, even if it doesn’t work,” Mike Vrabel said. “A great example of that, and I know he’s not here, Whitney Mercilus would do that."

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