NFL set to scale back preseason to two games, which would put Titans at home vs. Giants, on road at Tampa

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The NFL preseason is being scrunched, with the first and the fourth week erased from the schedule, per reports from ESPN and PFT.

The intention is for every team to play once at home and once on the road while the league sorts through the coronavirus pandemic.

That means the Titans trip to Washington for a game on Aug. 15 would be off as would be the Bears' visit to Music City on Sept. 3. The Titans are scheduled to be home against the Giants in the second week of the preseason and at the Buccaneers in the third week.

A later report from NFL Media said the NFLPA has not signed off and some leadership would like for there to be no preseason games, a set up it's hard to imagine the league falling in line with.TitansDoubleLogo

The rationale for eliminating the first game is largely that, after teams had no time on the field throughout the offseason, it will take them longer to get up to speed and into full football condition after starting camp, which for most teams including Tennessee will begin on July 29. [Unlocked.]

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Media at Titans' camp: A pool reporter proposal

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Among the slew of unknowns pertaining to NFL training camps, still slated to open in late July, is whether there will be any potential for media access.

I’m holding out hope that reporters will be allowed to observe practices from a distance so that we can share details and develop storylines, even as our conversations with Mike Vrabel and his players would still very likely take place via Zoom.VrabelInterviewed

But I don’t expect we will get a vantage point for camp practices. If we do, I worry it could be from a public broadcast feed from quite a distance.

While there is certainly a long list of issues facing the Titans and their NFL brethren as they sort through the complications of running their operations amid COVID-19, I’m going to shock you and say media access should not immediately be placed at the bottom of the NFL's list.

Careful and thorough consideration of this issue is not unimportant here.

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Unknowns: Isaiah Wilson's opening night readiness

Unknowns: Isaiah Wilson's opening night readiness

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the days since the Titans wrapped their remote offseason work, we'll examine some issues that didn’t get a great deal of resolution given no time on the field…

Will Isaiah Wilson be ready for opening day?

A first-round pick needs to be in the opening day lineup. But an off-season squashed by COVID-19 paired with a somewhat unrefined right tackle combined with a capable veteran on the roster could create a situation where Wilson isn’t in the Titans lineup in Denver on Sept. 14.Wilson2

(Photo courtesy Georgia athletics.)

If the season starts on schedule but the preseason is reduced to two preseason games as has been widely speculated, it's possible we could see Dennis Kelly at the start of the season.

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Titans' administrative growth is a significant development and here's why

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It’s about football, of course.

Like all NFL franchises, the Titans are broken into football and non-football.

When Burke Nihill became team president and CEO in May, he said the business side of the operation needs to know that “football is the singular priority.”

That sounds obvious, but people who are really good at their jobs on the non-football jobs, and some who aren’t, can lose focus on that mission.

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Under Amy Adams Strunk the Titans' football side is faring pretty well, coming off an appearance in the AFC Championship Game.

But for the entire operation to be successful, it needs effective marketing, presentation, legal work and all sorts of behind the scenes work.

Strunk continues to catch her team up with more modern franchises.

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Mail: COVID plans, Jonnu Smith expectations, stadium signage and more

Mail: COVID plans, Jonnu Smith expectations, stadium signage and more

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Greetings all. I'm happy to visit with you and talk about some of the things on your mind.

Barring news in the coming week, I'll probably do a Periscope/Facebook Live and a podcast, but otherwise lay low and clear my head during a furlough from The Midday 180.

I'm planning on taking the boy and some friends to a waterfall, to get him some swings and keep him working on throwing strikes, maybe take him fishing if I can figure out what I am doing while I also try to unplug from the news.

The NFL is considering expanding practice squads to as many as 16.

That will certainly help, but I don’t think loading up with inexperienced players is a sufficient solution. I think there needs to be a COVID-19 reserve list that functions separately of NFI and PUP – lists that are in play as players report -- and IR.TitansSparkleHelmet

And I think there needs to be an option for cap relief. It’s not as if there are a load of quality veterans out there. But if the coronavirus puts a team in position to want to go sign Logan Ryan or Everson Griffen, it seems fair to me that it be easier for it to do so if they have lost someone at the corresponding position where a player has exposed a position group to the virus.

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Dean Pees had fun scheming pressure with Mike Vrabel, now Titans need to finish more

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – During Mike Vrabel’s two years leading the Titans, the defense has failed to sack the quarterback consistently enough.

In 2018, it recorded 39 sacks, 16th in the NFL, led by Jurrell Casey’s seven (tied for 38th in the NFL).

In 2019, it recorded 43 sacks, 13 in the NFL, led by Harold Landry’s nine (tied for 22nd.)

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Much of my banter with Vrabel over those two seasons has concerned sacks and gone something like this...

Me: You should value sacks more.

Him: You put too much stock in sacks. We affect the quarterback in a lot of ways. Get your nose out of the stats sheet.

Me: But what if you got a guy who can sack the quarterback?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Retired Titans defensive coordinator leaves a hole in the Titans coaching staff and some intrigue about how Mike Vrabel will work things in his absence considering no one now carries Pees’ old title.

Vrabel recently said Shane Bowen will be the lead voice for the defense when the head coach isn’t in the meeting room or with the defense on the field, but still did not say that he will call the defense, though that is what I have now long presumed.PeesSkype

In an hour interview with The Midday 180, Jonathan Hutton and I had a chance to ask Pees about how often Vrabel jumped in to make a call over the last two years and how he envisions things might go now. [Unlocked]

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Unknowns: Who gets Tajae Sharpe's role with the Titans?

Unknowns: Who gets Tajae Sharpe's role with the Titans?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the days since the Titans wrapped their remote offseason work, we'll examine some issues that didn’t get a great deal of resolution given no time on the field…

Who takes on Tajae Sharpe’s snaps?SharpeTDBucs

Sharpe was a pretty good fourth receiver for the Titans. He had 25 catches for 329 yards with a career-best 13.2-yard average and a career-high four touchdowns.

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