NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The scenario is incredibly unlikely and it takes a good bit of luck to come to fruition. But you’ve also got to be prepared for it.

The Titans were Sunday at Nissan Stadium, and it was one of the reasons they pulled off a 33-30 win over the Jags in front of seven fans, zero paid.

KaluSquibJags2020b(Screenshot from CBS)

The Jaguars had closed to 21-10 with 15 seconds before intermission and Josh Lambo banged a squib kickoff as is the custom in such circumstances: Force a non-returner to field the ball, eliminating the risk of a return for a score, leaving the opponent with a Hail Mary chance or, more likely, an opportunity to take a knee and head in for halftime.

But Josh Kalu was coached to watch for a chance to make a play on such a kick, and he did. Central on the front line of the Titans' kick return team, he knocked the ball down and recovered it, got his head up and gained 2 yards.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Vic Beasley’s chances to prove he’s been worth the hassle will not start Sunday at Nissan Stadium.

The outside linebacker who missed all of camp after a 10-day unexcused absence and a stay on the Non-Football Injury list is listed as questionable (knee), but he is not going to play against the Jaguars in the Titans’ second game of the season.


There appeared to be cause for optimism this week as Beasley was limited Wednesday and then was a full participant in practices on Thursday and Friday.

The Titans signed Beasley to a one-year, $9.5 million guaranteed contract as their biggest outside free agent move and he attended offseason Zoom meetings with the team and extra one-on-one sessions with Shane Bowen.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Happy day before the home opener, which I know feels nothing like the day before the opener for a lot of you who would typically tailgate and be at Nissan Stadium.TitansMural

But there is still a game to watch and the small attendance for the next home opener to be excited about.

Here is this week's podcast. I urge you to listen.

On to the questions of the week.

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Scout's take: A strong feeling on the outcome of Jaguars-Titans

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A Jaguars’ team that was destined for the 2021 first pick in the NFL draft win its first game of the season.

Numbers from the first game vs. division opponent Indianapolis would indicate that the Colts won the game easily.

Total Yards: Colts 445, Jaguars 221. First downs: Colts 27, Jaguars 17.


But the big stat that the Jaguars won was turnover margin: 2-0

The Jaguars defense is built on speed and quickness…

Jacksonville attacked the Colts’ run game and their strong offensive line with movement along the defensive line and added extra defenders in the box. This was available because of the inability of QB Philip Rivers to run and use his legs against the fast-flowing defense. The other factor was the Colts do not threaten defenses downfield because of the lack of Rivers ability to consistently push the ball downfield anymore.

A big loss for the Jaguar defense is safety Jarrod Wilson who landed on the IR after the game with a hamstring injury. Wilson is a solid player with speed and cover ability and the Jags do not have a viable replacement.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Matt Pees left a quality control job after two years with the Titans for a high school coaching job in Ohio as his dad retired as defensive coordinator, he left DaQuan Jones in need.

The Titans defensive lineman needed to find himself a new early warmup guy.DJonesWarmupDEN2020

Stretchers, ladder-runners, band-stretchers and goal-post punchers make their way into the end zone the Titans have for pregame work in T-shorts and shorts, sometimes headphones and ball caps too.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Mike Vrabel is always aware of trends and developments and talking to his team about what’s going on.

A one-week sample size doesn’t ensure that holding is going to draw fewer flag this year, but out of a week’s worth of games the downturn was certainly dramatic.

Mike Vrabel said he thinks it’s more an anomaly at this point.

“We’ll see how it’s called, maybe everybody is just using a lot of good technique,” he said. “We just kind of have to focus on what they are calling and what they’ve kind of told us they are looking for in the past and kind of go from there.”


(Photo: George Walker, Tennessean via pool.)

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Scout's take: How the Titans deployed Jadeveon Clowney and Jeffery Simmons in Denver win

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans’ game plan on offense in Denver was to use the run with Derrick Henry to open up the passing game with play-action. This was the same offensive approach that the Titans had so much success with during their playoff run.

If it isn’t broken, don’t change it. Henry was effective with a high number of carries (31) and continued to show strength and endurance late in the game. He is a well-conditioned athlete and will wear down any defense.GoallineDEN2021

Ryan Tannehill was efficient at times, but also escaped a turnover when a bad pass and interception was overturned by a defensive personal foul call on Broncos linebacker Alexander Johnson.

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Some big problems aren't solved, but Titans start with a W in Denver

DENVER – They won, but perhaps we should never speak of it again anyway.

“We didn’t play the game we wanted,” Ryan Tannehill said.

The Titans eked out a 16-14 win over the Broncos, but it was a painstaking effort complete with two missed field goals sandwiched around another Stephen Gostkowski attempt that was blocked. He also missed an extra point.BroncosCutouts2020

Mike Vrabel saw fit to dress just three outside linebackers, and Jadeveon Clowney’s early impact dwindled as he and his mates seemed to tire. (“Getting back in shape is going to be the biggest thing,” he said.) Rashaan Evans threw a punch and got ejected in the first quarter, contributing to five penalties that gave away 37 yards and a first down.

I suppose this one goes in the basket with all the gritty wins where the team’s showed resolve, stuck with things and overcame adversity. The Titans sure lived dangerously against a team that is not that good and was missing its top pass rusher and receiver.

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