Mailbag: Could a bad result for the Titans Monday mean a lost season?

Now for the mail.

TitansCeilingPK: Until they lose a game that pretty much knocks them out of the playoffs, it's not a lost season. People are very quick to declare. The Titans completely handled the Dolphins in Miami last year to drop the Dolphins to 2-4. Miami then won nine of 10 and went to the playoff. As for Marcus Mariota, the reason for him not to play at whatever percent, is if they believe there is enough of a risk for him to strain it worse.

PK: Some stories are but most are...

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Terry Robiskie's review of offense in Miami is not OK

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coaches are candid and direct and generally unafraid to be honest.

But offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie came up short Thursday when he was asked how he thought Matt Cassel did in Miami.IMG 2809

“I think Matt did pretty good,” Robiskie said. “Well, I shouldn’t say he did pretty good. I think he did OK, and I think the problem is, on our side of the ball, we all did OK and OK wasn’t good enough.”

We don’t want to overly parse words, but OK is misused here.

The Titans produced 10 points, converted two of 13 third downs, gained an average of 3.2 yards per play and a total of 188 net yards, lost two fumbles and committed 10 penalties and two more that were declined.

In total yardage, it was the fifth worst NFL performance of the season by my count.

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Titans Rishard Matthews says he'll quit NFL if anthem rule is changed

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Titans receiver Rishard Matthews has said since President Trump's Sept. 23 comments taking on NFL players protesting during the national anthem that he would kneel until there was an apology.

In three games since, the Titans collectively stayed in the locker room once and Matthews stayed in the locker room and emerged after the anthem twice.

He was asked on Twitter what he'd do if the NFL changed the rules.

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The tweet has since been deleted.

In 2016, Matthews signed a three-year, $15 million contract as a free agent, joining the Titans from Miami.

He's second on the Titans with 20 catches and first with 284 receiving yards.

There is an open locker room later Thursday afternoon and I'll try to follow up with him.

UPDATE, 4 p.m. CT: Matthews was not in the locker room during availability.

I support his right to protest, but I do find it odd that when he's gained chances to expound on things, he's often declined.

When he didn't come out of the locker room until after the anthem at Houston on Oct. 1, he said after the game he was only taking football questions.

He's free to do as he chooses, obviously. But when you skip the anthem or say you'll be done with football if the anthem rule changes, it would seem part of the reason for doing so is to be heard. And now at least twice, with a premium chance to be heard, he's had nothing to say.

It's kind of curious.

I'll look to ask him about that next time he does decide to talk.


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Corey Davis: When I get back, 'it's go time'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – An offense lacking much oomph could really benefit from the return of No. 5 overall pick Corey Davis, who’s been out the last three games with a hamstring injury and won’t play Monday night.

Indications from Mike Mularkey are that the receiver has a shot to return Oct. 22 at Cleveland. If not, the Titans then have a bye and he could return Nov. 5 against Baltimore.DavisOAK

His absence has been frustrating for all involved and Mularkey said Davis could give the Titans a boost in every phase of the passing game.

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Marcus Mariota 'absolutely' feels good about chance to play

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans sound more optimistic about Marcus Mariota for the Colts game Monday night than the did last week as the team prepared for a trip to Miami.IMG 2759

But it’ll be at least a couple days, and perhaps Monday, before we have a verdict on whether he’s back from a hamstring injury that knocked him out of the blowout loss in Houston on Oct. 1.

“He did more today than he did last week, so that was a good sign,” Mike Mularkey said. “…He’s got to be able to move around really pretty good to be able to play and not put himself in a position where he’s going to reinjure himself. He’s got to show that by the end of the week.”

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The best tips Titans have found while watching tape

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Coaches and players watch and watch. It’s not technically film, but it’s still a word they use often.

The mission: Find tendencies and tips.TitansWall

I’ve been asking guys in the Titans locker room about the best tips they every found and how they helped in game situations.

Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo: “Probably the head bob of a center. Centers can give away tendencies on when to get off. Every center has his own routine. Some look left and look right. Some bob. Some bob twice. That’s a good tip if you’re wanting to get a good BGO, ball get off.”

Defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, a Hall of Fame defensive back: “Every now and then I’d see a guy spit on his hands and rub

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Reconnecting to full emotions of fandom by suffering through US Soccer's failure

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- I root, far too hard, for seven-year-old soccer and baseball players.

My son and his best buds are an extraordinary bunch, just like your bunch, and I take great joy in watching them work together, learn, compete and succeed.

At 48, my life as a die-hard fan, jaded by over two decades as a sportswriter, has been boiled down to the bare minimum: U.S Soccer and the New York Yankees I grew up rooting for in Central New Jersey.WorldCuplogo

The two have collided in recent days, with crucial stakes for both. Yankees manager Joe Girardi ridiculously didn’t challenge a monumental call Friday night and his blunder led to a loss. They’ve recovered for two wins and could still advance to the ALCS Wednesday night in Cleveland.

The U.S. games Friday night and Tuesday night were even bigger, with World Cup qualification on the line. They won the first in magnificent fashion, a super 4-0 home win over Panama.

But the second one was one of the biggest disasters of my life as a sporting fan. I always try to be aware of recency bias and am generally hesitant to call what just happened the best or the worst.

But this was the worst.

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Titans will stay the course more than they will change

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There is a middle ground between “change everything” and “stay the course” and the Titans need to find it to get on track.ThirdDown

I need you to get yourself to a place where you can accept that they will lean a lot more toward stay the course.

The best moments for this team this season were the second halves of the wins at Jacksonville and over Seattle.

And the key to those second halves was sticking with it. I think that safely symbolizes the sort of mindset the Titans coaches will have Tuesday as they game plan and the players will have as that plan is installed.

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