NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The changed NFL world led to a 40-minute camp-opening Zoom press conference with Mike Vrabel where the first player question came three-fourths of the way through.

Welcome to corona camp, where veteran arrivals got tested Tuesday and went home. They will test again Wednesday and Friday and only after three negatives will they join rookies, quarterbacks and players who came back from early injuries inside team headquarters.VrabelJuly2820

Among last week’s early arrivals, first-round pick Isaiah Wilson is on the COVID-reserve list, which means he either has coronavirus or has been exposed to someone who has it. His stay on the list could be as little as five to 10 days, but if he’s exhibiting symptoms it will be longer. If he were to return quickly, Day 5 and 6, for veterans anyway, are for physicals, being assigned Kinexon proximity trackers and learning about how they work and getting fitted for equipment.

As of the posting of this, he’s not yet agreed to a contract.

The other piece of notable player news is that Jayon Brown starts out on the PUP list with an unknown injury.

Much of what Vrabel discussed was the mechanics of running a camp and a facility given the restrictions set forth by the NFL to limit the chance of spreading the virus. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While players did the best they could with individual and then, perhaps, small group workouts, the lack of OTAs and minicamp surely dented progress.

The absence of joint workouts and preseason games will be worse for rookies than for veterans, of course, and it’ll be worse for some veterans than others.


Here are the five Titans' veterans who I think stand to suffer the most from the NFL’s unusual August:

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One other Jadeveon Clowney consideration: His bearing on next year's salary cap

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Jadeveon Clowney’s very attractive for a team that loves the idea of front multiplicity and I think the Titans are well-positioned to land him somewhere in the next several weeks.

His ability to bounce around and fit all over can make him a matchup problem and the attention he draws will make things easier for a number of other guys along the front, from Harold Landry to Vic Beasley.Titans3logos

While the franchise must simultaneously consider the short term and the long term, I tend to argue on the side of worrying about now now, and later later. (General example: Hand Derrick Henry the ball now, worry about the effects of wear and tear later.)

Still, there is a potential downside to a Clowney contract we have not examined and is worth some discussion.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Good will be found in the results of coronavirus-adjusted sports.

Somewhere in what we are left with, will be stuff worth liking. And while it’s hard to have faith in management in much of it, wise leagues will listen to their fans and be responsive.BrushTitansFan

In 2021, the NFL preseason will be reduced from four games to three, to help keep the league at 20 total games as the regular season expands from 16 to 17 games.

But what if the NFL – and its fans -- realize that a season with zero preseason games season in 2020 (per multiple reports) is a fully functional model? Or at least show a reduction to one or two can easily work?

C’mon, pray the prayer and dream the dream with me.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – We repeatedly hear not just from their fans, but from some of the Titans themselves, about how they are underappreciated, under-represented and under-respected nationally.

In some respects, they have a fair case.

And in some, like one they put on full display Sunday, they do not.

NFL players worked together to get out a clear message as a group that while they want to get back to work when training camps are open, they are not satisfied with the NFL’s plans for health and safety precaution plans to the extent they’ve been revealed so far.



J.J. Watt was one of numbers of NFL players who spelled out his concerns in a Twitterstorm.

Where were the Titans’ leaders on this?

Well, a couple echoed the hashtag and couple retweeted the league’s big names. [UPDATE: Actually a few echoed the hashtag: Taylor Lewan, Kenny Vaccaro and Rashaan Evans.]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Long-term investment in a running back is dangerous.

The Titans are built around a special running back.

It put them in a tough spot as they reached Wednesday afternoon’s deadline for an extension, as Derrick Henry would have had to move forward on his one-year franchise tag without a new deal.HenryRun3Jaguars

I expected that was what would happen, and that he would make $10.278 million this year and $12.333 million – 120 percent of the 2020 tag as the 2021 tag in a year.

I thought that, though, because I figured Henry and his representatives would over-value him.

While I'm wary of big second deals for running backs, this is good money, not reset-the-market-for-the-position money, and it's a deal that could easily amount to two years for just over what two tags would have cost.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When Jon Robinson led the Titans decision to fire Mike Mularkey after a playoff season in 2016, his primary attraction to Mike Vrabel was Vrabel’s ability to lead.

“Obviously I hadn't worked with him from a coaching standpoint, I had really observed him as a player in the way that he conducted himself as a leader on those teams in New England,” Robinson said. “Certainly, I watched his coaching career from afar, you know, when he was at Ohio State and with the Texans. I knew that the leadership was going to be something. He just a natural leader.”RobinsonVrabelLaughDraft

After two years working with Vrabel, I wondered if Vrabel has delivered something different and/or something more than Robinson expected when he chose him as Mularkey’s replacement.

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