NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In the Mike Vrabel era, there have not been many real training camp battles for starting spots.

As camp opens next week that should be different, though I will be surprised if many of the favorites wind up losing out.

Treylon Burks

Treylon Burks/ © George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

Let’s take a look at the fights we expect to see, ranked in the order of legitimacy of competition.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Aside from the concerns about the personnel at receiver and on the offensive line and questions about Derrick Henry, the primary question analysts pose about the Titans in 2022 is a familiar one.

Last year’s team did exceedingly well in close games, and the expectation for teams that do well in close games in a given season is that they will regress to the mean the following season.Titans Logo

I’m no statistician and I can’t sort through all the tendencies here.

But I have evidence to suggest that while Tennessee may be a worse football team this year, it won’t be because it forgets how to execute and succeed in close games.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – There are plenty of reasons the upcoming Titans’ season can go sideways. 

Personnel issues at receiver and on the offensive line are chief among them.

Mike Vrabel

The defensive front is the top element looked to that can offset the problems.

But as I look ahead to what will unfold, the one thing I think fans of the team should feel most confident about is the guy pacing the sideline wearing the headset.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In Shane Bowen’s first year with the defensive coordinator title, he and Mike Vrabel emphasized a full conceptual understanding of the defense for players at every spot.

They wanted to build on a really bad defensive 2020 when the scope of defenders was apparently too narrow and they thought the unit's failure to fit together was part of the issue for an all-time bad third-down defense and a group that could not find even 20 sacks.

Shane Bowen and Mike Vrabel

Pool photo/ George Walker, The Tennessean

The request was well-received and executed.

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Bud AdamsNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bud Adams, the founder of the Houston Oilers who teamed up with Lamar Hunt to create the AFL, is one of 29 semifinalists in the coach/contributor category for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Adams, who moved his team to Nashville in 1997 where they ultimately became the Tennessee Titans, died on Oct. 21, 2013.

He wasn't only a founder of the AFL, he helped it flourish and was instrumental in promoting the merger with the NFL which created the league as we know it today.

The team is now run by his daughter, Amy Adams Strunk.

Another member of the franchise is also among the 29 semifinalists. The cutdown is meant to get to 25, but allows for more due to ties.

C.O. Brocato, an innovator who scouted for the franchise for 45 years, invented the three-cone drill, which measures players’ speed, agility and change of direction.

Billy "White Shoes" Johnson, who played the first seven of his 14 years with the Houston Oilers is one of the 25 semifinalists for one of three senior candidate spots.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – At a time when nothing is going on, we should be hoping plenty is going on.

A year after soft tissue issues were a big problem for the Titans, players are at a time in the calendar that the team judges as crucial for the prevention of such injuries.

David Long

© George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

“I think you have to be able to train, you have to train in this heat,” Mike Vrabel said as minicamp broke on June 15. “You have to stay hydrated. You have to go out there and train the way that you're going to practice and practice the way that you're going to play. Conscious that the volume that they're going to be doing in the offseason in those next couple of weeks are there, the speed.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Happy Fourth of July Weekend.

I hope you've got a giant three days ahead.

Titan Up Flag

I've got a dream where my puppy helps calm down my older dog in the face of fireworks, but I know it will not work out that way.

At some point reading your phone or iPad here's a dose of Titans' reading for you.

David Jackson There was an ESPN article ranking the rosters of all NFL teams that had the Titans roster ranked 20th. Do you think that’s accurate? If it is it would seem to imply Vrabel is a better coach than he gets credit for, and if it’s not accurate where do you think it should be ranked?

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The A.J. Brown trade has taken us back to a familiar place, one where we are left to wonder about the Titans’ ability to find and develop receivers.

The Titans drafted 30 receivers since 1999, with Brown really the lone home run. I detailed the long and ugly history here.

For years, wide-receiver struggles masked another position where the Titans often failed to find production, though not on the same level: pass rusher.

Denico Autry

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