Warned that 'indecisive equals ineffective,' Marcus Mariota showed us how it works

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – It’s fair, if super-patient, to say Marcus Mariota needs a bit of time in the new offense to go out and win them games.

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It’s also fair to say at the start of his fourth year, he simply cannot lose them. And he played too big of a role, pre-injury, in the Titans'openingn-day, 7-hour and eight-minute undoing against the Dolphins, an ugly 27-20 loss.

Nine completions in 16 attempts for 103 yards with two interceptions and a 36.2 passer rating along with three runs for 15 yards is, to put it mildly, insufficient.

People got fired for their failure to maximize his skills. A system has been built around him. If it’s not all clicking yet, that’s understandable.

But when he’s got Luke Stocker open on a pretty play design he’s got to get it to him quickly and with enough on it that the tight end

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Titans could well be doomed without Delanie Walker

MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. -- They are holding out hope he's not finished for the season, but the visual evidence of Delanie Walker's ankle/foot injury in the fourth quarter of Sunday's 7-hour sure suggest he's not going to be in their huddle anytime soon.MDI 2

He didn't need emergency surgery in South Florida and went back to Nashville with the team, a good sign but one offset by how quickly a trainer tossed a towel over the foot and how fast the cart came on the field to take him off.

"Our thoughts and our prayers are with him," Mike Vrabel said. "It certainly didn't look good where I was standing and I'm sure it didn't look any better from where you guys were either."

We saw nothing during the 27-20 loss to suggest the Titans have anyone who has the same rapport with Marus Mariota and the same penchant for production.

It's not like he was rolling in this one, but we know his history. And Corey Davis catching just six of 13 balls throw his direction, even though some were off target and not on him, doesn't suggest he's taking over the No. 1 reliable weapon role soon.

Here's my video report on the Titans minus Walker.

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The market will take care of itself and you will go to whatever you will go to.

While it’s interesting to monitor tickets bought and tickets used and attendance and non-attendance at local sporting events, I’ve long maintained I don’t expect people to go to them.

It’s on the teams and events to create the excitement to prompt you to want to be there.USSoccer

So I think this is the first time in my life I’m urging anyone to buy tickets. (And he's a route to getting them cheaper that TicketMaster is selling them for: Call my sponsor, Tennessee Tickets at 931 398-4253. They'll get them from TicketMaster, sell them to you cheaper than face, you'll be happy and they'll have prompted you to come back for that tougher ticket you're looking for another time.)

But the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team plays Mexico at Nissan Stadium on Tuesday night.

And after a hearty debate about the MLS Stadium in Nashville and its passage in a recent vote, we lost sight of what is really a more important soccer story for the city.

The United States is the primary host of the 2026 World Cup, and Nashville is one of the U.S. cities under consideration to host games. I wrote in June that I think it’s got a better than 50-50 chance.

While MLS support will certainly help Music City’s case, Sept. 11 gives us a big opportunity to make a big showing that can get the attention of both FIFA and U.S. Soccer.

The parties on the streets for the Predators two recent playoff pushes were a great catalyst. The Titans’ uniform unveiling was too. Next spring, Nashville hosts the NFL Draft and, we’d expect, some more significant Stanley Cup Playoff hockey.

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Pickers mailbag: The delay in Matt LaFleur-to-Marcus Mariota communication

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kickoff is near.

So it's time for you to catch up on a week's worth of what we've had brewing here, especially Blake Beddingfield's preview of the Titans' season opener.

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On to your questions, a solid batch.

Also, you'll want to catch up on this week's public broadcast.

No onto your quality batch of questions. (No Anthony Firkser in here, just a great picture by Russell Roberts.) 

Jamie Zaleski Is the extra step of play calling from LaFleur to O’Hara to Mariota going to slow down the play clock and tempo?

PK: It’s just the way it works. Mike Heimerdinger and Dowell Loggains were on the sideline as coordinators, at least most of the time. But five others were all in the box, I believe.

It killed the Titans in Super Bowl XXXIV. Before a crucial completion from Steve McNair to Erron Kinney in the second half, the Titans had to burn a timeout. Les Steckel’s call to QB coach Bart Andrus got messed up by Andrus as he called it into McNair.

If the Titans had that timeout, they may have had one more crack at the end zone at the end when Kevin Dyson was short.

Others have said they are disappointed to learn that LaFleur won't be in Marcus Mariota's ear until the coach-to-quarterback device

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Scout's take: The key matchups for the Titans in Miami

Blake Beddingfield was a Titans' scout for 19 years, through the 2017 draft. He was the team's director of college scouting for his final six years. He's brought to you by Party Fowl

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Miami Dolphins were a 6-10 team in 2017, with one of those wins coming against the Tennessee Titans.

This will be a different game this year due to major personnel changes on both sides. The biggest one for both teams is each will have their starting quarterback back.MariotaBucsPractice

Recent success in the NFL has been about how teams use personnel matchups on both sides of the ball. Hours are spent each week by the coaching staffs to devise a game plan to use their personnel to exploit the weaker players on an opposing team. Coaching and player tendencies will also be focused on. The team that has more options in crucial situations (third down or red zone) are harder to figure out and have a greater chance of success.

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Matt LaFleur, Titans' offense intend to 'Embrace the suck'

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It’s going to be hard. A slog.

And Matt LaFleur is going to love it.

During his time in Atlanta, a Navy Seal group talked to the Falcons. From that, he got a black rubber bracelet, with white lettering: EMBRACE THE SUCK.EmbraceTheSuck

“Not every situation is going to be great,” LaFleur told The Midday 180 a while ago, when he sat with us at camp and Jonathan Hutton noticed the bracelet. “There is going to be some adversity, some bumps in the road and you’ve got to stay the course, you’ve got to keep fighting and grinding and scratching and clawing ad try to be as positive as you can on a daily basis.

“I think that speaks to what the NFL is all about, because you know any given Sunday a team can show up and take it to the other team. You’ve got to be resilient, you’ve got to stay positive and just keep grinding a way.

The bracelet serves as a constant reminder And the Titans playing in LaFleur’s offense are on board.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Is Matt LaFleur excited to finally unveil was he was hired by the Titans to craft and install?

“I don’t know what you guys are talking about,” he said with a giant grin. “I thought we showed it all in the preseason.”LaFleurSmile

“Yeah, I think anytime you’ve got your full arsenal, you’ve got a legitimate game plan, you’re excited about what the product is going to be. I think our guys have been working hard and I think they’ve got a pretty good handle on it. There is some stuff we need to clean up between now and Sunday. I feel confident. I think our guys will feel confident going into the game.”

His offense is the absolute biggest question. Mike Mularkey was fired after a playoff season for his failure to sufficiently maximize Marcus Mariota’s skills set. Mike Vrabel was hired as a young, smart football mind who would tap into such things, and he hired LaFleur to head up that element of the operation.

We will see more motion for sure, and I also expect more variance of tempo from the offense. What else? We don’t know, which is why we are so anxious for the curtain to rise at Hard Rock Stadium.

In a wide-ranging media session Thursday, LaFleur hit on a variety of interesting topics and I felt like I should touch on several.

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YAZOO PODCAST: Burning questions before the Titans get started

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Who's the slot receiver? Who's covering the slot receiver? Can the Titans rush the passer likely down two key guys?

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In this week's edition of the podcast, Madison Blevins guided me through a conversation about the big questions I want the answers to in the Titans' season opener Sunday in Miami.

We also hit on my expectation for in-season injury news, the potential for roster-alteration next week, Nike's big move, offensive precision and a team theme from Matt LaFleur.

Part 1, like podcast versions of my public Periscope and Facebook Lives, will be available through iTunes, here, or directly through the Vokal website, here. Feel free to hook us up with a rating and review on iTunes.

If you're a member of the site, Part 1 and Part 2 are together, and all you have to do is head below the line. 

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