NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As a scout, the fourth preseason game has always been my favorite. 

At the end of the last preseason game, a scout has spent over 15 months evaluating these players from college and through their first NFL training camp. It is a roller coaster of emotions not only for the players but also the people in the building that have invested so much time and effort into bringing in the best players to compete and trying to help them succeed after they arrived.BeddingfieldLabel

There are a vast amount of resources that are put into each player on the 90-man roster.  Cut-down day can be disappointing for so many, but it can also be a joyous occasion when someone finally realizes their dream of making a team.

It is a small fraternity of 1,696 players that make a 53-man roster after 2,880 started out in training camps. 

Friday morning after the last preseason game, the game tape is quickly evaluated, graded, and meetings begin.

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Indications are Jack Conklin will move from PUP to the 53

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are not expecting to wait six weeks for Jack Conklin.

The team’s right tackle tore his ACL in the playoff game at New England on Jan. 13. He missed the entire offseason and spent camp and the preseason on PUP.ConklinSEA 1

As the Titans trim from 90 to 53 by 3 p.m. CT Saturday they either have to put him on the 53 or leave him on PUP which would mean he couldn’t play in the first six regular-season games. Indications are the team intends to include him on the 53.

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My attempt at the Titans' 53-man roster, amended

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coaches culled some information from watching low-ranking guys play against low-ranking guys in the preseason finale at Nissan Stadium Thursday night, a loss to the Vikings.

I did not.

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And so I jump right ahead to what I think the roster will look like come 3 p.m CT on Saturday, by when the Titans must cut 37 players to get from 90 to 53.

There are not a lot of difficult choices, I really don’t think. The biggest are about whether the team needs to keep semi-standard numbers at each position. I lean toward keeping the 53 best guys, with two or three waiver claims likely to alter those in short order.

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Scout's take: Why the Titans' depth will send them looking for help on waivers

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Right now, I don’t see 53 players out of the 90 on the Titans roster.

This is rare, because in most years a team will have a list of 60 players that all have a chance at the 53-man roster and those last cuts are difficult.

This is not one of those years. The depth is lacking.

The waiver wire will be very important this year for the Titans. 

Instead of waiting on it, the Titans traded a 2019 sixth-round draft choice for outside linebacker Kamalei Correa.DoddJags

Trades are made at this time of the year for players that will most likely get cut by their club. The team on the receiving end of the trade has a need and does not want to potentially lose the player in the waiver process. Also, the club decides the value of the player (Correa) it is receiving outweighs the value of the draft choice (sixth round).

This trade was ultimately made because of a perceived lack of depth at a key position for the Titans’ defense. Injury history and age of the current starters at that spot is also a concern. 

The lack of depth at outside linebacker actually goes back a few years.

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Nuanced hand-placement one key to Taylor Lewan's game

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Nuanced hand-placement helped Taylor Lewan slow Jason Pierre-Paul in a short encounter during the second game of the Titans’ preseason.

That sort of battle is one of the dozens of games within the game, and Lewan’s hand skills are part of what got him a new deal that makes him the highest-paid offensive lineman in the NFL.LewanHands

“When he two-hand punches, he’s really hard to beat,” offensive line coach Keith Carter said. “Taylor doesn’t just have quick feet, he’s got quick hands. When his hands are good, he surprises people with how quick they get in there and how he can kind of punch you, reroute you and then snatch you up.”

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Titans' teammates say Marcus Mariota has mastered the new offense

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Marcus Mariota has set the standard his targets in the passing game now need to match.

At least that’s what his most reliable target, Delanie Walker said.

No, Mariota didn't look good in the Titans' third preseason game. But the Titans aren't going to be judging where he is based on that one, 19-snap, eight-dropback sample.

Walker and Rishard Matthews, who’s been off PUP for two practices, both said their chemistry with the quarterback will carry over into the new offense despite limited time working together in the build-up to the season.

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“I have no doubt in my mind that it won’t change,” Walker said. “We’ve been in what, three different systems with Marcus? And we’ve been successful. It’s another opportunity for me and him to be on the same page. I don’t really think any negatives are going to come about from us having a new offense.'

Taywan Taylor has had a complete preseason and says he feels like “Mariota has it mastered to a T” but that the entire unit “has a ways to go.” It’s just the nature of the beast that there will always be little details that allow for nitpicking on every play.

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Correa

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – What are we to think about the Titans’ addition of Kamalei Correa?

Per Adam Schefter, the Titans gave up a 2019 sixth-rounder for Correa, who went to high school with Marcus Mariota and played his first two NFL seasons under Dean Pees, who was Baltimore's defensive coordinator. He now holds the same post on Mike Vrabel's staff.

Former Titans scout and special contributor to this site, Blake Beddingfield, thinks Correa is worth taking a shot on.

“Correa is similar to Aaron Wallace,” he said. “The Ravens were obviously going to cut him and Dean Pees knows him. The big issue is where to play him -- inside or out. He was a rusher in college but his skills fit inside, which is the same conversation you have about Wallace.

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Derrick Henry's blocks in pass game could have bailed people out, but weren't pass protection reads

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While Derrick Henry was the last line of defense on a couple plays early in the Titans’ loss at Pittsburgh, he wasn’t guilty of missed assignments that created the pressures.

“That’s not pass protection,” Henry said, speaking of a play where Luke Stocker and Dennis Kelly doubled an edge defender and Stephon Tuitt sliced in. “I was covering for Luke, because he had the lineman on the outside and I was going back out...

“I should have seen Tuitt, but I was looking at the safety. He got up on me fast because he came scot-free… That’s not my guy.

“Pass protection is keying your guys and picking them up.”

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Mike Vrabel said problems up front needs to be corrected so Henry or the running back don’t wind up in those situations.

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