Scouting review: Marcus Mariota's current problems are an organization issue, not a player problem right now

Party Fowl Online Ads 01By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. --Scouting notes from Titans preseason game No. 3, a 16-6 loss in Pittsburgh that came and went without the improvement that the team was looking for:

The starting offense was not sharp, it was unable to compete with the Steelers' defense.

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The offensive line struggled to block Stephen Tuitt who hit Mariota twice.

Josh Kline was whipped on the first play of the game by Tuitt, who bull-rushed him right into the running back and the quarterback.

On the second play and the first sack, to the eye it looked like Derrick Henry missed the pickup of Tuitt, but after reviewing the play that was a miscommunication on the offensive line. The entire offensive line slide left except Dennis Kelly, who picked up the blitzing linebacker with the tight end, which left Henry one-on-one with Tuitt. In that protection, Henry is responsible for the Mike LB blitz pick-up and Kelly should have slide left to pick up Tuitt. After the play Kline immediately looked to Kelly for explanation.

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Something on everybody on the Titans from the loss to the Steelers

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Something on everyone from the Titans' 16-6 loss in Pittsburgh Saturday afternoon.

3 K Austin Barnard – Punted twice for 97 yards with a new average of 41.5

4 K Ryan Succop – Didn’t have a placekick to attempt as the Titans went for 2 after their only score. Hit two kickoffs, one for 59 yards and the other for 65.

6 K Brett Kern – Punted four times for a 39.8 net with one inside the 20 and a long of 53.TicketsBox

7 QB Blaine Gabbert – Got into a good rhythm at times. Hitting on 16 of 24 passes for 158 yards with a touchdown. Was fortunate one ball was not intercepted. Was unfortunate that Cameron Batson stepped out of bounds before making a catch that had a chance to be an explosive TD catch-and-run. Stood in and took a hit from Tyson Alualu just after releasing a 3-yard touchdown throw to Anthony Firkser.

8 QB Marcus Mariota – Really did not look sharp. One short incomplete to an open Corey Davis forced a punt and found Mariota hand gesturing to the receiver as they started their conversation leaving the field. Finished five-of-eight for 43 passing yards with a bad pick where target Taywan Taylor simply wasn’t open. He responded by making a nice form tackle of rookie safety Terrell Edmunds. In the end, he hit nothing longer than 12 yards and a passer rating of 37.0.

With no experience, Tajae Sharpe, Harold Landry trying to become special teamers

pickers vodka 847x63NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When we last saw Tajae Sharpe as part of the Titans’ regular season roster, he was a rookie starting wide receiver.

Given that workload, he wasn’t asked to play any special teams.

Ideally, for the Titans now in his third year, he’d be the fourth receiver at best. And the fourth wide receiver needs to play on special teams.

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Sharpe isn’t the only guy adjusting to a new request.

Second-round pick Harold Landry will surely start Saturday in Pittsburgh on defense, but he may still get special-teams work.

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Scout's take: Tajae Sharpe now an important player for Titans

Party Fowl Online Ads 01By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The most important game for the players, coaches and personnel department has arrived.

It is time for the team to focus now on players that will be healthy and prepared to play in Week 1 On Sept. 9 against the Miami Dolphins.

Positions that are set going into Week 1 of the regular season: Quarterback, running back, tight end, offensive line, cornerback, specialists.BlakeBeddingfieldGlasses

Positions that need to be finalized this week: Receiver starters and depth, defensive line depth and rotations, inside linebacker starters, outside linebacker starters, safety depth.

Rishard Matthews will need time before he is healthy and can contribute for this team. Even if he is ready to play in the opener, he will only be able to play limited snaps. 

Corey Davis must produce right now and Taywan Taylor is going to play an increased role.

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TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans receiver Rishard Matthews is working his way back from a torn meniscus but could be in line to come off PUP as early as next week, sources told PaulKuharsky.com.

He’s not alone in his recovery from the knee procedure as Derrick Morgan suffered a similar injury against Tampa Bay on Aug. 18.

Morgan could have a chance at being ready for the season opener in Miami on Sept. 9 but it appears to be less likely he can return in that span. Another person with knowledge of the injury said it could be a four-to-five week recovery.

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Matthews’ surgery was performed in the first week of August, while Morgan's was recent. He played16 snaps on defense and one on special teams Saturday night against the Buccaneers at Nissan Stadium.

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YAZOO PODCAST: On Marcus Mariota's modesty, Rishard Matthews' extension and Nashville's Bird scooters

YAZOO podcast stripeNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- We've got two preseason games and about two and a half weeks between us and truly meaningful football.

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In this week's edition of the podcast, Madison Blevins guided me through a conversation about Titans injuries including Rashaan Evans status and the contingency plans if he's not ready, yet another example of modest Marcus Mariota and the weird contract extension for Rishard Matthews.

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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The smartest Titans, by position

TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Chad Withrow, inventor of the “Let's Bang Hats” slogan on The Midday 180 ,recently sparked an idea when he said he’d run here to read a piece ranking the Titans by smartest to least smart.

Not eager to make (more) enemies and admitting I don’t have a full read on everyone’s intelligence, I spun the idea into something a bit different, talking to 38 guys in the locker room and asking them who the smartest guy in their positional meetings rooms is.

Some of the results were surprising, some predictable.

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I had only two guidelines for the question. 1) Guys couldn’t vote for themselves. 2) When they asked if I meant football smart or book smart or street smart I told them they got to define smart for themselves.

I skipped quarterbacks. I’m thinking Marcus Mariota would have won it and a three-man position group wasn’t enough to work with.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – While Rashaan Evans did re-emerge to a new degree at Titans’ practice on Wednesday, early reported allowed people to believe he was really back.

And he’s not.EvansIntro1

Evans stretched with the team and did a little work, but it was very little and he was basically pulled out.

“Todd (Toriscelli, the team's director of sports medicine) does a great job with the return-to-play," Mike Vrabel said. "He starts them out with a jog-through, then we go into individual, and if they are feeling OK and doing OK with whatever they are working through, then we give them more. If he doesn't, then Todd pulls them back out of there.

“Rashaan wasn’t feeling great after individual, so we’ll give him some more treatment and will give him some more time. And hopefully, as soon as he’s ready, we’ll get him back out there.”

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