NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans would love to find a way to keep at least a couple of their top six players who are set to become free agents on March 17.

As they managed costs, it will be quite difficult.

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Asked about Jonnu Smith and Corey Davis earlier this week, Jon Robinson reflected on Jack Conklin’s jump to the Browns last spring.

“I had the same conversation at the end of the season with those guys that I had with Jack Conklin a year ago” ‘You’ve done everything we’ve asked of you here, and we’re going to be competitive in trying to keep you, but at the end of the day you’re going to have a decision to make if you have suitors with other teams.’

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have not had an outstanding pass rusher for a long time.

They were a miserable pass rush team in 2019.

Edge has been an Achilles heel for the franchise for a good while, and certainly during the time Jon Robinson has overseen the team’s personnel.LandryCellyBillspool

Tennessee Titans pool photo

Both Robinson and Mike Vrabel tend to steer conversations about the pass rush away from personnel and from sacks to talk of how the entire defense can contribute to pressuring the passer. I think Vrabel doesn’t use the word sack unless he’s prompted.

In a Tuesday media session, I asked Robinson about that and after he talked about how much he desires such a guy, he hit on the idea that the Titans got some level of satisfying production out of their edge people. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Isaiah Wilson won’t be disappearing from the Titans’ roster soon.

The 29th pick in the 2020 draft played four snaps in his troubled rookie season before he was suspended for Week 13 then basically exiled for the last four weeks of the season when the team placed him on the rarely used Non-Football Illness list.IWilsonGW

Last we spoke to Mike Vrabel he said he had not spoken to him since then, and Jon Robinson said the same in a press session on Tuesday.

“We did a lot of work a year ago leading up to selecting him,” Robinson said. “the evaluation process, talking to different sources, visiting with him countless numbers of times. And for whatever reason, the player this fall that was here in Nashville wasn’t the guy that we spent time with last year. [Unlocked]

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Happy Presidents Day.

For those of you in the area, I hope you are inside and warm, listening to the tapping of the sleet on your windows like I am.

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Here’s the best of what you asked me over the last few days.

In the spring of 2020, they should have done nothing differently and if right now they could make decisions on those two guys at those two prices, I'd probably stick with what they did with major crossed fingers regarding Adoree' Jackson.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – J.J. Watt’s got the name and the flash.

More importantly, he could bring the Tennessee Titans a combination of production and leadership in the pass rush, provided he can stay healthy.

Watt announced Friday morning he and the Texans, for whom he’s played for 10 years, granted his request for his release. He’s immediately on the market.VrabelWatt

Photo courtesy Houston Texans

Lines will immediately be drawn from Watt to Mike Vrabel, who worked with him during four seasons in Houston, three as the linebackers and pass-rush coach, one as the defensive coordinator.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Deshaun Watson may force his way out of Houston in a move that will represent the peak of NFL player power.

On its face, that sounds great.

But will it ultimately be good for the game?

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I want more for NFL players, who’ve got the weakest deal with their league of all the major pro sports in America. Because of football’s physicality, career lifespans are shorter, and the union is less willing to sit out long enough to make game-changing gains in collective bargaining sessions.

The owners always win on the biggest issues.

Given a choice between billionaire owners and millionaire players who are taking the hits and the consequences that come with them, I’m generally going to be with the players.

But bad ownership is part of pro sports, and the Texans have it now. It sucks that players have little recourse. It seems even his teammates want Watson to gain his freedom. Without him, there will still be 53-guys on a roster put together by Cal McNair's people come opening day. Years and years of fan discontent hasn't broken through with franchise owners worse than him.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Covid-19 attendance restrictions put so much on pause for the NFL and the Titans in the 2020 season.

Presumably, the Titans continued to work on some of their issues to the degree that they could.

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The on-field product has gotten much better.

After a year on pause, we don’t really know about the fan experience. One idea not connected to the stadium -- the pop-up shops with exclusive clothing -- were a smart idea and a big success.

But with 21 percent capacity, the Titans have no idea, and we have no idea, if they are any better at getting people into Nissan Stadium, if Bills and Bears fans would have ruled the building or if the concession experience would have been any better.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – For the better part of 20 years, fans of the Titans would watch games around the league, see receivers make fantastic catches, and rightfully ask, those are allowed?

Sure, a Tennessee wideout occasionally made a highlight-reel grab. See Nate Washington’s wraparound against Detroit in 2012.

But for the most part, the team’s struggles to find talent at the position and an uninventive passing game meant a low-percentage of feature moments.

In the last couple of seasons, the team has found guys who make aggressive, impressive catches, taking the ball away from defenders and running away from them, solving the issue.

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The issue that's been growing into the franchise's major one instead is the lack of a pass rush.

And so in Tampa Bay’s impressive win in Super Bowl XV, Titans followers could fairly have watched the Buccaneers find regular pressure on Patrick Mahomes with a four-man rush and asked, you can do that?

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