Scout's take: A closer look at first action for Malik Willis, other Titans

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- It is exciting to watch a rookie athletic quarterback in the preseason. He usually shows his college skill set against a very vanilla defense that isn’t designed to defend against the player's strengths.

Malik Willis, the Titans’ third-round draft choice in 2022, got his chance to start the first preseason game.  

Malik Willis

Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports

He had several exciting scrambles and improvised dump-off passes.

These types of plays bring great excitement to fans with the dreams and hopes of more of those plays driving the thought the player is ready for prime time.

But when the tape is broken down and evaluated the Titans coaching staff will see a lot of the same plays they

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Malik Willis reversed course in the backfield and ran for a 7-yard touchdown and threw a 48-yard strike to Racey McMath on a botched coverage in Baltimore during a 23-10 Titans’ loss to the Ravens.

The third-round rookie also made a nice sidearm throw to Tommy Hudson while rolling out to avoid linebacker Malik Harrison.

So Willis had some highlights in two-and-a-half quarters of work in his preseason debut, the Ravens' 21st consecutive preseason win.

Malik Willis

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It was an OK start for the rookie QB but even those good moments lacked the electricity the team anticipates he will ultimately bring and there really weren’t many other signs of it. He hit on six of 11 attempts for 107 yards while taking two sacks and he ran five times for 38 yards and the touchdown.

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NASHVILLE, TENN. – In Baltimore against the Ravens in the preseason opener, chances will come for low-level and short-lived stardom.

Here are candidates to show up tonight at M&T Bank Stadium while two teams sort through second- and third-teamers.

Terry Godwin

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WR Terry Godwin: In my eyes, the second-tier of receivers includes Dez Fitzpatrick, Josh Malone, Reggie Roberson, and Brandon Lewis as well as the more familiar Mason Kinsey and Cody Hollister. But a guy who’s gone somewhat unnoticed and came to the team with some NFL experience is Godwin. it would be better if he was bigger -- he is basically the same size as fifth-round slot receiver Kyle Philips. but there is definitely room for Godwin to make an impression.

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Mike Herndon: A statistical analysis on the impact of losing an elite receiver like A.J. Brown

By MIKE HERNDON, columnist

The Titans' decision to trade star wide receiver A.J. Brown during the 2022 NFL draft has been the biggest narrative surrounding the team throughout the offseason. It’s the single thing that doubters of the team will point to when discounting Tennessee’s chances of competing in a loaded AFC.

A.J. Brown

Courtesy Tennessee Titans

However, Brown is far from the first star receiver to change teams in recent years.

All-Pro receivers Tyreek Hill and Davante Adams were moved this offseason, and it generally seems to be a trend that is picking up steam. Stefon Diggs, DeAndre Hopkins, Amari Cooper, Antonio Brown, and Odell Beckham Jr. are all Pro Bowl-level stars that have been moved within the last five years.

Mike Herndon at PaulKuharsky.com

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The Paul Kuharsky PodcastNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Many of you have requested a return of the podcast, so with the Titans closed today, traveling tomorrow and playing in Baltimore Thursday night it seemed like the right time for the restart.

We will fire it up weekly and can find the pod at iTunes, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Stitcher and Vokal.

We open with the annual joke of an unofficial depth chart -- which actually isn't as bad as usual.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When the Titans landed third-round target Nicholas Petit-Frere on schedule, 69th overall, the reviews said he came into the league with great feet but in need of work on his hands.

Petit FrereThe well-spoken, 6-foot-5, 319-pound offensive tackle has made great gains in that department. He's now three practices into his turn as the starting right tackle after watching 2021 second-rounder Dillon Radunz start off at the front of the line.

NPF got off to a rousing start Friday in a 2-minute drill, handling Harold Landry a few times and DeMarcus Walker in another chance in very physical fashion.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Chance Campbell stepped up into a hole and thumped a running back in a red-zone drill Sunday and a media colleague took notice, pointing it out to me.

We said what a nice first- and second-down player he might grow to be but how we wouldn’t want him on the field in passing situations. Then Campbell promptly chased Chig Okonkwo to the back left corner of the end zone and broke up a pass.

Titans 2022 draft

Courtesy Tennessee Titans

Two reporters raised eyebrows and shrugged shoulders at each other.

It’s been that kind of camp for the Titans 2022 draft class.

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