NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Starting Wednesday we will add a new voice to, as Mike Herndon will begin a weekly column.Mike Herndon

Herndon has been writing excellent, unique pieces on the Titans for some time but he’s been underplayed. I’m happy to give him a bigger platform where he can have a bigger spotlight.

He’s a big fan of the team, which obviously makes him quite different from me. But he won’t be writing as a fan here – you know that doesn’t fit with what I do.

He will offer us excellent analytical and insight, and he’s got a way of spotting and seeing things the rest of us don’t and putting them in context. So we will all benefit from getting to see the team through his eyes on a regular basis.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On the fifth day the Titans are resting before the return to camp, put on pads and start hitting.

Let’s review some developments and observations through four ramp-up practices.

Treylon Burks

© George Walker IV / / USA TODAY NETWORK

Burks: After he was out of shape for rookie camp, OTAs and minicamp, he came back thinner and fitter and he’s been quite good. Asthma is not an issue now, which tells us more, I think, about how it was conditioning. (He said as much.)  And he’s noticeably thinner, which says to me it’s more than the five or six pounds he said.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – At the start of his 14th year with the Titans, Brett Kern may be facing the most serious fight for a roster spot of his Tennessee time.

After a season where his coach questioned his performance a few times, starting at halftime of a preseason game, the Titans found a quality undrafted rookie to challenge for the punting spot in camp in Colorado State’s Ryan Stonehouse.


Mike Vrabel sold it as just another competition in a camp full of them.

But it’s not.

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ampNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans practice Saturday as they continue the ramp-up phases of camp, then they break until Monday morning when they put the pads on and start to hit.

So it's time for a chat.

I want to try something new, where instead of only getting your comments in text, it's more of a two-way conversation where you can't only hear me, but I can hear you.

I've heard good things about Amp, an app that will let us do just that, so I'm set to give it a test run at 12:45 CT Saturday after practice and media availability are over. [Unlocked]

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Taylor LewanNASHVILLE, Tenn. – Taylor Lewan’s been accused of caring too much about how he looks.

He’s got no say in the matter now at Tennessee Titans’ practices, where linemen at players at other heavy-contact positions are wearing guardian caps on their helmets that make them look like the Great Gazoo (for those unfamiliar with the Jetsons, see photo by ABC below.)

The guardian caps are sectioned, exterior padding that makes guys’ heads bigger and add protection.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Sometimes, when defensive backs are lining up for drills, Kevin Byard will nudge Roger McCready forward.

“We were doing some of the open-field tackling drills and I told him, ‘Hey, jump up there,’” Byard said of the rookie. “I know it’s a pecking order with some of the veterans, you want some of those guys to go. But have an older guy tell you to back up, you know what I am saying, before someone has to tell you to go.

Robert Woods and Dez Fitzpatrick

Robert Woods and Dez Fitzpatrick in a receiver drill/ © George Walker IV / / USA TODAY

"This is no knock on him, I just feel like some of the young guys, they want to be able to compete but they want to give respect to the veterans. But I tell them all the time, Hey jump up there, and if an older guy tells you to back up, that’s what you want.”

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Bud Adams could be uncouth for sure. 

The 12th picture that comes up for me when I look on Google images for him -- after young Bud, Bud holding up a Tennessee Oilers T-shirt, Bud with the 1999 AFC Championship trophy, Bud with Jeff Fisher, Bud in a cowboy hat with Lamar Hunt – is the one that’s sticky, the one that hurts him: Gray-haired Bud in a light blue suit, white collar holding a Titans’ tie, a scowling face and matching middle fingers on full display. Not coy, not clever. Angry and odd.

Bud Adams

A member of the Foolish Club that owned the eight original AFL teams, Tennessee Titans owner Adams was acting foolish that day.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – On his 34th birthday, Ryan Tannehill pulled on his red practice jersey and took the field for the first official practice of his fourth Titans training camp.

The deep scar and wound he discussed from the devastating three-interception performance in the team’s divisional-round loss to Cincinnati as the AFC’s No. 1 seed in January that sent him to therapy may still be present.

But he’s worked through it and is on to the clean slate that comes with a new season.

Ryan Tannehill

© George Walker IV / / USA TODAY

It’s a crucial one for a player who’s led his team to a 30-13 regular season record and three playoff appearances since taking over as the starter during the 2019 season. That's success. But what he's done from there is not, as he was in the background of two playoff wins and failed to step forward when needed in three losses.

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