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Titans Coach Mike Vrabel Says Marcus Mariota’s Status Hasn’t Changed

Titans coach Mike Vrabel told reporters quarterback Marcus Mariota’s situation has not changed, and the team will not rush him back into the starting lineup.

Vrabel said the status of Mariota, who has had trouble gripping a football since injuring his elbow in the season opener, “is probably the same as it was Friday or Saturday,” which is when the team decided Blaine Gabbert would start Week 2 against the Houston Texans. Gabbert finished 13 of 20 for just 117 yards and a touchdown but led a game-winning field goal drive in the final minutes.

“There’s some things (Mariota) can do, and there’s some throws that he can’t really comfortably make,” Vrabel said. “It could be something that actually … gets better overnight, and it gets better tomorrow. So that’s kind of where we’re at. We’re waiting to see, and every day is a new day.”

New Titans CB Malcolm Butler is Over the Questions About Not Playing in the Super Bowl in February

Malcolm Butler is getting used to hot chicken, but the process has been gradual.

“Might eat a little hotter next time,” the Titans cornerback said, “but I’m going to take my time.”

Butler has embraced his move to Nashville, and, in a larger sense, a change of scenery. It helps with turning the page, though Butler will tell you he did that months ago, Erick Bacharach of the Tennessean reports.

“I’ve been turned the page,” he said. “Probably a week or two after the situation.”

Butler, a former New England Patriot and offseason acquisition by the Titans, still can’t escape the questions, though.

Why were you benched for last season’s Super Bowl? Why did Patriots coach Bill Belichick not play you for the biggest game of the year after having you start 15 games in the regular season and two in the playoffs?

“I most definitely get tired of (the questions),” Butler said. “Every reporter shooting their shot when they know they’re going to get the same answer. But, you know, everybody wants to know, and what I tell everybody is just ‘coach’s decision.’ And I’ve moved on. I’m a Tennessee Titan and I’m glad to be one.”

“Malcolm’s got a lot to prove,” Titans secondary coach Kerry Coombs said. “Malcolm’s a competitive guy. He competes at everything he does. He wants to win at everything he does, he wants to win at every rep and he wants to let you know when he beats you. And I love that about Malcolm.”

Like all those Super Bowl questions, Butler uses a repeated answer to inquiries about his intensity in practice.

“I’m real motivated.”

Titans Not Sure if OT Jack Conklin Will Be Ready to Go in Week One

It is “too early” to say whether Titans right offensive tackle Jack Conklin will be ready for Week 1 of the regular season according to Jim Wyatt of titansonline.com.

Conklin missed OTAs due to January ACL surgery and will likely start training camp on the active/PUP list. The 8th-overall pick in the 2016 draft out of Michigan State, Conklin was one of the top pass-blocking right tackles in the league before going down in the playoffs. The Titans have a proven backup in Dennis Kelly if Conklin isn’t back for Week 1.

New Titans OC Matt LaFleur’s Goal in OTA’s? To Make QB Marcus Mariota Comfortable

The Titans have a new offensive coordinator in Matt LaFleur entering 2018, and his main goal in early mini camps is to make sure quarterback Marcus Mariota knows what he’s doing in terms of learning the teams’ new offense.

Mariota is busy learning his latest NFL offense, and knows that it will be maybe the biggest offseason story line for the Titans as he gets set for his 4th season in the NFL.

“I’m just trying to grasp everything,” Mariota said Tuesday. “You don’t want to be opinionated on something that you have never run. I just try to go out there and execute, and do what they’re asking me to do. When we come back and we have to determine some of these things, and determine what we like and what we don’t like, I’ll definitely express my opinion.”

That’s exactly what LaFleur expects, even if he’s learning that getting the polite Mariota to speak up isn’t always easy.

“He’s an extremely bright guy,” LaFleur said. “He’s picked it up pretty quickly. Again, I think it’s more or less just having that confidence in being able to go out there and not think so much when he’s playing. So the more reps he’s been getting, the better he’s been doing.”

Having Marcus happy, and having the Titans firing all the way around on offense could lead to some big success for Tennessee in the 2018 season.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota Working on His Footwork This Summer

Marcus Mariota is coming off his worst statistical season as a pro, a year in which he threw more interceptions than touchdowns.

He’s spending the offseason trying to correct that – by focusing on his feet, Jason Wolf of the Tennessean reports.

The Titans’ franchise quarterback has been working to widen his stance when throwing, altering his passing mechanics with the idea that greater balance leads to greater accuracy.

“It’s tough because it’s hard to break old habits,” Mariota said during the Titans’ first of three weeks of organized team activities at Saint Thomas Sports Park. “I think for a long time I’ve been playing with such a narrow base. If I’m able to accomplish, really, that goal of mine, to stay in a good solid base throughout, I think I can make a lot of the throws that are asked of me in this offense. As I continue to be out here, I’ve just got to continue to be mindful of it and find ways to just self-correct and just get better.”

Mariota said he began working on his footwork in February in California, and has continued to focus on developing a wider base with the blessing of the Titans’ new coaching staff.

The alteration has been endorsed by offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur and quarterbacks coach Pat O’Hara.

And the practice is long established.

“Quarterbacks in general, when you have a base, there’s a lot less moving parts, and it allows you to throw more accurately,” LaFleur told The Washington Post in 2010, when he was the Redskins’ quarterbacks coach, for a story about how he was working to improve the passing mechanics of Donovan McNabb.

The improved mechanics might, at times, repress his urge to scramble. Not only does remaining in a wider stance improve his accuracy, but also the speed at which he’s able to release the ball.

“I think the ball comes out a little faster,” Mariota said. “I think if I’m in a narrow base, it takes me an extra second to get to that (wider) base to be able to throw the football. If I’m in a good solid base (to begin with), I can throw at any point in time and make the throws on time.”

Titans Agree to Terms with Wide Out Nick Williams

Titans have agreed to terms with veteran wide receiver Nick Williams, the Associated Press reports.

The Titans announced the deal Wednesday.

The 5-foot-10, 184-pound Williams has played 22 games in his career with the Atlanta Falcons over the past three seasons and Washington in 2013. He has 28 catches for 263 yards and two touchdowns.

His best season came in 2015 with Atlanta when Titans offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur was the Falcons quarterbacks coach. Williams caught 17 passes for 159 yards and two touchdowns. LaFleur was quarterbacks coach with Washington when Williams was signed as a free agent.

Blaine Gabbert On Track to Be the Number Two QB in 2018 for the Titans

Blaine Gabbert is the “favorite” to win the backup quarterback job with the Tennessee Titans according to Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com.

The Titans waived trick-shot quarterback Alex Tanney this offseason, leaving only Gabbert, sixth-round rookie Luke Falk, and undrafted free agent Tyler Ferguson to compete for the backup job behind frnachise QB Marcus Mariota. While Gabbert has never lived up to his lofty draft pedigree as the 10th-overall pick in the 2011 draft out of the University of Missouri by the Jacksonville Jaguars, he played surprisingly well in his five-game stint as the starter for the Arizona Cardinals last season. Now 28 years old, the well-traveled Gabbert has a good chance of seeing the field in 2018 given Mariota’s injury history.

Titans Earn an ‘B-‘ for Their Draft According to ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.

The draft grades from ‘Draft Guru’ Mel Kiper Jr. are out, and one team that got a good grade is that of the Titans, who according to Kiper got an ‘B-‘ for their collection of players over the two days.

Here’s what he had to say:

Credit GM Jon Robinson and the Titans for being aggressive. They traded up for all three of their top picks. The problem is that depleted their capital for the rest of the draft, and this team isn’t without holes. Yes, Tennessee made the playoffs (and won a game), but I see a depth chart with aging edge defenders and issues at guard, tight end, inside linebacker and wide receiver. So the Titans ended up with only first- and second-round picks, then didn’t have another selection again until the fifth round. They better hit on who they moved up for.

As for the players they got with those trades, I do see the fits. The Titans moved up ahead of 3-4 teams Pittsburgh and New England for Rashaan Evans (pick 22), who will fill Avery Williamson’s spot at inside linebacker. Evans is an every-down player who can run with tight ends and backs, and he’s a great fit for Tennessee’s defense. I actually had pass-rusher Harold Landry to the Titans in the first round in my two-round mock, and they moved up to No. 41 to get him in the second round. He’s the best true 3-4 edge rusher in this class.

I love the symmetry of former Patriot Mike Vrabel taking a quarterback with the 199th pick — the same spot in which New England grabbed the greatest quarterback of all time. And Luke Falk actually looks up to Tom Brady and patterns his game after him. Falk isn’t a great athlete, and he doesn’t have the strongest arm, but that’s what teams said about Brady in 1999. So, no, I don’t think Falk is the next Brady, but he can be a solid NFL backup.

Again, the aggressive day from Robinson’s front office is noted. With only four picks, the Titans are going to have to hit on a few undrafted free agents, too.

Round/Pick Name Pos College
1/22 Rashaan Evans ILB ALABAMA
2/41 Harold Landry OLB BOSTON COLLEGE
5/152 Dane Cruikshank CB ARIZONA
6/199 Luke Falk QB WASHINGTON STATE