The “Biggest Gut-Punch Loss” in Titans History? SI Picks an Obvious One

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Sports Illustrated has put out a piece on the “Biggest gut-punch loss” for each and every franchise, the Titans included.

The game that the author the piece, Doug Farrar, picks is the obvious one, the Super Bowl loss during the 1999 season against the St.Louis Rams.

Tennessee Titans: Jan. 30, 2000, Super Bowl XXXIV—Rams 23, Titans 16

Until Russell Wilson’s ill-fated pass at the end of Super Bowl XLIX, this was the game that ended with the biggest gut-punch in Super Bowl history. The Rams scored the first nine points of this game, but led by quarterback Steve McNair, the Titans fought their way back into the game and had a 16-16 tie with 1:54 left in the game. That’s when Kurt Warner hit Isaac Bruce for a 73-yard touchdown for what became the deciding score, but Tennessee sure made the Rams worry about their win. On the game’s final drive, McNair took the game into his own hands, quite literally, handling the ball on every play on a drive that started at the Titans’ 10-yard line. McNair’s running and passing had the Rams on their heels until the last play, when he hit Kevin Dyson for a nine-yard reception. Problem was, the game clock was out of time, and the Titans made that play from their own 10-yard line. Rams linebacker Mike Jones stopped Tennessee one agonizing yard short of a chance at the only Super Bowl to go into overtime.

Now, that’s a gut-punch.

Titans Agree to Terms with First-Round Pick Marcus Mariota

Tennessee Titans QB Marcus Mariota, 2015 NFL Draft

The Titans have locked up their top draft pick, quarterback Marcus Mariota, nine days before players report for training camp, Mike Wells of ESPN.com reports.

Financial terms were not revealed. The four-year deal includes a fifth-year team option, which is standard for all first-round draft picks.

Mariota was the last unsigned first-round pick from this year’s draft. The sides had been at odds over offset language, which allows a team to recapture guaranteed money if a player is released and signs with another team.

The Titans and Mariota agreed to partial offset language, a league source told ESPN NFL Insider Adam Caplan.

Titans Expecting More in Year Two From RB Bishop Sankey

Tennessee Titans v Jacksonville Jaguars

Bishop Sankey was the first running back chosen in the 2014 draft and the 54th overall selection, but Sankey did not explode onto the scene for the Titans last year, John Glennon of the Tennessean reports.

He averaged 3.7 yards on his 152 carries and his longest run was for just 22 yards. Sankey contributed a bit in the passing game with 18 catches for 133 yards, but again, not as much as the Titans envisioned. Sankey missed OTAs because of school commitments and never quite seemed to catch up.

Sankey is the odds-on favorite to be the starter when the season gets underway, simply because he has a year’s experience and a full offseason under his belt.

Assuming that’s the case, who backs him up? Dexter McCluster is a possibility, but he’s more of a situational player, not a workhorse. David Cobb is a draft pick and a versatile player, but he also missed much of the offseason with a hamstring injury.

Andrews will as usual be an underdog, but he showed enough promise in the preseason and practices of 2014 that he will be given a good, long look.

 

Feud Between Titans QB Mettenberger and Texans DE Watt Resumes

Tennessee Titans v Houston Texans

Old feuds die hard, and in the AFC South, it appears a feud between Titans QB Zach Mettenberger and Texans DE J.J. Watt is far from over.

The spat started about 9 months ago when a back and forth started between the two over a Mettenberger-photographed selfie.

Mettenberger, in an interview with CampusSports.net, opened the wound back up and went after Watt.

“J.J. had to say it’s a bit high schoolish that I take selfies, and I think he still rags me on Instagram every time he posts a selfie,” Mettenberger said. “At the same time, if that’s high schoolish, he got a letterman jacket made — a Texans letterman jacket.

“That’s pretty high schoolish to me, don’t you say?”

The jacket pic of Watt went online back in October, and the two continued to go back and forth about Mettenberger’s many selfies.

The Texans DE tweeted today about the situation.

The jacket was given to Watt as part of a Texans team function during the 2012 season.

Mariota Impressing Teammates Already in Camps

University of Oregon Spring Game

NFL.com reported today about Titans rookie and second overall pick Marcus Mariota, a player who has been impressive at camp thus far, to the point where even his teammates are raving about him.

Veteran receiver Harry Douglas recently raved about the “unbelievable accuracy” Mariota showcased in OTAs and minicamp.

“I feel like Marcus has done everything he needs to do to get the ball to his receivers,” Douglas added, via ESPN.com’s Paul Kuharsky.

Douglas isn’t alone in that assessment.

Wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson noted that Mariota has been “deadly accurate” in practices.

“No. 1, it’s his accuracy,” Jefferson continued. “No. 2, he’s come in and grasped the offense. And No. 3 is the way the guys respond to him, the way he’s able to go in that huddle and take control. … I am just giddy about his future going forward.”

Former Titans Linebacker Colin McCarthy Announces His Retirement

San Francisco 49ers v Tennessee Titans

Former Titans linebacker Colin McCarthy has announced that he is retiring from the NFL.

The 27-year-old former Miami Hurricane confirmed in a message to Susan Miller Degnan of the Miami Herald that he is “officially retiring today.”

“Truly blessed to have played the game as long as I have!!” McCarthy wrote on Twitter. “To my family, friends, teammates and fans, Thank You!!”

He was a fourth-round pick in 2011 by the Titans, and spent the 2014 season on injured reserve after undergoing shoulder surgery, McCarthy also battled a concussion and ankle and hamstring problems earlier in his career.

The LB started 19 of his 36 games, recording 161 career tackles, forcing three fumbles, and snagging three interceptions, including one for a touchdown.

Titans Plan on Using Marcus Mariota Plenty in the Shotgun in 2015

Marcus Mariota's Party, 2015 NFL Draft

Titans rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota, who operated a spread offense out of the shotgun formation at Oregon, will face plenty of changes at the next level. One of them will include working from under center.

The Titans ranked sixth in the NFL in snaps out of the shotgun in 2014. Of the 919 plays run by the Titans a year ago, 596 were out of the shotgun formation — 64.9 percent of the snaps, Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean reports.

So it’s not like Mariota will be giving up the shotgun cold turkey in the NFL. Hardly.

“This league,” Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said, “is going toward a lot more shotgun snaps because of protection benefits.”

Yet Whisenhunt admits the team’s high percentage from a year ago is probably a reflection of how games went in 2014. The Titans, of course, usually were in catch-up mode, losing nine games by at least two touchdowns en route to a 2-14 finish.

Still, Titans quarterbacks coach John McNulty said the team would prefer to operate in the shotgun “probably 50 or 60″ percent of the time in 2015. Mariota began practicing snaps under center not long after his college season ended, and he showed off his skills at the NFL Combine and his pro day. He’s had few issues since, coaches say.

On a daily basis, the Titans are preparing him for life under center and in the shotgun. But it’s safe to say Mariota will be doing what’s most natural to him more than half of the time.

“I think you are in the ‘gun a little more now anyway,” McNulty said. “The under center gives you a little more threat of the run and play action, and to push the ball down the field type of thing. But the way things go with the pass rush, you are in the ‘gun a big part of the time.

“Marcus has adjusted well to it all. He’s a natural. Marcus is just one of those guys who kind of just picks the ball up and says, ‘What do you want me to do?’ “

Titans QB Marcus Mariota Leads All NFL Jersey Sales in the Month of May

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Last season Browns QB Johnny Manziel was the best selling jersey in the NFL. Here’s hoping that May’s top jersey seller doesn’t end up with the same results as Manziel.

The player that led the month in sales is none other than Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota, the second overall pick in this last May’s NFL Draft.

Mariota outsold Buccaneers quarterback Jameis Winston, who was the first overall pick.

The ranking is based on sales on the NFL’s official online store from May 1-May 31.

Perhaps more shocking is that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, who is appealing his four-game suspension for his alleged role in Deflategate, finished at No. 3 in jersey sales for the month.

The ranking is surprising not only because it suggests strong support for Brady over the past month, but also because he has been in the same jersey for the past 15 seasons, more than any other player in the top 25 best-selling jerseys in May.

Rounding out to the top 10 were Patriots suspended QB Tom Brady, Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson, New York Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr., New England Patriots tight end Rob Gronkowski, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Dez Bryant, Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers and Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning.

Here’s the list of the Top 10:

1. Marcus Mariota, Titans
2. Jameis Winston, Buccaneers
3. Tom Brady, Patriots
4. Russell Wilson, Seahawks
5. Odell Beckham Jr., Giants
6. Rob Gronkowski, Patriots
7. Colin Kaepernick, 49ers
8. Dez Bryant, Cowboys
9. Aaron Rodgers, Packers
10. Peyton Manning, Broncos
— Source: NFLShop.com

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