“Obviously, (we want to move Mariota) around, get him out of the pocket,” Vrabel said. “That’s something that he does as a special player with his athletic ability, and his ability to throw on the move.”
Added LaFleur: “You don't ever want to take that element, that creativity, his ability to create off-schedule … you never want to take that away from a quarterback that has the athleticism that Marcus has.”
After accumulating over 2,200 rushing yards in three collegiate seasons, it has been a bit disappointing that Mariota has only rushed for 913 yards in three NFL seasons. That said, it sounds like the new coaching staff is going to take the shackles off of the offense, and that should yield more fantasy production for Mariota. Of 13 quarterbacks with at least 40 rush attempts in 2017, Mariota was second only to Dak Prescott in fantasy points per rush. He should break his career-high of 60 attempts in 2018.
For the first time in his NFL career, Marcus Mariota is enjoying an offseason without the pain and burden of rehabbing an injury.
It’s allowed him to focus on football, and after tossing more interceptions than touchdowns in 2017, the Titans’ franchise quarterback is retooling his mechanics, notably working to widen his stance when throwing the football. The improved legwork should increase his accuracy.
The story said Mariota is also working to stay on the field, which is partially tied to his decision-making outside the pocket. The team wants him to play smarter when he's on the run. He's entering his fourth season but has yet to play a full 16 games because of injuries.
Dion Lewis saw a career-high 36 percent of the offensive reps in New England last season. With injury concerns and size limitations, there will likely be a cap on Lewis' workload. But he still could match or even surpass his workload from last season and still leave plenty on the bone for Henry.
Last season, DeMarco Murray claimed 63 percent of offensive snaps to Derrick Henry's 40. A reasonable June estimate for 2018 would be a similar workflow, with Henry getting about 60 percent and Lewis 40 percent.
Our projections currently have Lewis at 180 carries and 44 receptions, 51 percent of the touches projected between Henry and him. Last season, Henry saw 187 touches. So even though our projection for him is only 49 percent of the touches between Lewis and him, it is still a total of 209 touches, an increase from last season. We expect Lewis to get the bulk of the receptions out of this backfield, making him more valuable in PPR formats. Also working in the Titans' backfield's favor, the entire starting offensive line returns from last season.
“Until you get the pads on and really get going through preseason, I look at them both as 1A and 1B,” LaFleur said. “I feel confident in both of those guys. They both bring a little bit different qualities to what they do. But I think we’ve got two really good backs that we’re excited about.”
Fantasy owners are expecting 2018 to be a breakout year for Henry, but they may want to temper those expectations. While Henry will likely lead the team in carries, the gap between he and Lewis, who ran the rock 14.6 times per game over his final 11 regular season contests in 2017, remains to be seen. Lewis is also expected to be the primary receiver out of the backfield. 4for4 ADP has Henry going in the late-third round, while Lewis is not coming off the board until the middle of round five.
Tajae Sharpe wrapped up practice recently and immediately headed to the JUGS machine for extra work.
It’s part of the daily routine for the Titans receiver, who appreciates it all even more after missing the 2017 season with an injury.
“It just feels great to be back out here with the guys,” Sharpe said. “Missing all of last year was tough, so I am just excited to be back.
“We are all starting with clean slates, so we all have to prove ourselves. We just have to compete and get better each day.”
Sharpe has made a nice recovery from the foot injury that resulted in him being placed on Injured Reserve in 2017. A fifth-round draft pick by the team in 2016, Sharpe caught 41 passes for 522 yards and two touchdowns during his rookie season. It looks like Sharpe will have some competition to battle back to a top-three WR spot in 2018.
From Week 10 to Week 17 of last season, Lewis was the No. 5 scoring fantasy RB. He finished the season on a high-note, averaging 31 touches, 143 total yards, and two touchdowns the last two weeks. Lewis will be a valuable commodity in PPR leagues, and could turn into a high-end RB1 if Henry were to miss any time due to injury.
It appears the Titans will be shoring up their secondary with the addition of Malcolm Butler on a five-year deal worth $61 million, with over $30 million guaranteed. The Titans have added a No. 1 corner in Butler and he should pair up with another former Patriot in Logan Ryan.
The Titans plan to release running back DeMarco Murray, the team announced Thursday. It's a move that appeared likely once Derrick Henry established himself as the lead back down the stretch last season.
This move was expected. Henry should be locked into a two-down role, at least. He could play on third downs as well, but the Titans may bring in a passing game specialist to complement Henry.
LaFleur was also the quarterbacks coach for Kyle Shanahan in 2015 and 2016.
The Giants agreed to hire former Arizona Cardinals defensive coordinator James Bettcher late Tuesday night, a source told ESPN. Bettcher met with the Giants in Mobile, Alabama, on Tuesday afternoon, while he was in town for the Senior Bowl.
Bettcher also interviewed with and received an offer from the Tennessee Titans to be their defensive coordinator, the source said.
The 39-year-old Bettcher wasn't retained by new Cardinals coach Steve Wilks, who was hired Monday.
Bettcher was the DC for the Cardinals for the last three seasons and his defenses finished 5th, 2nd and 6th in yards allowed in that span. This looks like a good hire for the G-Men.
The Tennessee Titans have hired Mike Vrabel as the 19th head coach in franchise history, the team announced Saturday.
Vrabel, 42, will replace Mike Mularkey, who was fired Monday. The Titans will give Vrabel a five-year contract, a source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.
A 14-year NFL veteran and three-time Super Bowl champion, Vrabel spent the past four seasons coaching the Houston Texans, including 2017 as their defensive coordinator.
We're waiting to see who Vrabel hires as his offensive coordinator. It's a crucial hire, and the fantasy value of the Tennessee skill position players will depend on it.
Mike Mularkey has agreed to part ways with the Tennessee Titans, who announced Monday that the sides "couldn't come to an agreement over the future."
Given all the talent in the Tennessee offense, the team should have finished better in total yards (23rd), points scored (19th) and yards per play (18th).
Saturday, January 13, 2018, 6:48pm
Friday, January 12, 2018, 6:34pm
Friday, January 12, 2018, 6:34pm
Titans RB DeMarco Murray (knee, out) is out for Week 19. Derrick Henry should see another big workload this week against the Patriots. New England is No. 10 in RB aFPA but has struggled against the run this year.
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