Shark Bites

"Explosive" isn't a word we tend to hear associated with QBs. But it's how Titans insider Jim Wyatt described QB Marcus Mariota in this week's OTAs. "It’s already clear he has his wheels back," Wyatt wrote. "He opened it up one day this week, and he was really moving." Mariota has averaged 304 yards and 3 TDs on the ground through his first 3 NFL seasons. But there's upside for more. He topped 700 rushing yards in all 3 years at Oregon and totaled 29 TDs. Mariota clocked a 4.52-second 40 time at the Combine and registered a 96th percentile SPARQ score. We're hoping new OC Matt LaFleur fully unleashes Mariota's rushing ability in 2018.

5:04pm EDT 4/28/18

The Titans selected Washington State QB Luke Falk in the 6th round. Falk’s stock took a hit after a relatively disappointing 2017 season, completing 66.9% of his passes for 3,539 yards and 30 TDs. Those marks were all down from his averages of 69.7% completions, 4,515 yards and 38 TDs across the previous 2 years. Falk is coming from HC Mike Leach’s “Air Raid” offense and will need to adjust to a more pro-style scheme. But he does have the size and arm talent to have a shot to develop into an NFL starter. He’ll open his career competing for backup duties with Blaine Gabbert behind Marcus Mariota.

The Titans traded up to select OLB Harold Landry in Round 2 of the NFL Draft. Landry struggled through an injury-shortened final season at Boston College but racked up 16.5 sacks as a junior and 38 total tackles for loss over his sophomore and junior seasons. He'll need to transition to primarily playing with his hand off the ground in Tennessee but presents terrific athleticism and strong pass-rushing moves. He'd sport more IDP upside as a DE than a LB, but there's potential here in pressure-friendly scoring systems.

The Titans traded up from 25th to 22nd in the NFL Draft's 1st round for Alabama LB Rashaan Evans. A versatile player in college, Evans should start right away inside for the Titans, who let Avery Williamson walk in free agency. There will be numbers available for Evans. After playing a lot of edge and seeing more than half of his career snaps last season, though, Evans has a bit more to prove than some other LBs.

The Titans on Tuesday reached a 4-year deal with RB Dion Lewis, according to ESPN's Adam Schefter. We'll see about the specific salary, but we'd certainly bet that Tennessee signed Lewis to at least approximate the size of the role DeMarco Murray left behind. The move indicates the Titans don't want Derrick Henry to turn into the clear backfield leader. There's certainly room for both backs to deliver usable fantasy football value, but neither should climb higher than Round 4 -- if that high -- in early best-ball drafting.

Update: Lewis is getting a 4-year, $20 million deal, according to NFL Network's Mike Garafolo.

The Titans have named Matt LaFleur their new OC. LaFleur was the Rams OC this past season, although HC Sean McVay called the plays. Prior to that, LaFleur spent 7 seasons working under then-OC Kyle Shanahan in Houston, Washington and Atlanta. If LaFleur brings Shanahan's and McVay's creativity to Tennessee, it'll be excellent news for QB Marcus Mariota and the Titans' skill-position guys.

The Titans have named Mike Vrabel their new HC. The former LB is just 8 years removed from the end of his playing career. He's spent the past 7 in the coaching ranks, most recently serving as the Texans' DC this past season. We'll see who Vrabel hires to run his offense.

The Titans and HC Mike Mularkey have "mutually agreed to part ways," a source tells ESPN's Field Yates. It's a shocker after reports as recent as yesterday that Mularkey would receive a contract extension. He took his squad to the 2nd round of the playoffs this year -- but Tennessee's season still felt disappointing in a lot of ways. Most notable was the gigantic step back QB Marcus Mariota took, tossing 13 TDs and 15 INTs. The Titans also stuck with DeMarco Murray as their lead back for far too long. Let's hope Tennessee brings in a coaching staff with more offensive creativity.

Titans TE Jonnu Smith tore his MCL in Saturday night's loss to the Patriots, HC Mike Mularkey said. Smith is expected to be ready for OTAs. The 3rd-rounder flashed sporadically during his rookie season, hauling in 18 balls for 157 yards and 2 scores. Smith will have a shot at a bigger 2018 role with TE Delanie Walker turning 34 in August. Walker is set to hit free agency after next season.

Titans S Johnathan Cyprien (back) is active for today's game against the 49ers. He remains a high-risk IDP option after missing the full week of practice.

Titans S Johnathan Cyprien is questionable for Sunday's game against the 49ers. He missed practice all week with a lower-back injury. We'd try not to use him in IDP lineups even if he turns up active. We'll have to wait until about 3 p.m. ET Sunday to update his game status.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota (knee) isn’t listed on the final Week 15 injury report. He hurt his knee early in last week’s game and has also been playing through hamstring and ankle injuries, HC Mike Mularkey said earlier this week. The injuries have probably at least played a part in his disappointing season. Even in Sunday’s plus matchup against the 49ers, Mariota is just a mid-range QB2.

Titans S Johnathan Cyprien missed practice Wednesday and Thursday, despite playing 97% of the snaps in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. The injury report on the team website lists "hamstring," but The Tennessean reports that he's dealing with a lower-back issue. The hamstring would be more worrisome, given that it cost him 6 games in the 1st half of the season. Either way, we'll keep an eye on his status heading into the weekend.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota was a full-go in Wednesday's practice. He injured his knee early in last week's loss to the Cardinals and is dealing with lingering hamstring and ankle injuries, according to HC Mike Mularkey. None of the ailments will keep Mariota from playing against the 49ers this weekend, but they do make him a shaky fantasy option.

Titans writer Paul Kuharsky reports that QB Marcus Mariota is still dealing with the hamstring injury that he suffered earlier this season, which is complicated by lingering effects from last year's leg fracture. Mariota reportedly might need a "clean-up" procedure on that right ankle after the season. All of this followed word from HC Mike Mularkey that Mariota played through a knee injury in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals. All the leg issues certainly make it easier to understand Mariota's statistical struggles. He'll carry upside into this weekend's matchup with the Niners, but the health questions keep him out of fantasy-starter territory.

Titans QB Marcus Mariota played through a knee injury that he suffered early in Sunday's loss to the Cardinals, HC Mike Mularkey said afterward. It'll be a situation to monitor this coming week, but Mariota should be available for next Sunday's game against the 49ers. He'll be tough to like in fantasy lineups, though, after bombing again today. Mariota has totaled just 493 passing yards and 2 TDs over his last 3 games.

Titans WR Rishard Matthews (hamstring) isn't listed on the final injury report. He practiced all week, including full workouts on Thursday and Friday. The hamstring isn't a concern, but Matthews might see Cardinals CB Patrick Peterson when he lines up outside the numbers this weekend. Matthews at least runs about one third of his routes from the slot.

Titans TE Delanie Walker (ankle) put in a full practice on Friday and isn't listed on the final Week 14 injury report. It looks like his absences on Wednesday and Thursday were precautionary. Walker is safe to keep locked into fantasy lineups. He's tallied 12+ PPR points in 6 straight games.

Titans TE Delanie Walker (ankle) missed his 2nd straight practice on Thursday. He played his usual allotment of snaps last weekend, but it looks like there's at least a chance he misses Sunday's game against the Cardinals. Check back tomorrow for another update.

Titans WR Rishard Matthews (hamstring) was a full-go in Thursday's practice. He's set to return for this weekend's game against the Cardinals. It's unclear if CB Patrick Peterson will shadow Matthews on the outside, but he should at least avoid Peterson in the slot, where he's run 34% of his routes this season.

 
 
 

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