Titans TE Craig Stevens to retire after eight seasons

Facing a Panthers defense that excels at stuffing the run, the Falcons need Matt Ryan to snap out of his season-long malaise. Will Atlanta finally funnel the offense through Julio Jones? The All-Pro receiver is on pace for one of the worst seasons of his career — 85 catches, 1,234 receiving yards, two TDs. Jones has been a fighter jet lost at sea much of the season, earning only one 100-yard game and 10-plus targets in only two of seven matchups (for reference, he had 10-plus targets in 18 of 30 games from 2015-16). Matching up against Panthers corner James Bradberry is no picnic, but the Falcons need to rely on Jones on Sunday to keep pace in the NFC South.

What will life be like for Cam Newton the rest of this season without Kelvin Benjamin? Carolina traded away their top target on Tuesday. When ex-GM Dave Gettleman surrounded Newton with Benjamin and Devin Funchess the rationale was to give the QB big targets who can corral Cam’s frequent high throws. The Panthers’ party line for Tuesday’s jettisoning of Benjamin was to get more speed on the field in hopes to open up a putrid run game. Newton will now be throwing to Funchess, Russell Shepard, and rookie Curtis Samuel as his receivers. Samuel appears to be the key but has just seven receptions on the season. Christian McCaffrey will continue to play a huge role in the passing game, but where will Newton go when he needs a big play, especially in the red zone where Benjamin thrived? Sunday’s division tilt will hopefully provide some answers as to how OC Mike Shula plans to solve the riddle.

The preseason matchup between the Carolina Panthers and Tennessee Titans was suspended with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter due to lightning adjacent to the stadium.

Both teams returned to the field and resumed play after the 30-minute weather delay. During the wait, the team’s social media departments decided to suggest some ways to pass the time.

“Craig is a consummate pro,” Titans head coach Mike Mularkey said. “I have enjoyed working with him as a position coach and as a head coach, and he was someone who could always be counted on. He worked at his craft and was always accountable for his play. The qualities we use to describe players here — Tough, Dependable, Team-First — those are the qualities Craig had as a player. There has been an ongoing discussion with Craig, and we wanted to give him time to reach the decision he thought was best for him and his family. We are proud to call him a Titan, and he is always welcome around this team. We wish him and his family the best in his next chapter of life.”

Stevens played in 109 career games (72 starts), including all 16 matchups during the 2015 season (11 starts). In his eight-year career, Stevens amassed 60 receptions for 724 yards and six touchdowns.

Like, for instance, attempting an onside kick on the opening play of the game. Ryan Succop approached the ball on Sunday and skipped it 13 yards right into the waiting arms of Packers special teamer Joe Thomas Jr. Chris Boswell is just happy people are finally talking about something else.

We commend the onions here, and perhaps the Football Gods rewarded the Titans on DeMarco Murray’s first carry of the day.

Marcus Mariota suffered a fractured fibula in the third quarter of Saturday’s loss to the Jacksonville Jaguars, coach Mike Mularkey told reporters. He is out for the remainder of the season and will undergo surgery in the coming days.

The Tennessee Titans quarterback had an air cast placed on his right leg after his foot was bent awkwardly on a sack by Jags defensive lineman Sheldon Day.

No matter how much genuine interest teams are showing, Robinson is wise to drop plenty of breadcrumbs along the way. Naturally, the goal is to paint the image of multiple front offices swarming the Titans with mind-blowing offers.

Any team with true interest is likely chasing one of the top two quarterbacks — Cal’s Jared Goff or North Dakota State’s Carson Wentz — before the Browns take the clock at No. 2. The 49ers (No. 7 pick), Eagles (No. 8) and Rams (No. 15) all make sense, but we still expect Tennessee to stay home and grab the player of their choice.