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NASHVILLE – The Tennessee Titans wrapped up their mandatory minicamps on Thursday, June 8th.
Much like Day 2, there were a lot of things to unpack as players, coaches and media converged on Baptist Sports Park. Here are some of the highlights:
Work, Improve, Work Some More!
If there is one thing about the Titans, it’s that Mike Vrabel is going to be Mike Vrabel.
The fifth year head coach is as even keel as any, but had a quiet fire about him as he took the podium before practice.
When asked about players who were absent from field work, such as Kristian Fulton, he offered optimism stating: “Kristian will be ready to go, excited to have him.” Fulton, who is projected to be a starter going into year four, was not seen during individual or team periods this week. Vrabel assured that he will be ready saying: “Kristian is here, he’s under contract and I’d imagine he’ll be ready for training camp.” As for Caleb Farley and Dillon Radunz, they are working but Vrabel did say they won’t be ready for Training Camp as of right now.
Outside of individual team members, Vrabel was also asked about what position groups stood out thus far. He offered some praise to the offensive line: “I thought there were some cool pockets yesterday [Wednesday]…saw that the quarterbacks were able to step up in the pocket, deliver some passes.” When asked about the defensive backs group and how good they can be once healthy he said: “Not really, not now. They’ll determine that, it’s not going to be me hoping that they’re special.” He went on to say: “you gotta go out there, you gotta cover your guy, you’ve got to communicate, you’ve got to be able to run multiple coverages.” He closed out his statement with: “I don’t think anyone is focused on anything being special, it’s about improvement.”
Vrabel’s mentality is infectious and as of now this Titans team has plenty to look forward to. Players and Coaches alike are on the same page.
From The Top Down
There have been a lot of additions to this Tennessee staff. One addition sticks out a little more than others, as new defensive passing game coordinator and cornerbacks coach Chris Harris has joined the fray.
Harris has the kind of presence that can be felt and it trickles down to the players. Whenever the DB group makes a play, Harris is just as pumped as the guys who made it. Veteran Kevin Byard said of Harris: “it’s always great to have your coach out there, flying around…having fun. If a guy makes a play, he’s running down, 30 yards down the field excited.” That’s huge for a team with such a fiery head coach as Vrabel.
It doesn’t stop at Harris though. Each coach is a ball of fire. Tim Kelly, Shane Bowen, Scott Booker, Ryan Crow and Terrell Williams all look like if they could they would put pads on and get in the scrum.
One of the most unorthodox things that stood out on Thursday was the defensive line drills. There were your normal hand work, bag work and footwork drills but it seems that the Titans are employing some other methods as well.
For about two minutes defensive lineman Denico Autry and edge rusher Arden Key had on boxing gloves and were throwing combos on the field goal post. It was interesting to see some of the different ways the Titans are helping to improve their players skills.
The Titans have some questions surrounding their offense but they were cooking in team periods on Thursday.
Tennessee did some more redzone work and the offense showed some fire, scoring two touchdowns on their stingy defense.
The two most impressive touchdowns came on strikes from Ryan Tannehill and Will Levis.
The Tannehill touchdown was a 20 yard pass to rookie Tyjae Spears between two defenders. Spears, who has shown excellent hands during camp, seems to have gained some trust from Tannehill as a target.
The second touchdown come on a 20 yard strike down the middle from Levis to rookie tight end Josh Whyle. Whyle had a drop earlier during the team period but redeemed himself.
Tennessee’s offense has the makings to be competitive and the defense seems to respect the weapons that are on the roster. This is a good sign going into training camp.
Friends, How Many Of Us Have Them…
The Titans are a team of competitors but one thing that isn’t shown is the camaraderie. This team is full of fun, laughter and smiles.
Whether it’s Arden Key and Jeffrey Simmons joking with each other or Denico Autry throwing jabs at his fellow teammates, this team has a sense of closeness you like to see.
The best teams in the NFL have very tight locker rooms and the Titans have one of the most close knit groups you’ll see in the league.
Minicamps are over, training camp is coming up and we are getting ever closer to the start of live action. This Titans team has so much potential and hopefully they realize it as they move through their off-season programs.