The 2014 Tennessee Titans broke camp today on a hot but thankfully windy day at St. Thomas Sports Park in Nashville, Tennessee. Here are my initial thoughts and as usual I will update as I go through photographs and video from today. First my standard disclaimer: I cannot possibly see and observe everything so I recommend you follow the other Titans writers on the scene as well.
Let’s start with the most important position. No not that one but the coaching staff. For the most part everyone appeared to be in good shape and the practice had a nice feel to it. The tempo was very good and everyone seemed ready and eager to get started and do work.
The quarterbacks looked good for the most part. Jake Locker is moving well and looks to be in good shape. However, he threw far more errant passes than I would have preferred to see on the first day, including two right to Kam Wimbley and Bernard Pollard. The Pollard interception was particularly funny but sad because he was calling Locker’s name loudly and repeatedly right before he threw the ball right to him. It likely would have been a pick six too.
I must say Charlie Whitehurst looked very good today. He was throwing strikes and his ball had nice placement and very good spin and velocity. I was impressed. Second year man Tyler Wilson had a nice day from what I was able to observe as did rookie Zach Mettenberger. I did not see any lingering issues with his ACL injury thus far.
Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter looked good. Real good. Both made nice plays today and it’s great to see Hunter in shape and looking so good early on in camp this year. Every year a young wide receiver catches my eye and this year thus far it’s Jaz Reynolds. Mike Preston also acquitted himself quite nicely today.
Bishop Sankey had a nice day and looked good running smoothly between the tackles. However, it was offensive weapon Dexter McCluster who stole the show today. I am excited about the possibilities for him in this offense this year. He was lined up in the backfield as well as spread out and his speed was as good as advertised. It was very exciting to watch.
I’m reasonably certain tight end Delanie Walker has never been out of shape in his life but he looked good today. Like his leader on defense Bernard Pollard, he showed up in full gear and looked very good. Craig Stevens caught a nice pass and Taylor Thompson looked good so far catching a few nice passes as well.
I didn’t get a chance to watch the offensive line as much as I would have liked and will try to do that as camp progresses. I did see Byron Stingily handling business and I remain excited about his potential. Also the young offensive lineman brought into camp as undrafted free agents were hustling down the field helping block in the run game and it was pretty fun to watch.
On defense, Derrick Morgan got a lot of reps at left outside linebacker while Kam Wimbley did the same at right outside linebacker. I haven’t checked to see the numbers but Morgan has slimmed down and while he has never been out of shape in camp he looked very good today. Wimbley likewise always stays in shape and while I’m a big fan he struggled in coverage today. I do think he will be fine in the end switching back to that role in the 3-4.
Akeem Ayers showed up today in full gear as well. Wesley Woodyward was flying around the ball all morning and seems excited with his new role on the Titans. I suspect he is going to be a lot of fun to watch this year. He plays a lot faster than I expected.
Early on the cornerbacks struggled a bit but Jason McCourty made some really nice plays in coverage. Coty Sensabaugh settled down and by the end of camp looked very comfortable manning that right cornerback slot. I remain convinced he is the frontrunner there. While it’s way too early to call the job, Blidi Wreh-Wilson did not look ready to be the right cornerback. Tommie Campbell got second team reps at left cornerback.
If anyone stood out on defense it’s Bernard Pollard which should shock no one. Pollard showed up in full gear raring to go and was every bit the leader he exhibited his first year with the Titans. I could be wrong but it seemed to me Mike Griffin had put on about 5 to 10 pounds of muscle. He was most assuredly not out of shape and he definitely looked good. I did not see George Wilson and see from tweets he was missing today due to a death in his family. We send out our condolences.
I didn’t get to observe the defensive line as much as I would like but Al Woods stood out and I did see him playing that nose tackle role. Ropati Pituitua got a lot of reps at defensive end and I think he has slimmed down a bit also. I will definitely pay more attention to the lines over the next few practices.
Special teams work was conducted on the opposite end and I didn’t get to observe much of it. I did see kicks booming through the goal posts and will be sure to get more information on that portion of the team as camp progresses as well.
One final note and that is Vanderbilt Commodores head coach Derek Mason was in attendance and he really does seem like a swell guy. He was interacting with fans and looked to be having a good time. I think the Dores are in good hands.