Training Camp...

It starts tomorrow. And we couldn’t be more excited. This is what we’ve been waiting for since that ugly loss to the Bolts’ back in January. A measly six points…Ugh.

Time to move on though. Here are a few things to keep an eye on over the course of the next month…

1. The progress of the new offense:

Mike Heimerdinger is back to handle the offense after a three-year absence, and does he ever have his hands full. Gone are the day of Steve, Eddie, Wycheck and Mason. Instead, Vince Young and a cast of characters will lead this squad. Bringing tight end Alge Crumpler into the mix will certainly help if he is healthy, and resigning Justin Gage, while not very exciting, may have been one of team’s the best off-season moves. He and Vince certainly had chemistry together last year that hopefully they will be able to build on. There are also a number of young receivers to keep an eye on as well. Roydell Williams should only miss the first few days of training camp, but will he return to form as one of the teams more reliable options if and when he is healthy? Will Justin McCareins rediscover his ability and regain his confidence now that he is back in a Titans uniform? What role will Brandon Jones play? Can he stay healthy and realize some of the potential he showed at the end of the 2006 season and at points last year? If so, he could be a great third target. For that matter, will Mike Williams ever warrant being taken with the 10th overall selection in the 2005 draft? There have been reports out of Titans camp that he has lost up to 30 lbs. and is in the best shape of his career. And let’s not forget about Brien Ealy and Lavell Hawkins. Ealy was an undrafted free agent that caught on with the team last year because of his chemistry with VY in off-season workouts in Texas. If he saw the field more, could he be a legitimate receiver in this league and another big target in Young’s arsenal? And Hawkins, the fourth round pick out of California, should be watched closely as he could certainly be the wild card in this bunch. He was hailed as a nice sleeper pick, and a guy that many scouts said was actually the better of the two Cal receivers (DeShaun Jackson being the other). I think that he could play the slot, but also be a home run threat given his speed. It will be interesting to see where he fits in.

Well that was a short breakdown of the WR position, but what about the running backs you ask? I’m not sure that I’ve really got the answer to that so I’ll keep it concise. LenDale White was the leading rusher for the team last season, but many would argue that was by default. After letting Travis Henry walk in the off-season (thank goodness) the Titans were left with White (who was entering his second year), Chris Henry (a rookie that spent most of the season on the sidelines or not in the stadium because of a four game suspension for violating the NFL substance policy) and Chris Brown (nuff’ said). This season, Brown is no longer with the team (Texans) and it looks as though White again will be counted on to carry the workload, albeit at a 3.7 ypc clip. This year though, the team spent their first round pick on the versatile Chris Johnson out of Eastern Carolina University, a player many scouts compare to Brian Westbrook because of his blazing speed and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield. Word is that ‘Dinger is licking his chops to find out how many ways he can get this guy on the field. If nothing else, it should be exciting and make for some highlight reel worthy plays.

So there you have the WR’s and RB’S, but what about the guy running the show? Well, this will be Heimerdinger’s biggest challenge. Entering his second year, Vince Young had nowhere to go but up. After a courageous late season run in the 2006 campaign, the Titans fell just short of making the playoffs in Young’s rookie season. And while the team’s record may have improved last year, leading to their first playoff berth since 2003, Young’s play certainly did not. If this team is going to go anywhere this year, Vince is going to have to step his game up and help turn some of those Bironas field goals (which don’t get me wrong, we love) into touchdowns. Apparently Norm Chow and Vince never really got on the same page, which in ways is encouraging (silver lining), seeing as how close we seemed at times to actually being a legitimately good team. So the task of creating some sort of cohesiveness on the offensive end now falls squarely on Mike Heimerdinger’s shoulders. He’s got a young crew to work with that has shown signs of potential before, so if nothing else it should be interesting to watch.

2. The defensive line:

This was our strongest unit on the defensive side of the ball last year, but after losing Antwan Odom, Travis LaBoy and Randy Starks to free agency, how will the new guys respond? We all know KVB and Haynesworth are gonna hold down the right side of the line if they’re in there, but the left side and the subs will have to really step up if the Titans want to stick to their motto of winning the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. This means that along with Jevon Kearse, rookies James Jones (who has impressed coaches thus far this off-season at tackle) and William Hayes will have to play big right away. A daunting task for most rookies, but don’t underestimate how well prepared Jim Washburn will have this unit.

3. The chemistry:

The 2007-2008 Titans were a team that most pundits discounted a number of times over the course of the season, but somehow they still hung around to make some noise. A lot of that is a credit to head coach Jeff Fisher and his ability to get the most out of his players. The balance of veterans (Bulluck, KVB, Hope, Harper, Thornton) and younger players (VY, LenDale, Griffin, also contributed to a less volatile situation on and off the field. Oh, and some guy named “Pacman” wasn’t around to “make it rain” anymore. This year, it will be interesting to see how some of the new leadership brought in (Crumpler, Kearse) and some of the rookies (Johnson, Jones, Hawkins) all fit into this team. It will also be interesting to watch the Haynesworth story unfold over the course of the season. Will he pick up where he left off last season, terrorizing offensive linemen, quarterbacks and running backs alike? Can he stay healthy and on the field for a full season? Is he going to even be there for the start of training camp? The answer(s): Let’s just hope so.

So there you have it. It all starts tomorrow at 3:30 CST here at Baptist Sports Park in Nashville. Some of these questions and position battles will work themselves out over the course of the next month. Others will have to wait until they suit up on Sundays. Either way though, we have a lot to be excited about as fans for this upcoming season. Kellen and I will be there on Saturday to take it all in first hand. If you are planning on making it out as well, let us know, because we always love to talk some football. Hopefully we’ll see you there…

Here is the full training camp schedule below. To find out more visit www.titansonline.com.

Friday, July 25
Practice: 3:30 p.m.
• Autographs: Colin Allred, Jake Scott, Kevin Vickerson

Saturday, July 26
Practice: 3:30 p.m.
• Autographs: Dwayne Blakley, Quinton Ganther, Chris Hope, Enoka Lucas

Sunday, July 27
Practice: 3:30 p.m.
• Autographs: Calvin Lowry, Justin McCareins, Jamie Petrowski, Ulrich Winkler

Monday, July 28
Practice: 3:30 p.m.
• Autographs: Michael Griffin, Ahmard Hall, Jason Murphy

Tuesday, July 29
Practice: 8:30 a.m.
• Autographs: Jerrell Freeman, Jason Jones, Brock Pasteur, Eric Scott, Fernando Velasco
Practice: 3:30 p.m.
• Autographs: Jason Jones, Brock Pasteur, Eric Scott, Fernando Velasco, LenDale White

Wednesday, July 30
Practice: 3:30 p.m.
• Autographs: Dave Ball, Keith Bulluck, Jorge Cordova, Ryan Fowler

Thursday, July 31
Practice: 3:30 p.m.
• Autographs: Isaac Snell, Kyle Vanden Bosch, Mike Williams, Paul Williams

Friday, Aug. 1
Practice: 3:30 p.m.
• Autographs: Cortland Finnegan, Josh Miller, Josh Stamer, David Stewart

Saturday, Aug. 2
Practice: 11:30 a.m.
Autographs: Tony Brown, Kurt Campbell, Sean Conover, David Thornton

Monday, Aug. 4
Practice: 8:30 a.m.
Practice: 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 5
Practice: 11:30 a.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 6
Practice: 8:30 a.m. (with Rams)
Practice: 3:30 p.m. (with Rams)

Thursday, Aug. 7
Special Teams Practice: 8:30 a.m. (with Rams)
Practice: 3:30 p.m. (with Rams

Saturday, Aug. 9
Titans vs. Rams, 7 p.m., LP Field

Monday, Aug. 11
Practice: 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 12
Practice: 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 13
Practice: 3:30 p.m.

Friday, Aug. 15
Titans vs. Raiders, 7 p.m., LP Field

Monday, Aug. 18
Practice: 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Aug. 19
Practice: 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday, Aug. 20
Practice: 3:30 p.m. (final training camp practice)

Next Titans Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 2121 Sep1:00at Cincinnati BengalsBuy Tickets

Tags: Tennessee Titans Tennessee Titans Training Camp

comments powered by Disqus