Nov 27, 2011; Nashville,TN, USA; Tennessee Titans middle linebacker Colin McCarthy (52) celebrates intercepting a pass from Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Josh Freeman (5) (not pictured) with teammate Tennessee outside linebacker Akeem Ayers (56) during the second half at LP Field. Tennessee defeated Tampa Bay 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans Training Camp Battles: Defense

Dec 30, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans outside linebacker Akeem Ayers (56) is congratulated by teammate Tennessee defensive end Kamerion Wimbley (95) for sacking Jacksonville Jaguars quarterback Chad Henne (7) (not pictured)during the second half at LP Field. Titans won 38-20. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

After one of the worst defensive seasons in Tennessee Titans history, the organization believes it has changed the defense’s attitude with the addition of new players (Bernard Pollard, Sammie Hill, George Wilson) and coaches (Gregg Williams). Here are some upcoming camp battles of note.

No.2 Cornerback: Alterraun Verner vs. Blidi Wreh-Wilson vs. Tommie Campbell

Verner was the starter for all of last season. He was a solid NFL starter. This offseason, coaches have experimented with him at free safety. It is believed that the move was merely to see if he could provide depth at the position. Verner’s skill-set is better suited for the Nickel because he plays well in the slot and because of his size.

Wreh-Wilson was one of the Titans third-round draft picks. He is tall, rangy and fits the bill for an outside press corner. During OTA’s he showed flashes but also struggled as any rookie would be expected too. His ability will give him playing time but his inexperience will keep him from starting.

Campbell is one of the most intriguing players on the roster. He is tall, strong and fast. A prototypical outside press corner. After being a seventh-round draft pick and with his noted back story, not many people gave him a chance to make the roster a couple years back. After multiple plays on special teams and consistent improvement at the cornerback position, he has a real chance to challenge for a starting spot on this team. A solid training camp performance and some big plays in the preseason might seal the deal for Campbell.


Middle Linebacker: Moise Fokou vs. Colin McCarthy

Foiku was a starter a times for the Colts last season. He seemed to be a solid player but not the caliber of player the Titans want starting on their defense. From all accounts, Foiku was solid in OTA’s and won the coaches over with his athleticism. Look for Foiku to provide quality depth at the linebacker position.

McCarthy had an outstanding offseason program last year and earned the honor of defensive captain. He was a starter from Day 1 before a severely sprained ankle against the New England Patriots derailed almost all of his season. He was able to come back and contribute but was never even close to 100 percent. McCarthy has shown the playmaking ability and leadership skills that the Titans want from their linebackers. Now he needs to put it all together and have a full season injury free before they completely commit to him at his position.

The Titans have a nice mix of youth and experience of the defense this season. Look for them to use multiple looks, and blitz more from the outside. The infusion of proven veterans and a new defensive attitude should make this defense much improved from last season.


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