A good crowd gathered at Baptist Sports Park on Saturday to see the team back on the field, braving some pretty oppressive heat and humidity in the process. The practice was pretty typical, with a lot of the guys going through the motions, but there were a few things that stuck out:
- Albert Haynesworth and Chris Johnson were both in camp finally, giving Titans fans their first up close glimpse of the first round pick. Johnson looked good in his first day, showing flashes of his speed in non-contact drills and during kickoff returns. Jevon Kearse was still excused from camp to attend the funeral of former Titan, Samari Rolle’s father.
- Also participating in kick-off drills was recently re-acquired receiver Justin McCareins, Michael Griffin, Chris Carr, Chris Davis and Lavelle Hawkins. It’s a spot that the Titans can use some marked improvement at so it will be interesting to see who fills the return roles this year. If the return unit can give VY and the offense good field position, and the coverage unit can keep the other team pinned back, it certainly will bode well for this team. Jeff Fisher’s bread-and-butter is field position, and if the special teams can win those matchups it will allow them to dictate the tempo of the game much more easily.
- In WR drills Mike Williams looked good, having lost 30 pounds in the off-season. He had a couple of very impressive grabs, including a nice deep ball where he had to go up and get it. Could a better physique and another year with the team help him realize some of that 10th overall pick potential?
- Defensive Line is probably the unit with the least amount of uncertainty as to what the coach thinks. Coach Jim Washburn had absolutely no hesitation letting anyone within earshot (quite a long distance, when he gets going), hear what he thought a few players were doing wrong. A few people in the vicinity probably paid as much attention to Washburn as they did to the action on the field.
- As for the most vocal player, that of course was linebacker Keith Bulluck. He was constantly talking up the defense and playfully goading the offense all afternoon. One series during red zone drills saw Bulluck let a pass slip through his hands, only to be caught by Just McCareins in the back of the end zone (or just out of the back depending on who you listened to). Keith followed that up with the (printable) quote of the day: “Ya’ll ain’t gonna score on none of us. How bout’ that?”
- The funniest exchange had to be back-to-back plays featuring LenDale White and Cortland Finnegan. After stripping the ball from White, Finnegan had a beaming, sheepish grin for LenDale the entire way back to the line. White responded with a rare stiff-arm in a no contact setting that everyone got a little bit of a laugh out of.
- Kyle Vanden Bosch is an intimidating dude. He doesn’t breathe, he snorts. That guy would be scary to line up across from.
- It’s hard to imagine he’ll get too many carries over the course of the season, but RB Quinton Ganther looked pretty impressive with some strong cuts running some routes through traffic.
- New addition Alge Crumpler also made some very strong grabs, including a nice pass thrown by Punter Craig Hentrich during a fake field goal. Crumpler was the biggest addition the team made this off-season, and should provide some comfort for Vince Young this year. Assuming everyone stays healthy, the third year quarterback should have more receiving threats this year than at any other point in his pro career. For whatever that’s worth…
- With weather conditions being pretty good (obviously never any kind of certainty), I wouldn’t be surprised to see Rob Bironas hit a 70-yard field goal. He was knocking em’ dead from 55-60 yards out, with plenty of leg to spare.
All in all, it was a typical day at training camp. Sweltering heat, a couple of nice plays (and a couple of bad ones), some funny moments and a flying obscenity or two (hundred). If nothing else, this team will keep it interesting and stay competitive. I would be surprised if they aren’t in it down to the wire again this year. It’s a tough division, as it has been for the past few years, so the Titans are going to have to hold their own if they plan on returning to the playoffs.
If you’ve got a training camp thought or are planning on attending any, let us know. We’d love to hear your observations. Also, we were hoping to have some pictures to accompany this post, but the camera was forgotten in our rush to make it to camp on time. A nice fellow that we met named Chris was going to send us some of his shots, but we haven’t received them yet. If we do, we’ll post them, but in the meantime, here’s a few links to some pics and some interesting stories from this weekend. Hope everyone had a wonderful one. Enjoy!