Sep 23, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans corner back Tommie Campbell (37) returns a kick for a touchdown against the Detroit Lions during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports
Guess who’s making noise at OTAs for the 2013-14 Tennessee Titans? It has been said before but Tommie Campbell is putting his combination of speed and height to good use. At 6-3, 205 pounds and with 40-yard dash potential at 4.31 seconds, Campbell continues to catch the eye of defensive coordinator Jerry Gray. Gray claimed, “Tommie Campbell has stood out, he’s done a really good job of covering.”
It’s nothing new for Campbell, who earned the same praise when he was supposed to win the No. 2 cornerback job heading into the 2012-13 NFL season. Instead, Campbell rarely saw the field. His talents weren’t suited for the types of zone defenses that the Titans used. That should change as the Titans shift toward a defensive scheme that uses more man-to-man coverage.
Assuming Alterraun Verner returns to nickelback, Campbell enters this offseason in a three-way battle for the No. 2 cornerback job. His competition includes 2013 third-round pick Blidi Wreh-Wilson and 2012 fourth-round pick Coty Sensabaugh. These players are hoping to join Jason McCourty on the outside. That would allow Verner to move inside against spread formations.
Campbell has all of the athletic tools to win this job. He has the motivation from when he was out of football and working as an airport janitor. For Campbell, a good training camp could solidify his role as a No. 2 cornerback and someone who can cover bigger receivers (e.g. Houston Texans wide receiver Andre Johnson). A bad training camp could end his Titans—and possibly NFL—career.
Two areas that Campbell must address before he can take that next step in his progression: intelligence and attitude. In December 2011, a lack of both of those traits was displayed when the Titans lost to the 0-13 Indianapolis Colts. Campbell was flagged for four special-teams penalties. He was eventually benched. Those types of avoidable mental errors have kept him off the field.
At age 26 (in September), Campbell may not get another opportunity for extended playing time. What he does with this opportunity will depend on his intelligence, attitude and comfort with a man-to-man scheme.
What do our readers believe? Will Campbell keep his Titans (and potentially NFL career) going for another year? Is this the season that Campbell takes the jump and wins the No. 2 cornerback job? Answer the poll below.