Tennessee Titans OTAs: more questions than answers
By P. L. Colter
The Tennessee Titans’ wild and wacky spring finally came to a close, as players and coaches wrapped up the mandatory portion of mini-camp on Thursday. The team will be on a six week hiatus before returning July 30th for the start of training camp. Now, everyone can finally catch their collective breath.
From hiring Dick LeBeau, to overhauling the defense through free agency, to selecting Marcus Mariota, to overhauling the offense through the draft, the Titans have been quite busy. The influx of fresh new faces brought excitement to the fan base.
But it also brought about questions.
How do the new players stack up to the current roster? How does their arrival affect the current depth chart? How many will start against Tampa Bay in the season opener?
Mini-camp was supposed to provide a glimpse, a preview of this year’s new-look Titans. But as camp closed, fans were left with more questions than answers.
Plenty of positions struggled last year for Tennessee, on both sides of the ball. The Titans did a good job of addressing those positions this offseason, but injuries prevented the start of several crucial camp battles.
On the offensive side of the ball, the running back position was arguably one of the least effective for Tennessee last year. David Cobb (rb) and Jalston Fowler (fb) were drafted this year to not only add depth, but in Cobb’s case, push incumbent starter Bishop Sankey for the number one spot.
That camp battle never materialized, as Cobb missed the majority of OTAs with a hamstring injury. Sankey received the lion’s share of the starter reps, followed by fellow veteran Dexter McCluster.
When Tennessee selected Dorial Green-Beckham in the second round, fans salivated over the mammoth rookie. And why wouldn’t they? 6’5 – 235 pound wide receivers with speed and agility don’t walk through your locker room everyday.
With newly acquired veteran receivers Harry Douglas and Hakeem Nicks already in the fold via free agency, everyone was anxious to see how DGB would affect the depth chart. We will have to wait until training camp, because a gimpy hamstring made Green-Beckham a bystander for the majority of camp.
On the offensive line, an equal mix of rookies and veterans were brought on board to revamp that unit. The primary battle is at right tackle, where newly acquired free agent Byron Bell will try to hold off rookie third round pick Jeremiah Poutasi.
Injuries caused Poutasi to also play guard this camp, putting that battle on hold. The other battle is at center, where rookie sixth round pick Andy Gallik tries to unseat current veteran starter Brian Schwenke. Both missed considerable time this offseason due to injuries as well.
Dec 8, 2013; Landover, MD, USA; Washington Redskins outside linebacker Brian Orakpo (98) stands on the sidelines prior to the Redskins game against the Kansas City Chiefs at FedEx Field. The Chiefs won 45-10. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports
The Linebacker position was an area of need for Tennessee, and they did their best to address it. Brian Orakpo, the Titans’ prized free agent, has yet to take the field with his recovering shoulder. Jonathan Massaquoi, another offseason lb acquisition, has also yet to take the field while recovering from injury.
With Zach Brown fully recovered, Titans fans were looking forward to seeing them all on the field together. Guess we’ll have to wait on that one, too.
The second corner position, opposite of Jason McCourty, was also a problem for Tennessee last year. Perrish Cox was brought in via free agency to compete with Blidi Wreh-Wilson for the spot, but that battle has also yet to materialize.
Yep, you guessed it…one of them was injured. Wreh-Wilson.
But do not be discouraged Titans fans, all of the above mentioned players are on schedule to fully participate in training camp next month.
And most importantly, there was no mention of the qb position. The Titans are healthy there, they have their guy, and so far he’s looked the part.
Next: First Down And Tenn: Marcus Mariota Still Unsigned