The Tennessee Titans concluded their offseason program last Thursday. They report to training camp on July 30th, then don the pads and go at it for real the following day. Consider the next six weeks the calm before the storm. There will be little to no down time once they return.
To the casual Titans fan that doesn’t really pay attention until training camp, here are the five biggest takeaways from Tennessee’s offseason.
1. Coach Whisenhunt wasn’t bluffing:
Long before drafting Marcus Mariota, Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt went on record…stating that he would start right away if selected. Coach Whiz echoed those sentiments on draft night, and has kept his word every day since then. Mariota reported to rookie camp as the unquestioned starting quarterback, and has taken the starter reps when the veterans reported for OTAs. Credit Whisenhunt and staff for cutting any potential qb controversy off at the knees. The team has followed suit, making Mariota’s transition a seamless one so far.
2. Mariota’s mystique:
Tennessee desperately needed a franchise qb, one that could be the face of the franchise. Marcus Mariota has been both so far. Not only has Mariota given the Titans a bankable commodity off the field (led the NFL in Jersey sales right after being drafted), but he’s also impressed his teammates and coaches on the field during OTAs. Mariota has done nothing to discredit coach Whiz’s earlier statements, and that’s an encouraging sign for a fan base starving for a qb they can believe in.
3. Late to the party:
The Titans brought in several players this offseason to compete for starting jobs, but the vast majority of them have yet to get going because of various injuries. Brian Orakpo, brought in to start at linebacker, has yet to take the field. Dorial Green-Beckham and David Cobb, two rookies that were slated to push for starting positions, were also MIA due to injuries. And there are also veteran players like Blidi Wreh-Wilson, Sammie Hill, Jonathan Massaquoi, and Michael Griffin, who have missed OTAs…and will be counted on heavily this fall.
4. OTA MVP:
Tennessee’s MVP of OTAs would have to be newly acquired free agent cornerback Perrish Cox. After intercepting a pass on the first day, Cox continued to impress throughout camp. And that’s a great thing for a Titans defense that struggled at the position he is playing right now. Having two solid corners (Jason McCourty) would then allow Dick Lebeau to get creative up front. But according to coach Whiz, returning corner Blidi Wreh-Wilson will still get every opportunity to battle Cox for that position in training camp. Wreh-Wilson has a lot of catching up to do.
5. Camp Battles:
If you haven’t been keeping up since the draft, then you really haven’t missed anything so far. Mariota vs Mettenberger was a cancelled fight, and the above listed injuries prevented various other position battles from starting. So why is this important? Because all of those players should be ready by July 30th, giving them a small window of time to prove their worth. With so many position battles, and so little time, training camp should make for “Hard Knocks” worthy…must see tv.
But for now…we wait.