The Tennessee Titans’ 2015 season officially starts on Friday, and with so many new faces, several starting positions are now up for grabs. As we countdown to training camp, we’ll discuss the upcoming camp battles.
Today we discuss the starting running back position.
Key Departure: Shonn Greene
Key Acquisition: David Cobb (rookie 5th round pick)
Tennessee’s dismal rushing attack last year was two fold. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt made no commitment to it, ranking 29th in the league in attempts (356). And when he did call a run, his carousel of running backs were seldom effective. Bishop Sankey, Shonn Greene, and Dexter McCluster combined for a paltry 3.7 yards per carry.
This training camp, look for coach Whisenhunt to show a better commitment to the run. David Cobb was selected in the 5th round of this year’s draft, and will be given every opportunity to unseat Sankey as the team’s lead back. Cobb is behind the eight ball after missing the majority of mini-camp with a hamstring injury.
Sankey led the team with 569 yards rushing last year, but by all accounts, he underachieved. Coach Whisenhunt was critical of Sankey’s footwork and lower body strength, which caused him to put on extra pounds of muscle. He’s hoping that it will lead to more broken tackles this season.
Dexter McCluster was the forgotten man, notching just 40 rushing attempts on the season. His role this year is just as unclear with the arrival of Cobb and rookie full back Jalston Fowler.
Bishop Sankey should get the first crack at the starting job this season. He took the majority of the reps in mini-camp with the rookie hobbled, and has a full year of the offense under his belt. Hamstrings can be tricky, so Cobb may be brought along slowly.
Ideally, the Titans would like to use both running backs a ton given their contrast in style. Cobb brings the straight line, power back approach while Sankey is more of a shifty scat-back.
Whoever is best in pass protection will ultimately claim the job.