It was like Christmas morning for many Tennessee Titans fans on Friday as the 2015 season got underway with the opening of training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park, and many got their first look at the new face of the franchise. Most were pleasantly pleased with what they saw.
As expected, Marcus Mariota showed up ready for work, but there were some other surprises on day one, up and down the lineup.
Most could tell the 2014 Heisman Trophy winner had spent time in the gym, and the playbook. Paul Kuharsky from ESPN said that Mariota was sharp in his first practice, and was 13 for 18 in 11 on 11 drills with no interceptions.
Tight End, Delanie had this to say via the ESPN report:
"“You could tell he was training this offseason, really in the playbook,” tight endDelanie Walker said. “He called the huddle with poise, said the plays like he knew them, ran the offense very well. That’s exciting to see when you’ve got a young quarterback coming in and ready to go.”"
One of Mariota’s misses was high to rookie wide receiver, Dorial Green-Beckham and another was a little wide to Dexter McCluster.
The good news for Mariota, was there were no interceptions during the team drills, and he was able to use a hard count to draw the defense off-sides on two occasions.
Nicks was a first-round draft pick by the New Your Giants back in 2009 out of North Carolina, and is looking to get his carreer back on track with the Titans. Most were surprised that he was getting first-team snaps ahead of Justin Hunter, Green-Beckham and Harry Douglas.
One receiver position has pretty-much been given to Kendall Wright, but it would be nice if a veteran like Hakeem Nicks could step up, and return to his Super Bowl form. The Titans, and more importantly, Marcus Mariota could use a go-to receiver that can stretch the field, and put some pressure on opposing offenses.
Dorial Green-Beckham is the future of this franchise, and was given special attention on Friday. The youngster from Missouri/Oklahoma missed all of 2014, and was dealing with hamstring problems during the OTA’s.
"Receivers coach Shawn Jefferson talked with Green-Beckham after almost route he ran, and head coach Ken Whisenhunt also spent individual time with Green-Beckham. The talks appeared to be instructional in nature, as opposed to criticism."
Wreh-Wilson was reported to look somewhat rusty at the start of practice, but improved as the day progressed.
The big story on Friday in Music City however, was Marcus Mariota. David Climer from the Tennessean reported that the Oregon star’s athleticism and lively arm were on display throughout the practice session and he appeared to be getting a handle on Ken Whisenhunts style of offense.
"Many of the estimated 1,500 fans that came to the Titans complex on Friday did so to get a glimpse into the future. Mariota jerseys flew off the rack at a souvenir stand just inside the gate. He was cheered at every turn."
All indications are that everyone is pleased with the first-round pick and that he is set to return this franchise back to the glory days. Only time will tell, but it appears that the Titans made a wise decision with this youngster, and he is doing all the right things to do his part.