John Glennon from the Tennessean and Paul Kuharsky from ESPN are both reporting that fifth-round draft pick, David Cobb has earned some first-team snaps through the remainder of the Tennessee Titans preseason schedule.
Cobb, who is an Eddie George deciple, got his chance in the third quarter of Friday night’s opener at the Georgia Dome against the Atlanta Falcons, and took full advantage of the opportunity.
He was the Titans lead runner albeit against Atlanta’s second and third team defense, but also ran behind the Titans second-team offensive line.
David Cobb ran the ball 11 times in the 31-24 loss for 53 yards. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt had this to say about his rookie running back:
"“He’s got a good feel, good vision, good feet and a good feel for making the cuts and getting through the line,” Whisenhunt said. “That’s what we liked about him at the Senior Bowl. Obviously he was very productive his senior year at Minnesota. We were really excited to get him."
In his first five runs in the third quarter, he had runs of 8, 8, 7, 6 and 6 yards. He showed patience as the plays developed, and was very decisive when he hit the hole. It looked like later in the drive, the 5’11” 229 pound back got a little tired.
On one play, he planted his right foot, and appeared to not have the gas for the cut.
A quad injury kept Cobb from seeing a lot of action during OTA’s and the early part of the mini-camps and he didn’t look to be in good enough shape at this point to be a three-down starting back.
"“We were just disappointed that we didn’t get a chance to see much of him in the spring. But he’s worked to get back, and he’ll continue to get more as we progress.”"
Run the football and stop the run has been a Titans motto for the season along with protect the football, and if rookie quarterback, Marcus Mariota is going to stand a chance of developing into a pocket quarterback this year, the running game will need to be working.
Cobb’s runs of 8, 8, 7, 6 and 6 yards is a formula for success that will give Mariota options on second and third downs. It will also open up play-action and is definitely a formula for moving the chains.
Second-year running back, Bishop Sankey was the “top dawg” coming out of training camp, but struggled on Friday night to get up field.
Sankey was playing against Atlanta’s first team defense with the Titans first team offensive line, and never was able to get going.
The offensive line didn’t do him any favors in his eight carries for 15 yards, but the Falcons had the worse record for stopping the run in 2014. One of the things that cost former head coach Mike Smith his job at the end of the 2014 season.
Whisenhunt had this to say in his post-game press conference about Bishop Sankey’s effort in the opener:
"But Whisenhunt said the first-team offensive line was partially to blame for the low production.“Some of that was missed blocks,” Whisenhunt said. “We had a couple runs that could have been (were it not for) missed blocks. We had communication problems."
Going forward, coach Whisenhunt has committed more snaps to the rookie for the remainder of the preseason.
"“Based on what you saw Friday night, I certainly think Cobb deserves that, we’ll work him in,” Whisenhunt said “The young man had to get in shape first. That’s been a process just because of the [offseason] quad injury.“But he did a really nice job and we’ll move him up in the rotation as the weeks progress.”"