Tennessee Titans Training Camp: Observations from Day Two
By Luke Worsham
The Tennessee Titans held their second training camp practice on Sunday at St. Thomas Sports Park. Here are three things that stood out.
With training camp in full swing, the Tennessee Titans held their second practice of the camp on Sunday. After a successful day one that gave us some interesting observations, day two was no exception.
1. Johnathan Cyprien returned.
On Saturday, safety Johnathan Cyprien participated in opening stretches, but missed all team and position specific workouts and drills. Head coach Mike Mularkey attributed this to an injury sustained by Cyprien at the end of Organized Team Activities. On Sunday, he was back in action.
Cyprien was a full participant in Sunday’s practice. Safeties worked on coverage of tight ends and took part in 11-on-11 drills. As expected, Cyprien worked with the first team defense and played strong safety. Da’Norris Searcy filled in for Cyprien on Saturday, playing free safety and moving Kevin Byard to the strong side. Byard returned to free safety on Sunday.
The Titans clearly were very interested in Cyprien’s services, as he was the first free agent the team agreed to terms with back in March. He will be another toy for defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau to play with when scheming, and his great ability to make tackles and blitz will certainly be an aid to both pass and run defenses.
2. The offense has a lot of weapons.
The ultimate shortcomings of the Titans’ offense in 2016 can be attributed to a lack of quality weapons at the disposal of Marcus Mariota. Tajaé Sharpe, Kendall Wright, and Harry Douglas are decent receivers, but none of them have the level of talent necessary to fulfill a role of constantly being relied upon by a quarterback. Luckily, a potent running game masked a lot of the problem.
Heading into 2017, the narrative is completely different. Instead of being faced with a lack of quality weapons, Mariota has them in excess. The aforementioned Sharpe, who was the Titans’ #2 option at receiver for most of last season, is now the fifth WR on the depth chart. That’s thanks to the additions of Eric Decker, Corey Davis, and Taywan Taylor.
While the receiver position, a prior weakness of the offense, has gone from trash to treasure, the RB and TE positions, two strengths, haven’t lost a single one of their stars (minus Anthony Fasano, but he will be adequately replaced with Jonnu Smith). Pair the three receivers mentioned above with the likes of Delanie Walker, DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry, and you have an incredible pool of offensive talent. Expect plenty of fireworks from that group.
3. Corey Davis is good at football.
Remember when everyone freaked out last July because Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa held out for a brief period before signing his rookie contract? Well, he finished the season as the NFL’s Defensive Rookie of the Year. That’s a pretty big deal.
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Titans fans found themselves in the same position yesterday, thanks to the day-long holdout of WR Corey Davis, the fifth overall selection of the 2017 NFL Draft. They worried about an injury. They worried that he wouldn’t get a grasp of the offense in time to have an effective rookie year. If his first practice of Training Camp was any indication, those worries were utter wastes of brain space.
Bosa didn’t sign his rookie contract with San Diego, now Los Angeles, until August 29, over a month into Training Camp and less than two weeks prior to the start of the regular season. Davis signed his deal a day into Training Camp, and his first regular season game is over five weeks away. If Bosa was able to win DROTY after such a long and strenuous contract dispute, the sky is the limit for Davis.
Quite simply, Corey Davis looked like a really good football player in his first practice with the Titans. He ran crisp routes. He showed soft hands. He ran well. He exhibited pretty much every skill you could expect to see from a top-tier receiver in a non-padded, non-contact practice. His highlight of the day came in a 1-on-1 drill, in which he beat Logan Ryan with a double move and made a clean catch away from his body.
Additionally, Davis looked completely healthy and showed no limitations whatsoever. The freaking out about the 24 hour holdout needs to die, because Davis is going to be really good in 2017.