Despite any national narratives (that we should be smart enough to ignore at this point), this Tennessee Titans roster is layered with blue-chip talent.
On a day where the Tampa Bay Buccaneers were missing Tom Brady and Mike Evans, the Titans were also missing Derrick Henry and Denico Autry, while also having several players limited. Last year the Tennessee Titans learned first-hand just how hard it is to overcome injuries, and they showed that resilience on Wednesday.
Young players like Treylon Burks, Kyle Philips, Dillon Radunz, and Racey McMath all had good days today stepping up and proving that they should see the field often this season.
Even with the young players stepping up, it was the Tennessee Titans stars that really made the biggest impact.
Which stars shone for the Tennessee Titans?
There are two names that should start every list of standouts from today and despite the positional value, it is hard to ignore just how amazing Jeffery Simmons has been.
Everyone should have expected that Simmons would dominate in 1-on-1s, but he was such a headache for the Bucs that their VP of player engagement ended up throwing a ball at him.
Nearly every team period was affected by him in some way too with different people commenting that he sacked Blaine Gabbert on the first play, chased down a screen on another play, then tipped a pass later.
The other name that everyone should be talking about was Ryan Tannehill. According to Jim Wyatt, he went 21-of-29 during team periods including going 6-of-7 in 2-minute drills where the Titans “won the game” each time.
Joe Rexrode summed it up best in this tweet:
Tannehill was efficient as always and the only times that he seemed to miss his targets were on deep passes where he was either giving a receiver a chance to make a big play or when there was a slight miscommunication with one of the younger receivers.
In fact, Tannehill was so good on Wednesday that during one of the 2-minute drills, he hit an explosive play on the first snap and Vrabel had to move the ball back without adjusting the time just to make it more difficult on the QB. (The offense still scored and won)
For my money, Kristian Fulton is the next guy who deserves a shout-out, and if you don’t think he is one of the stars on this roster then you must have missed last season.
The third-year corner put the clamps on every receiver he went against and he continues to show that he can be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL (and quickly) if he keeps putting everything together and taking strides.
Robert Woods and Austin Hooper were both impressive today, but if we are going to single out a pass catcher it should probably be Hooper. Jim Wyatt said that Hooper had seven receptions in team drills today including three consecutive receptions in a 2-minute drill.
That doesn’t even include other proven talents like Harold Landry, Kevin Byard, Taylor Lewan, Ben Jones, Bud Dupree, and Amani Hooker.
Be careful about how much stock you put in these preseason practices and games because the guys who come out of nowhere in August usually turn out to be fool’s gold. However, the guys that have already proven they can do it in the NFL and who look even better in August, tend to translate that success very well.