Before the pads and a “mandatory” follow
The Tennessee Titans will practice with pads on for the first time in decades tomorrow. They’ll sit around telling stories of how their dad’s used to wear leather helmets and… wait a sec. I went a little far there. The Titans will have a contact practice for the first time since last season.
The emails want me to draw some conclusions from the first two days of camp. The only conclusion (sorry guys) is to say, “relax, take a breath.”
Absolutely no one won a spot or lost a spot during the first two days. Many many years ago, coaches used to call it “practicing in pajamas.” For some reason, society went away from this phrase. I’d like to bring it back. I think it almost smacks you with perspective when one hears it. It’s sudden and forces one to think, “yep, I understand.”
I love Jurrell Casey as much as the next fan, but let’s not get overexcited about Casey or any of the Titans “practicing in pajamas.”
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When the pads come on, that’s usually a big day for the defense and players like Taylor Lewan. The defense gets to make contact and use leverage and force and…it’s what they do. Lewan has always seemed like the type that just loves contact. He “likes to get his hands dirty” and “mix it up.” These types will be thrilled that the pads go on tomorrow.
All of the storylines continue, just take it easy guys.
Lineback Jayon Brown has been receiving praise all spring. His biggest “knock” against him in college was his inability to shed blockers quickly. Good luck shedding the Titans offensive linemen, tight ends, or Jalston Fowler. Brown gets a huge test right away. He must be able to shed blockers to make a play. I expect this to be an issue until he shows that he can. Let’s hope it is “asked and answered” tomorrow.
Kevin Dodd being praised by Coach Mike Mularkey has been a fantastic story for two days now. All he has to do tomorrow is cover one of the best tight ends and get past one of the best right tackles. Good luck Dodd. I would be thrilled to see Dodd start to reach his potential. It would be enormous for the Titans defense.
Spring “star” Taywan Taylor will be pressed and bumped by NFL cornerbacks for the first time. Will he struggle or continue to flourish? If he continues to play well, the Titans have one of those “good problems.” Where does Taylor fit in? How do they get him enough playing time?
For about the next decade, the fastest way to be cut from the Titans would be to hit Marcus Mariota during a practice. I doubt anyone does, but some might want to keep an eye out for that “oops.”
The Titans may have an issue with this. As some fans have written in, “If Tyler Ferguson runs, the defense should be able to make contact. If not he will destroy their defense.” Maybe Coach Mularkey will set some new ground rules with Ferguson, but I imagine the coaches will want the defense to go easy with him too.
I did receive a lot of emails and thank you, but the first two days was more like a preview. Sit tight, things are about to happen.
A “mandatory” follow
George Walker IV is the Tennessean’s Titans photographer. He is fantastic and has been for years. This is his twitter profile. Make sure to check him out. Also, please don’t steal his copyrighted images. Clearly, the guy works hard to get them.