Titans Camp Report: Day 7

August, 1, 2014
Aug 1
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • A crew of officials, headed by referee Clete Blakeman, was on the field working practice.
  • One of my favorite receiver drills has them changing direction five times running through garbage cans, then turning their head quickly to catch fast passes. When I looked over today, the throws weren’t as hard, but I saw Justin Hunter, Brian Robiskie, Marc Mariani and Derek Hagan all go five-for-five before Isaiah Williams broke the streak when he dropped a high one.
  • I have watched and written about Shawn Jefferson’s work with his receivers but failed to mention his snap call for a guy to start something isn’t hike or anything like it. It’s “WORK.”
  • Tackles and tight ends worked together on combination stuff, blocking defensive ends. The ends didn’t really get a chance to win as after early contact, they fought but didn’t churn their legs.
  • Running backs worked on route-running during their individual period.
  • Hunter caught a deep ball over Tommie Campbell up the right side from Charlie Whitehurst in seven-on-seven, and another over Campbell in one-on-ones. Later in team, Michael Preston got behind Campbell. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said the bad plays get noticed and the good ones don’t. But Campbell has struggled a great deal in camp so far.
  • In one-on-one passing, Jason McCourty broke up a short, quick Locker pass intended for Kendall Wright.
  • Zach Mettenberger overthrew Julian Horton and got intercepted by Khalid Wooten.
  • Derrick Morgan made a big play against Locker at the start of a team period. Locker faked a toss and rolled to his right, but Morgan charged at him and batted down his intended short pass.
  • Chris Spencer had exchange problems with Whitehurst on two occasions.
  • In two-minute drill work, the first-team offense moved to a Maikon Bonani field goal. He also missed one from the 35-yardish range. Another drive ended with a Coty Sensabaugh pick of a Locker pass aimed for Wright.
  • In two-minute drill work, the second unit needed a fourth-and-long conversion and there was debate about whether the last play was a sack. That will be resolved by film review.
  • Fullback Collin Mooney got popped by safety Hakeem Smith and dropped the pass on a short ball that was way late and rated a hospital ball from Tyler Wilson.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans quarterbacks are getting a different view of their work thanks to an additional camera the team is using during some passing periods.

Practices and games are generally shot from cameras set atop lifts in the center of the end zone and at midfield. But instead of that high end zone angle, the quarterbacks are looking at a closer, lower view from behind them.

The team's video director, Anthony Pastrana, has a small camera mounted at the top of a long pole. With the other end on the ground, he holds it and shoots the action.

"It's trying to kind of create the perspective the quarterback has when he's in the pocket," Jake Locker said. "Trying to see the field from that point of view. It is helpful. ...It gives you a different vantage point to teach and learn from."

When he was head coach in Arizona, Ken Whisenhunt utilized a similar camera, but the video was shot by a cameraman who climbed a portable set of stairs.

The closer view makes it easier for the quarterback to see where he is looking.

Said offensive coordinator Jason Michael: "We do it more so in the 7-on-7 periods, the pass emphasis periods, where they can see where the stripe of their helmet is, where their eyes are looking as well their footwork. It's a close-up on those in terms of working through their reads, their progression and getting a close-up view to be able to teach off of in the meeting room. It's a positive tool."

Is there going to come a day when a drone flies overhead and the team can choose from 800 angles?

"Who knows what's coming," Locker said.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans …

Time as the starting left guard while Andy Levitre (appendix) is out is helping first-round pick Taylor Lewan, says John Glennon of The Tennessean. “Lewan's cross-training is helping him develop quicker reaction times, allowing him to broaden his knowledge of the offensive line's responsibilities, and giving him the kind of first-team reps that he would not have been getting at tackle.”

Derek Hagan’s deep catch was a highlight of Thursday’s practice, says Glennon.

Zach Mettenberger bought a signed Eddie George jersey from team equipment manager Paul Noska, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

To which I say: I thought this was weird, since getting a George autograph won’t be difficult for Mettenberger. George is the color analyst on preseason broadcasts. But it’s a white Oilers jersey, which is a bit nostalgic and not necessarily easy to find.

Levitre is trying to stay patient while waiting for the medical people to say he can return to practice, says Wyatt.

Shawn Jefferson rates as the best position coach Nate Washington has worked with in his career, says David Boclair of the Nashville Post.

The Titans played through simulated crowd noise on Thursday. Amie Wells of the team's website has a report. (Video.)

Charlie Whitehurst says the Titans are starting to feel like the new offense is their own, says Joe Fann of the team’s website.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jake Locker has spoken in the past week about how he can eliminate things before the snap.

The follow-up to that is, what kinds of things?

I had the chance to ask Tennessee Titans offensive coordinator Jason Michael about that.

"As we get into it, it's whether the play is looking at one side of the field, whether it's getting us into the proper run," Michael said. "It's doing some things pre-snap that he hasn't done as much of in the past. I think he can use that information to help him out.

"Whether it's cut the field in half with a read that he has or eliminate a certain receiver pre-snap to where he can move on and get past the first read to the second. Gathering information through formations, through motions, through cadence and those things. He’s progressing with it."

The Titans did team period work with super-loud crowd noise Thursday.

Michael said the offense did well when forced to work without being able to hear each other.

How they work a silent count won't always be the same, so a defense doesn't know.

"You've got to do it with action and different things where the defense can't get a bead on what you are doing and when it's coming so they can get a jump on the snap," he said. "We'll use a couple different things. The center is doing certain things. We'll have the adjacent lineman with him doing some things to help the center in communication. Not being consistent with it so the defense doesn't see what we're doing."
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- As Maikon Bonani approached a ball held for him by a tripod, Brett Kern snuck in for a close up.

Kern wasn’t snapping something on his iPad to post on Facebook at Tennessee Titans practice. He was taping a Bonani kick from close range on a new app the Titans' special teams just started playing with called, Ubersense Coach: Slow Motion Video.

An iPad would record fewer than 30 frames per second. Ubersense allows you to record 120 frames per second.

At this point it’s mere experimenting, but Bonani said he was looking forward to seeing super close-ups in slow motion from front, side and back angles to help him examine his technique.

“It’s a lot closer than it is when you have the camera from up top,” Bonani said. “You can really see at contact and before what your body is doing, what your approach is like -- it’s going to help us both out, the kickers and the punters.”

The Titans haven’t put a big emphasis on their kicking competition between Bonani and undrafted rookie Travis Coons yet. Ken Whisenhunt has talked about a progression.

Thursday in a full special teams period, each kicker hit from 33 and 38 yards and missed from 46.

Whisenhunt isn’t too concerned about practice performance.

“I’m only worried about when we get to games and seeing where we are in those when it’s a kick at the end of a game or a critical situation before a half,” he said. “Then we’ll really get a chance to see it, hopefully.”

Bonani said his coaches know what they are doing with the buildup toward games with field goals and kickoffs, and that he and Coons will be ready for the things that will determine who wins the job.

As for his miss from 46, he said it was an aiming mistake in a breeze and he missed by a foot.

“It’s aggravating to miss, it’s my first time missing in front of the team, in front of the staff,” he said. “I have 100 percent confidence in myself that if I had another kick today I would have made it.”

Titans Camp Report: Day 6

July, 31, 2014
Jul 31
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, left guard Taylor Lewan and center Chris Spencer worked with the starters today. Brian Schwenke was out with a leg injury that head coach Ken Whisenhunt categorized as day-today. Antonio Johnson was also out with a leg injury and is day-to-day. Delanie Walker (shoulder) and Michael Preston (fear of a concussion) were both back to work after getting hurt Tuesday.
  • Left tackle Michael Roos jumped offside in a team period and Jurrell Casey, the rusher trying to get around him said, “It’s you.”
  • Nice catches: Nate Washington plucked a low dart from Jake Locker; Rico Richardson reached over Ri'Shad Anderson to collect a deep pass up the right side from Locker; Marc Mariani made a lovely over-the-shoulder catch from Locker.
  • Locker targets in seven-on-seven period: Complete to Craig Stevens, incomplete to Washington broken up by Jason McCourty, complete to Kendall Wright, complete to Preston, complete deep to Derek Hagan. Hagan later had a nice fingertip catch while going full speed out of bounds and a drop from Charlie Whitehurst with Tommie Campbell well off.
  • In seven-on-seven, playing as the nickel, Sensabaugh worked in front of Mariani to pick off Zach Mettenberger. Bernard Pollard dropped what should have been an interception of Locker intended for Walker.
  • Struggling quarterback Tyler Wilson threw an interception to Moise Fokou, a player who has been completely invisible in camp until that moment.
  • Justin Hunter dropped a ball from Locker that he got got both hands on, but Hunter also caught a bomb over cornerback Marc Anthony from Mattenberger.
  • Crowd noise from four speakers during a team period was deafening. Michael Griffin said it was Seattle-level noise. Neither side seemed to struggle with it. Offensive coordinator Jason Michael said quarterback and linemen will use different things at different times when they have to use a silent count, so the defense can’t predict if the center, or a guard helping the center is signaling for the snap or if they are doing something else.
  • On third-and-short work, coaches called for one live snap where Bishop Sankey or Jackie Battle (sorry I don’t know which) was tackled. They went back to thudding the back, but Whisenhunt said there will be some occasions where there are some live snaps.
  • Maikon Bonani and Travis Coons each got three field goal chances in a period. They each hit from 33 and 38, and each missed from 46. Bonani said his miss was an aiming error based on the breeze.
  • The Titans practice at 2:50 CT on Friday and it’s open to the public.

Major veteran running back holdouts have proven costly to performance upon their return to play.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Kendall Wright had a unique freedom in the 2013 Tennessee Titans offense.

He was not held to the same expectations for precision routes. Because he was a unique player who could get to the right spot at the right time, coaches gave him leeway in the means he took to get there.

But that has changed under Ken Whisenhunt and his staff.

"However they tell me to do it, that's what I'm going to do," Wright said via John Glennon of The Tennessean. "I'm a receiver and I adjust to whatever they want me to do. I don't have to play the way I was playing last year as far as what everybody calls 'streetball.' … He tells me he wants this route run like this, that's how I'm going to do it."

The Titans also have asked Wright, who was 15 pounds lighter in his second season than his rookie year, to drop a bit more weight. He’s down to 184.

Is there a bit of risk in asking for two big changes from Wright when he caught 94 passes for 1,079 yards last year?

He’s adaptable, as he said, and I don’t foresee anything slowing his ascent.

He had that big season with the Titans not sending him deep very often and hardly looking to him in the red zone.

That should change under Whisenhunt, who believes those other changes will help, too.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans ...

Jurrell Casey did not consider holding out to push for a contract extension, writes Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

Undrafted rookie running back Antonio Andrews is adjusting to NFL pace, writes John Glennon of The Tennessean.

Ken Whisenhunt doesn’t fine players for practices fights, writes Glennon. Interestingly, Jim Wyatt recently pointed out that Michael Griffin said he was fined $4,000 by Mike Munchak for a practice fight last year.

While a couple Titans quarterbacks wear a glove on their non-throwing hand, Jake Locker’s never even tried it, writes David Boclair of the Nashville Post.

The Titans’ installment of NFL Network’s “Why Not Us” feature. (Video.)
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Part of Jurrell Casey’s transition from 4-3 defensive tackle to 3-4 defensive end is who he’ll match up with.

At Tennessee Titans practice on Tuesday, he lined up against offensive tackles during one-on-one pass-rush work.

“I wanted to work more of an edge rush. I’d been doing a lot of inside rushing the last couple days,” Casey said. “Playing end now, I’m going to rush from the outside, also. So I had to get a little practice at that. It’s a whole lot different, because you’ve got way more space to deal with.

“I think I am doing pretty well. There are still a couple things I’ve got to work on. [Tuesday] I worked on bending the corner around the edge of a blocker, and I am still working on that. I can’t get that down yet.

“But anything or normal pass rush, using quick moves, I’ve got that down. It’s more so trying to figure out something new to use to people won’t be guessing what I’m going to do to them.”

He looks quite fast working off the edge.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans lack star power.

Star power drives attention.

The Titans' last, biggest star was Chris Johnson. He was super-recognizable and still produced on a reasonable level. But his game last season was nothing compared to his game at his peak and his value wasn’t close to his scheduled salary of $8 million.

Still, many bemoaned the Titans cutting him, often on the grounds of having no one left behind who is a known quantity by the NFL fan population at large.


Whom do you presently consider the face of the Titans franchise?


Discuss (Total votes: 1,423)

Do you have to have a star to be good or do you have to be a good team to have a star?

“That’s kind of a tricky answer,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “When you classify a player as a star, is that stat-driven? Is that perception by somebody outside? I think if you watch a Tennessee Titans football game and you watch Jurrell Casey or you watch Kendall Wright, you have a tremendous amount of respect for the way those guys play.

“I’m just using those two guys as an example. Derrick Morgan could, obviously, fit into that, as could (Michael) Griffin and (Bernard) Pollard, and I could continue to name them. Now, whether they’re considered stars in fantasy stats, or whether they’re considered stars by all of these experts that are out there, I don’t know.

“I consider them to be good football players. I think the thing that we judge, or the way that I judge it, is the respect they have when you put that tape on. I feel like we have a lot of those players on this football team, good football players. Maybe, I guess the long answer to the question is, maybe the star comes after you have success.”

The face of a franchise doesn’t have to be a star, but I think on most teams it is.

Who’s the face of this franchise?

I’ve only got five slots in a poll and I’ve got a strong feel for whom I believe it is. But I want to hear from you first. So please cast a vote.
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans…

Chance Warmack is the incredible bulk, says David Climer of The Tennessean. But Warmack’s not the only player Ken Whisenhunt wanted lighter. Shonn Greene needs to lose another five to 10 pounds and even Kendall Wright was asked to drop a bit.

Practice observations from Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

The Titans suffered three injuries on Tuesday, but none appear serious: Delanie Walker (shoulder), Michael Preston (possible concussion) and Brian Schwenke (leg) didn’t finish practice, writes Wyatt. Shonn Greene had the day off.

So far there hasn’t been much kicking in the kicking competition, says John Glennon of The Tennessean.

To which I say: They certainly don’t seem concerned about finding a guy who can handle the job between Maikon Bonani and Travis Coons.

Kendall Wright is utterly immune to Napoleon complex, writes David Boclair of the Nashville Post. With a look at other receivers who rate as short compared to the NFL norm.

The Titans are loaded with Pro Bowl options at returner, writes Teresa Walker of the Associated Press.

Ken Whisenhunt’s experience with Ben Roethlisberger should help in Jake Locker’s development, says Albert Breer of NFL Network. Video

Battle owning Titans FB competition

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
Tennessee Titans reporter Paul Kuharsky discusses the good reviews fullback Jackie Battle is getting. Battle looks like he will be the lead back for Bishop Sankey, Dexter McCluster and Shonn Greene.

NFL Nation: Rookie QB Watch

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
NFL Nation reporters assess the training-camp performance of rookie quarterbacks who were drafted in May.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Tennessee Titans wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson had talked about doing it for sometime. Tuesday was the day he put on pads and helmet to go against his players in a drill.

Wearing a Titans light blue No. 1 practice jersey and holding a big blocking pad, he had players come at him through a garbage can gap. Then he banged into them to demonstrate the passion he wants to see in their blocking.

[+] EnlargeTennessee's Shawn Jefferson
AP Photo/Mark HumphreyTitans wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson, left, put on a helmet, pads and a jersey during a drill with his players on Tuesday.
Nate Washington went first, and spent the rest of the period howling in laughter. Marc Mariani and Derek Hagan put Jefferson on the ground on back-to-back snaps.

“He's been threatening that for months and years,” Mariani said. “We saw him kind of going over and getting everything rounded up and we were like, ‘What’s going on over there?’ Then he comes out with shoulder pads and a jersey and we’re doing a downhill drill. It was unbelievable man. I love that dude.

“We all thought it was going to be a little thud drill, but when he came downhill the first time and got Nate a little bit, we were like ‘OK, there is going to be a little more contact than we thought, he’s still got a little gas in the tank.'”

And what about knocking him to the ground?

“I think he just lost hit footing, I don’t think I really crushed him or anything. We definitely had to come in there a little harder once we saw what he was working with.”

Jefferson wasn’t happy when Mariani tried to help him up.

“He didn’t want any part of it, he’s pretty competitive, he wanted to be up and into the next guy,” Mariani said. “He was pretty intense during that thing. I think afterwards he laughed about it.”

Jefferson didn’t care to chat about it after and Whisenhunt downplayed it, suggesting it was just another drill.

Sorry coach, but I’ve never seen an assistant put himself in position to get hit by his players before. It could wind up being the highlight of camp.

I bet players won’t be able to watch it enough.

“It’s going to be in our iPads probably within the next 30 minutes," Hagan said. "So we’ll be able to check it out."