Titans Tuesday (Training Camp Review)
By: Cat Da Rocha
Photo curtsey of A To Z Sports
With unwavering dedication comes undeniable success, and the Tennessee Titans are working to prove it.
As the team heads back out onto the field for training camp, the fate of 90 players will be determined by their hard work and consistency for the next month.
The team will shrink from a 90-man roster to only 53 players, and with new signings and veteran players departing, the Titans will experience an entire shift of dynamic.
Starting with the quarterbacks, the Titans currently have Ryan Tannehill, Malik Willis, and Will Levis under their belt.
Willis, a third-round draft pick in 2022, was meant to sit and learn until at least the 2024 season but was put into action after Tannehill’s ankle injury and proved he wasn’t ready.
Since Tannehill’s injury last season and his absence from five games, the Titans need him healthy for the 2023 season and to show up as the veteran quarterback.
After the shock of not being picked in the first round of this year’s NFL Draft, the Titans chose Levis as the 33rd pick in the second round, as he displays strength and is not shy of physical contact.
As for Josh Dobbs, who ended last season with the Titans, he has now signed with the Browns.
The quarterbacks will work with new offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and Charles London as pass game coordinator/quarterbacks coordinator, who was hired during the
offseason. When final cuts are made, the Titans will keep all three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster.
Moving onto the running backs, we have Derrick Henry, Tyjae Spears, Hassan Haskins, Julius Chestnut, and Jonathan Ward.
Henry trained in Dallas for most of the early portion of the offseason but spent the rest in Nashville training in OTAs and the minicamp to get up to speed with Kelly’s offense.
Spears’ hard work and dedication during OTAs and minicamps allowed him to shine bright as he displayed swiftness and speed. He will be given opportunities during training camp and in preseason games.
Haskins came to the Titans as a fourth-round pick in the 2022 NFL draft, performs as a solid back, and plays physically on special teams. But after his arrest in June, the looks of him playing consistently are questionable.
Dontrell Hilliard and Trenton Cannon have not been re-signed and stand as free agents.
The Titans also hired Justin Outten as run game coordinator/running backs coach after Tony Dews switched to tight ends coach.
Next comes the offensive line, which consists of 16 men fighting to earn a spot on the roster.
The Titans signed tackle Andre Dillard and offensive lineman Daniel Brunskill in free agency and re-signed center/guard Aaron Brewer and Corey Levin. In late June, the NFL suspended offensive tackle Nicholas Petit-Frere for the first six games of the 2023 season due to a violation of the league’s gambling policy, but will still be participating in training camp.
Without Petit-Frere at the beginning of the season, who will cover as starting correct tackle?
Luckily for the Titans, their options extend from Brunskill to Peter Skoronski to Jamarco Jones and some more options. However, some players will need to shift certain positions around to make up for the loss of Petit-Frere. The Titans have also lost a few veteran players, including starting guard Nate Davis who signed with the Bears, former tackle Dennis Daley who signed with the Cardinals and former backup lineman Raven Clark who signed with the Steelers. Even offensive line coach Keith Carter was released from the Titans and is being replaced by Jason Houghtaling. Although the offensive line remains a bit chaotic, the rookie tight ends of the Titans are rising to the challenge.
We have Chig Okonkwo, Trevon Wesco, Kevin Rader, Justin Rigg, Alize Mack, Josh Whyle, and Thomas Odukoya in camp.
Okonkwo has made himself known as a rookie but has a chance to rise as a consistent player in his second season in the NFL.
Oknokwo made some standout plays in the 2022 season, and with year two approaching, he has already shown improvement as a blocker and pass catcher. Oknokwo must rise to the challenge of finding better ways to avoid and fight through contact, eventually leading him to make even
Whyle was drafted in Cincinnati’s fifth round of the 2023 NFL Draft. He stood out to the Titans with his 6-foot-7, 248-pound build and unique skill set. But his status as to whether he will get a chance on the field is unknown as he is still adjusting to the NFL. He must improve in training camp and make strong offensive plays as he did in Cincinnati. The Titans have recently signed Wesco in free agency, who previously played for the Jets, after signing Rigg to a futures contract earlier in the offseason.
As for players not in appearance at training camp, former Titans tight end Austin Hooper has signed with the Raiders, while tight end Geoff Swaim, a team member for years, has not been re-signed and remains a free agent.
The Titans have also made some significant changes to the wide receivers’ roster, especially with the most recent signing of DeAndre Hopkins.
In early June, the team brought in former Texans and Cardinals receiver on a free-agency visit.
The Titans persuaded Hopkins to join the team, and signed his contract on Monday. With the new addition of Hopkins to the wide receiver roster, the Titans are looking at a completely new team with even greater strength and new assets who can hopefully take the team
all the way.
The Titans also signed Chris Moore, who played for the Texans, in free agency. This came after the team went separate ways with veteran Robert Woods who now plays in Houston.
Nonetheless, Cody Hollister and C.J. Board have not been re-signed to the team and remain free agents.
It’s important to highlight the Titans; forceful defensive line, which currently has ten men in camp. Defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, a two-time Pro Bowler and one of the game’s most dominant players since entering the NFL in the first round of the 2019 draft, has re-signed with the Titans, a priority the team was counting on.
Defensive tackles Jayden Peevy and Curtis Brooks have also signed their future contracts, which came early in the offseason, and have begun their work with the rest of the line. Some defensive men will not be returning to the team, which includes former defensive linemen DeMarcus Walker who has signed with the Bears; Kevin Strong, who has signed with the Cardinals and Mario Edwards, who has signed with the Seahawks. A well-rounded roster of veterans and exciting new signings put the Titans in a solid position to succeed, and by the end of August, they will have a determined team ready for the 2023 season.