Tennessee Titans: What We've Learned Through Week 2 of Training Camp
We're slowly starting to learn more and more about the new-look Tennessee Titans under Ken Whisenhunt.
Training camp is in full effect and certain players are already starting to distinguish themselves as players who the team will be able to rely upon.
We have also seen the opposite side of that equation. Some unfortunate cuts are quickly approaching as the preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers is just around the corner.
Here's what we've learned about the Titans after several training camp practices.
It's Jake Locker's Year to Shine
The table has never been set better than it is right now for Jake Locker. He has the pieces around him to be successful, including an offensive-minded head coach.
Locker's recovery from his foot injury in 2013 has gone about as close to perfect as you can get. It was a big question mark that has been put to rest, but how he will play on the field is a completely different concern that won't be answered until the regular season gets underway.
Seeing Locker perform well against another team is vital to the confidence of this offense, so it's very encouraging to hear news that he's connecting on a lot of deep throws to the likes of Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright.
There's no doubt that this is a make-or-break year for Locker. The Titans have Zach Mettenberger and a strong quarterback draft class in 2015 to fall back on if Locker falls flat once again.
Penalties Could Be Serious Issue for This Defense
There is a fine line you have to walk when you're an aggressive defense. You want to see the passion and intimidation flow freely until it starts costing you games through penalties.
This defense has plenty of guys who play with chips on their shoulders, with the big one being Bernard Pollard. They just have to learn to use this to their advantage, and not let it cost them games with penalties of the 15-yard variety.
Paul Kuharsky of ESPN.com observed this when the Titans scrimmaged the Falcons recently:
If aggressive defensive coordinator Ray Horton is seeing an issue, then there's probably an issue that needs to be managed. With that said, you can't help but be excited to see what this defense is going to do when the games actually matter.
This has been a problem in the past for the Titans defense, and it hasn't really translated to wins. Something has to change, and I think Horton is all over it. It's an encouraging sign to catch it early on.
The Offense Is Going to Be Way More Aggressive Than 2013
We knew that this offense was going to look drastically different under head coach Ken Whisenhunt than it did in 2013 under Mike Munchak.
However, I wasn't exactly sure how that was going to translate. The scrimmage against the Falcons in Georgia cleared that up a bit.
Jay Clemons of Fox Sports Tennessee says that the Titans practice at a much higher tempo than the majority of the NFL does, and that has been put on display throughout training camp.
It's going to be very exciting to see how this offense shapes up for Week 1 against the Chiefs on the road. The Titans are going to offer a fun brand of offensive football to watch, but that doesn't necessarily mean it's going to result in a lot of wins.
The Titans do have a young offense with a lot of upside. Whisenhunt is gradually molding this team into his own, and it will be intriguing to see if this offense can surprise on the national stage.
Competition at Wide Receiver Still Wide Open
The battle for a couple spots at wide receiver isn't getting a ton of attention, but it's still wide open for several players.
The top three receivers on the depth chart are locked with Justin Hunter, Kendall Wright and Nate Washington. After those three, it's a close race for most likely two spots.
Marc Mariani and Michael Preston continue to be the most likely winners after the dust settles, but the players behind them aren't going away quietly.
The receiver who stood out the most in the practice session was Brian Robiskie, who ironically last played with the Falcons last season. Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean commented on his big play:
Receiver Brian Robiskie, meanwhile, just made the catch of the day, a diving grab on a deep ball #Titans— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) August 4, 2014
Robiskie was brought in to basically provide healthy competition in training camp, but he's a dark-horse candidate to sneak onto the roster.
Another veteran who will continue to make things interesting is Derek Hagan. If he has a solid preseason, then he might persuade coaches to go with a proven veteran over the other inexperienced receivers.
I also wouldn't completely dismiss an undrafted receiver making some noise for a roster spot, but they obviously face a much higher hill to climb.
The Cornerback Battle Is Too Close to Call
Cornerback is easily the most heated position battle on the roster right now, with Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Coty Sensabaugh battling for a starting position opposite Jason McCourty.
With that said, both of these guys are going to see plenty of playing time in 2014. Sensabaugh will probably end up being better suited to retain his role as the nickelback, and let Wreh-Wilson use his physicality to work the outside.
Both Sensabaugh and Wreh-Wilson have embraced each other throughout this competition, per Joe Fann of TitansOnline.com.
The technical winner here to start on the outside will most likely end up being Wreh-Wilson. His strength is his physicality, and he'll be better suited to use that on the outside. With the competition being so close, I don't expect the official starter to be announced until at least the midway point of the preseason.
One things we do know is that the Titans have two encouraging choices to replace Alterraun Verner.