The Titans wrapped up minicamp today without a third practice. Instead, the team traveled to the Metro Nashville Police Training Facility where the team was able to spend some time together off the field while also learning about gun safety. Mike Vrabel said the day was good for the team because they got to “be with police officers in our community,” as well as learn about gun safety and gain experience of shooting handguns and other weapons that players and even coach Vrabel himself, said he had never fired before.
Today marks 87 days until the Titans first game which was the focal point of the team meeting prior to their field trip. Before the team can get back together though, they have a 6 week layoff for players to go be with friends and family while training on their own. Fans are not left in solace going into the dead period though as a few questions still loom about the team. Here are five overarching questions going into training camp.
- Will Taylor Lewan be back for Training Camp?
- Lewan skipped out on the mandatory minicamp this week as he attempts to secure a long-term deal. With him being one of the top tackles in the game, the Titans can’t afford to mess this deal up, or risk letting him play out this last one year and walking away at the end of it. That being said, Lewan should get his big payday soon, it’s just a matter of when. Missing minicamp isn’t too big of a deal for a pro like him, but if you’re the Titans, you want Lewan back in action once the first day of camp rolls around. Both sides want to get this deal done, all that remains to be seen is when that will happen.
- How will Kevin Dodd perform? Where will he line up?
- The first way to attempt to answer this question is ask how did Dodd perform and where did he line up during his two days at minicamp. He primarily lined up with a hand in the dirt alongside the defensive linemen and did little to impress. In day two, he was not a big contributor. It would be easy to go ahead and write off Dodd (especially after completely skipping OTA’s), but with his production at Clemson still in the back of people’s minds as well as his sheer size, it might not be time to close the book on him just yet. Much like his career to this point, his future still remains a mystery.
- Will the addition of Malcolm Butler pay off?
- From what we’ve seen so far, it’s hard to say no. But calling the addition beneficial is still not set in stone. Butler has already brought experience to share with the other defensive backs as well as a little chip on his shoulder after not getting his desired playing time in New England last season. Without all the pads on, he has shown good footwork and ability to cover receivers all over the field, but at the same time, who are we to judge players better than Bill Belichick? When the pads come on, we’ll have a much more decisive answer about the addition of Malcolm Butler.
- How healthy will the receiving corps be by Training Camp?
- We have yet to see Rishard Matthews participate in any drills, though he has been around all the OTAs and minicamp days. Corey Davis has been limited these past few practices, and Michael Campanaro has been out since the final day of OTAs. This break is coming at a great time, as it gives everybody a few weeks to get healthy before the pace amps up a few notches. This is a young receiving corps, and for them to be successful, you want to see your top guys healthy and ready to go which Mike Vrabel thinks is a probability saying he expect Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews to be back and ready to go by training camp.
- Is Marcus Mariota ready to take the next step?
- People started asking this question last year, but with him coming off a tough knee injury in the offseason, it was a longshot for him to make any drastic improvements. With a full offseason, a new offense, and a solid team around him, this could be the year Mariota breaks into the upper echelon of quarterbacks. Mariota can be as good as he wants to be, but for that to happen, the receivers are going to need to get healthy and stay healthy. If the answer to question 4 is 100%, Mariota has all the tools he needs to put together his best season yet as a Titan.