By Christian Kaposy and Anna Glenn Grove
While some players made their way to Saint Thomas Sports Park earlier this week, today marked the mandatory report day for Titans training camp. A host of many players, Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson took the brand new podium in this Thursday afternoon’s pre-training camp press conference.
The main points of conversation included Kevin Byard’s contract extension and Taylor Lewan’s four game suspension. Along with these, it is clear the team is heavily focused on their motto this season: “good to great”, the next man up in certain positions and the team’s offseason strength and conditioning.
Vrabel really honed in on and outlined three key areas where they could be “great”: continuing to be a disciplined team, building on the defense being great in the red zone and the continuance of a strong run game.
At the podium, Henry was hardly reflectant on last season’s performance and said he wants to take that and continue to move forward. He looks to really move the “good to great” motto into motion during training camp and throughout the entire season. Henry wants to be more active in the team’s passing game and potentially become a larger threat in that area.
“I still [have] room to grow. Still growing, still got a lot to learn but that’s why it’s training camp. I’m just ready to get to work, improve each and every day. I’m just ready to get better in all aspects of my game, I feel like I can grow in each and every one of them,” Henry said.
Landry was most excited about his offseason preparation and the closeness of the defensive unit. He said it was clear at OTAs that the defense was working well together, but on the offseason a few of the teammates had even more time to bond. Landry trained with DaQuan Jones and said the two have had time to hang out along with their wives outside of football.
“[You want to] surround yourself with wolves and guys that are as hungry as you are,” Landry said about Jones.
Headed into his third year in the NFL, Davis took the offseason to improve every aspect of his game. While he anticipated working out with Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and other members of the receiving core out on the West Coast, the timing did not allow for him to do so. Davis wants the rock in his hands as much as possible, but trusts that offensive coordinator Arthur Smith’s scheme will produce more targets for himself.
“We are going to work on our chemistry this camp,” Davis said about he and Mariota.
After signing a contract that made him the highest paid safety in the NFL, Kevin Byard was very humbled when talking to the media on Thursday. Although there are several zeros added to the back end of his salary, he wants nothing to change about his approach to the game. While the process of contract conversation became nerve wracking, he can now commit his attention to the football field.
“Just call me when it’s done, I don’t want my nerves [to be] bad right now. I want to practice,” Byard said about the contract extension process.
Lewan stressed the most in his time with the media on Thursday that he did not knowingly take any substances and wants to make it clear that he is not a cheater. He went over the allotted time to speak to drive home this point. Lewan mentioned a lot that he is ready to prepare the next man up for the first four games and will be in prime condition when he comes back in week five. He also said his teammates have been incredibly supportive throughout this news.
“It’s going to kill me. It’s going to break my heart, it breaks my heart now to talk about it,” Lewan said in regards to being away from his team for the first four weeks of regular season.
Robinson mentioned the excitement of this Titans team and the city of Nashville for what this season could hold for them. He said that his team just needs to be better and practice better than 31 other teams. On the two heavy topics, Robinson said he appreciated Lewan’s transparency and on Byard he said everything is earned and he did just that.
“[I am] excited about this football team, the foundation that we laid in the spring and the offseason program. I know there’s a lot of excitement internally, and there’s a lot of excitement in the city and with our fan base about this team. Guys did a great job coming back in shape, and we’re ready to roll,” Robinson said.
Vrabel said that the NFL is a progress league and the only way to ensure your success is to see improvements everyday at practice and every single game moving forward. He said all his players passed their conditioning test and have come back from their offseason training in extremely good shape. As far as the Lewan and Byard headlines, he said Lewan can learn from this and Byard is a prime example of how hard work pays off on this team and in this league.
“When you start playing games, improve,” Vrabel said.