By Christian Kaposy
After ten training camp practices, the Titans hit the road and travel to Philadelphia to open up the preseason. With starters on both sides of the ball most likely taking just a handful of snaps, tonight will be a great opportunity for younger players to showcase their talent. Here are three players to keep an eye on throughout tonight’s game.
Raymond has been one of the top stories throughout training camp. It has been a wild journey for Raymond since he entered the NFL. After entering the league as an undrafted free agent, he has been waived eight times by four different teams. But, this training camp has been different for Raymond. The 5-8, 182 pound receiver is a common target during practices, no matter what quarterback is on the field. Day after day, he has made a memorable catch or play. The most valuable aspect of Raymond’s play is his ability in the return game. At Holy Cross, he returned 62 punts for 464 yards and a score as well as 80 kickoffs for 1,809 yards and two touchdowns. Raymond provides versatility, which Mike Vrabel and Jon Robinson value when constructing the roster.
Entering training camp, David Fluellen bulking up was the hot topic for the running back group. Now, the spotlight has shifted to McNichols. The Titans signed McNichols to the active roster off the Denver practice squad in early December last season. General Manager Jon Robinson must have seen something he liked, because they are letting the Boise State product prove himself during practice. Receiving reps with the first team due to Derrick Henry’s absence, McNichols should have plenty of opportunities in the running game. McNichols has impressed in practice, but let’s see if he can do the same against the Eagles.
The Titans interior defensive line currently lacks depth. Jurrell Casey is on the Physically Unable to Perform list, first round draft pick Jeffery Simmons will be unavailable for some time due to his injury, and Frank Herron has not practiced since July 31st. With just five interior defensive linemen participating in practice the past week, the rookie free agent from Chattanooga has climbed up the depth chart. Mack, who recorded 78 tackles, 11 tackles for loss, and 8.5 sacks during his last season at UTC, was an AP First Team All-American and named First Team All-SoCon. The Southern Conference Defensive Player of the Year should receive a significant amount of snaps tonight, giving the Titans their first chance to evaluate his play in a full contact game wearing the two-tone blue.