By Anna Glenn Grove and Christian Kaposy
Titans training camp day one left us with many observations, players to look forward to, yet still some questions. Saint Thomas Sports Park was buzzing as the team was back together again after their time off.
Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown exit practice early:
Both No. 11 and No. 22 participated in limited practice today as each left the field early. Brown tweaked himself during receiver drills as he slipped to catch a pass (there is a video of this in slo-mo on our Twitter account @titansradio). It is unsure what exactly happened to Henry, but he was seen with a boot on his left foot following training camp today. Mike Vrabel was asked about the status of both players and he responded saying they would be “day to day” from here on out.
“There’s not a whole lot of concern, I would say at this point in time their availability will be basically day to day,” Vrabel said. “We’re hopeful that we’ll get them back to where they can contribute here in the preseason.”
Dennis Kelly could be the next man up:
With Taylor Lewan suspended for the first four games of the season, Kelly might be the answer for the Titans at left tackle. Kelly played in 11 games in 2018, starting five games at right tackle in Jack Conklin’s absence. Filling in for Conklin throughout OTAs and minicamp, reps have come Kelly’s way throughout the offseason. Now he must translate that to the left side of the offensive line.
“Obviously when I’m in that swing role position I try and make sure I do both sides of it just to be prepared,” Kelly said. “It definitely helps with confidence knowing that I’ve done it before.”
Jack Conklin returns:
Conklin returned to the practice field on Thursday after missing all of team activities earlier in the offseason. After missing the first three games of the 2018 season, Conklin started nine games before being placed on injured reserve after an injury he suffered in Week 14 vs. Jacksonville. With the four game suspension of left tackle Taylor Lewan, it was a promising sign to have Conklin back in the mix on Day 1 of training camp.
“It’s my spot,” Conklin said. “I’m the right tackle for this team.”
Delanie Walker back in action:
There were many questions surrounding Walker’s status for this season following him being carted off in week one last year against Miami. In that game, he grabbed four receptions for 52 yards and left in the fourth quarter with an injury. He was later placed on injured reserve. At OTAs and minicamp, Walker was around for practice, but did not contribute at his full capacity. Today, however, was a different story. Walker looked close to one-hundred percent in his cuts and jumps for the first day of training camp.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been in competition full-speed and just to get one in, that’s a good sign,” Walker said. “I missed all of last year, so this is where I am about to go as hard as I possibly can just to try and get that feel back.”
Adoree Jackson brings the pressure:
An offseason foot surgery caused Jackson to miss some time during OTAs and minicamp, which lead some to ponder his availability heading into training camp. Jackson did not enter camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list (PUP), to the surprise of many, and was a present force on the practice field today with his energy and pass coverage. It was a promising first day of camp for the third year cornerback out of USC.
“[I am] doing everything I possibly can to get out here and get ready,” Jackson said.
Marcus Mariota starts camp on the right foot:
Heading into the final year of his rookie deal, Mariota began his fifth training camp with a solid day. Although the pads have not entered the equation just yet, the accuracy displayed on several of Mariota’s passes were a good sign. He connected with Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor on sideline grabs and threaded a pass to MyCole Pruitt in the red zone.
“It’s just building off of what we’ve done in OTAs, not looking too far ahead just staying in the moment, staying present, continuing our process,” Mariota said. “I think if we continue to build off every single day we’ll continue to get better and continue to improve.”
David Fluellen bulks up not only himself, but also his versatility:
Fluellen has owned the third string running back spot the past few seasons, but he once again has competition this year in training camp. Injured and placed on IR late in the 2018 season, Fluellen is healthy and has added some weight that will allow him to serve several roles on the Titans offense and special teams unit. It will once again be a battle for that third running back spot, but the versatility that Fluellen has added to his game may prove to be important come late August.
“I just think that he’s a versatile back is what he is,” Vrabel said.
Off-season Performers of the Year have been chosen:
In Vrabel’s time with the media following practice, he mentioned the offseason awards the team had handed out to certain players. These are based heavily on how they performed in the weight room and throughout conditioning, but it was also taken into account how hard the players had been studying in their time off. The awards were handed out as follows:
Cameron Batson: Skill Position
Marcus Mariota: Mid Group
Matt Dickerson: Big Group
David Fluellen: Coaches Choice
The winners were given a “swag” bag that included a new parking spot. Mariota mentioned that his parking spot did, in fact, move and he is now five yards closer to the building entrance.
“We try to not make it about on-field performance. Our day is broken down into meetings, film study, weights, conditioning,” Vrabel said.