By Anna Glenn Grove and Christian Kaposy
After a day off from practice, the Titans were back in action at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Wednesday in front of several fans. The receiving corps, still, looked very consistent and there was, again, some movement and rotation across the offensive line. Tennessee has also made several roster moves overnight that may give younger receivers the chance to step up.
Shuffle of the O-Line:
Over the past four days, there have been four different names starting at right guard: Ben Jones, Nate Davis, Kevin Pamphille and Aaron Stinnie. Jones, who ranks first amongst all centers in the NFL with 80 consecutive starts, played left guard during the second half of a game against the Jets last season. Jamil Douglas, who is listed as a guard, spent the entire practice at center. This is all part of Tennessee’s rotation on the offensive line to see what may be the most fitting combination.
“I think there’s a number of guys in that room that can come out and make plays, and create a foundation we can lean on,” Marcus Mariota said. “I wouldn’t read too much into it.”
Cameron Batson and other roster moves:
Batson has been placed on injured reserve due to a reported broken collarbone suffered during Monday’s practice on a diving catch. Along with the absence of Batson for a while, the Titans waived wide receiver Joe Parker. The team agreed to terms with two new receivers who were both dressed for training camp today: Tanner McEvoy and Papi White.
“[Batson] has been a guy that stays after practice, does all the extra stuff for us. It is tough to see all that hard work not necessarily pay off,” Mariota said. “He’s a guy that’s so positive in and out of the building.”
Jennings and Raymond have an impressive day:
With Batson being placed on IR, the battle in the wide receiver group shifts to Darius Jennings and Kalif Raymond. Both have made plays through the first five days of camp, with Jennings catching five passes during 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 periods today. After a season where Jennings led the NFL and set a franchise record with a 31.7-yard kickoff return average, it seems that he will have to fill other roles on the team to solidify his roster spot. As for Raymond, he is capable of returning both kickoff and punt returns and has shown time after time in practice that he can make a play with the ball in his hand. The last receiver spot might be a battle between these two.
“[Jennings has] been great,” Mariota said. “Through his career here with me, very dependable guy. Knows what to do, and when given the chance he makes the most of the opportunity.”
A quicker huddle is the new look:
A big focus for this Tennessee team throughout practices has been to force a quicker huddle. Mariota said it has been an area of emphasis during training camp and, so far, it has worked very naturally for the offense. The thought behind a quicker huddle is that it allows Mariota to have much more time to set up and make his play. It also will prevent from many delay penalties and will allow the offense to get to the line of scrimmage faster and read the defense before making a play.
“It just allows us to create advantages and put us in situations where we’re not running down on the clock, we’re not trying to force a play off before the time runs out,” Mariota said. “[We’ve] got to give credit to our coaches and our guys, because I think it’s been an emphasis and the operation has been very clean so far.”
Nissan Stadium scrimmage:
On Saturday night, fans are in for a treat as the Titans take on each other in a stadium scrimmage. The players do not know which team they will be on yet, but the captains will go through a draft process in order to determine them. The team captains were based on the offseason awards, but since the loss of Batson, DaQuan Jones will be taking his spot in a leadership role. The pairs of captains will be as follows: the team of David Fluellen and Matt Dickerson versus the team of Marcus Mariota and Jones. This scrimmage will be followed by a free Jake Owen concert as well as fireworks.
“First of all, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m very excited, it’s going to be a good atmosphere for our fans. I want to win,” Mariota said. “I think kind of across the board it’s going to be very interesting to split up the team and see what we get.”