Buck Reising, Tennessee Titans reporter and host of Tackling Music City, provides four items of note from the team’s voluntary organized team activities (OTAs) Wednesday.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans are at the halfway point of their OTAs, wrapping up Day 5 of 10 at St. Thomas Sports Park Wednesday. Here are four takeaways from today’s practice and media availability:
- Support System
- Following the culmination of the NFL Spring Meetings in Atlanta, Ga. last Wednesday, Commissioner Roger Goodell put out a statement about the league’s newly adopted and much-maligned policy on how clubs, players and team personnel are to comport themselves during the playing of the National Anthem before games. Part of the new stipulations, according to the policy, are that “all team and league personnel on the field shall stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem.” But the rule requiring all players to be on the field for the Anthem has been removed from the Game Operations Manual, allowing them instead to “stay in the locker room or in a similar location off the field until after the Anthem has been performed.”
- “We talked about the policy,” said coach Mike Vrabel. “I wanted to make sure that everybody understood the policy that just came out. As coaches and players, and everybody in our organization, we’re fully aware of what the policy is. With that being said, we’re also fully aware that we have Ms. Amy (Adams Strunk) and the entire organization’s support to make a decision based on that policy.”
- No Tennessee players have ever kneeled during the song, but a few have raised a fist in the air during the duration of it. Wide receiver Rishard Matthews chose to remain in the locker room for the Anthem for every game since Week 6 of the 2017 season and vowed to do so until President Donald Trump apologized for inflammatory comments he made on the subject at a rally in Alabama last year.
- Curious Case of Kevin Dodd
- For the second voluntary OTA practice that has been open to the media, third-year edge rusher/outside linebacker Kevin Dodd was not on the practice field. Picked 33rd overall in 2016, Dodd spent the majority of his rookie season sidelined with a stress fracture in his foot and was a often a healthy scratch in 2017.
- Vrabel did not shed any light on whether it is further injury or absence keeping Dodd out of sight, but did say he was pleased to see young players like Josh Carraway and Aaron Wallace taking advantage of the coaching, available reps and opportunity that they have been presented with.
- The Titans picked edge rusher Harold Landry in the second round (41st) of this April’s NFL Draft in order to provide much-needed depth behind entrenched starters Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. Landry’s role was the same one Dodd was drafted to fill and the rookie’s presence makes the Clemson product more and more expendable as Wallace and Carraway become more capable contributors.
- Coverage Consistency
- At Vrabel’s introductory press conference in January, the slogan he promised to stress defensively were “coverage consistency and front multiplicity.” Today, his defensive coordinator Dean Pees was asked to give his interpretation of the first half of the head coach’s mantra.
- “(Coverage) ‘Consistency’ means you’re trying to play similar concepts,” said Pees. “Doesn’t necessarily mean you’re only playing one or two coverages, it just means that some of the concepts of a coverage can carry over into another coverage. So, once they kind of learn those things, it just keeps getting repeated and repeated and repeated. I’d like to be a little more precise but I really don’t want to talk about scheme, particularly, and what we’re doing. It’s just that the guys are starting to get kind of honed in a little bit on ‘This is the way we play a certain thing, a certain coverage’ and there’s a lot of carry-over into the next coverage.”
- Four More Years
- Tight end Delanie Walker is one of the best players on his team and one of the most impactful free-agent signings in Tennessee’s franchise history. But, at 33-years-old, it is not unfair to wonder how much longer he will continue his NFL career.
- “I don’t know,” responded Walker. “You see me out there, you can write about it and tell them how well you think I look out there, but I feel great. At the end of the day, until I feel like someone can take my spot, I’m going to keep playing. I feel like I can play for four years. As long as I still feel that way and I’m moving as fast as I am on the field, and making plays, I’m not going to stop.”
- Walker played in all 16 games in 2017 and amassed 74 catches on 111 targets for a team-high 807 receiving yards. His three touchdowns, though, were the fewest he has totaled in a regular season since arriving in Nashville by way of San Francisco in 2013.
- EXTRA POINT(S)
- Tight end Philip Supernaw and defensive tackle David King were not seen on the practice field today.
- No sign of right Jack Conklin, either, as he continues to rehab from a torn ACL suffered in January’s 35-14 playoff loss to the New England Patriots.
- Matthews was on the practice field but was, again, limited.
— Buck Reising (@BuckReising) May 30, 2018