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Camp Notebook: Derrick Morgan, Titans Ready to Leave 'Twilight Zone'

Posted Aug 15, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Derrick Morgan equated the nine-day gap between the Titans’ first preseason game and Saturday’s visit to Cincinnati as a trip through the The Twilight Zone.

Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley engage in a drill at Thursday's practice. Morgan said the Titans are ready for Saturday's game at Cincinnati.
Click here for a slideshow from Thursday's practice.

“Has it been that long? Wow, Twilight Zone,” Morgan said. “I’m kind of losing track of time and days, but it’s coming to an end. We’ve been grinding, doing the work, and we’re going to be able to hit somebody else.”

Tennessee opened its preseason slate Aug. 8 by hosting Washington at LP Field, allowing players to face an opponent for the first time in eight months, but the intense 12 to 14-hour days of training camp seem to have time-morphing qualities.

“It feels like a lifetime, especially given the fact that we’re having two practices a day,” Griffin said. “It feels good to go out there and compete against somebody else, and luckily we managed to stay pretty healthy last game. The nine-day period is a long time but then, we’re just excited to go out and play another team.”    

Despite the number of years that veterans Jason McCourty and George Wilson have spent in the NFL, they said it is challenging to flip back from a game week to the period (Saturday through Tuesday) that Tennessee treated strictly as camp days without preparing for the Bengals.

“It’s hard mentally and physically but these types of days are going to be what gets us over the edge and we really continue to improve as a team,” said McCourty, who agreed with Wilson that the days had been productive.

“I don’t think it’s been hard to stay focused,” Wilson said. “The shock was you get into that first game week last week and then you come back and have to get back into that training camp mode. … “Guys have handled the situation well, and we’re definitely looking forward to the opportunity to take the field at Cincinnati on Saturday and show progress from last week’s game against the Redskins.”

Titans players were off Wednesday and returned to practice Thursday. The team is scheduled to fly to Cincinnati Friday afternoon.

MORE P.T.: Titans coach Mike Munchak said Thursday that he anticipates first-teamers on offense and defense playing approximately 30 plays or about all or most of the first half. The first-team defense played until midway through the second quarter against the Redskins, leaving them wanting to play more.

“It’s good because last week we were kind of getting in our groove and they pulled us, so we’re going to have more time to get comfortable, get in the flow of the game and make some plays,” Morgan said.

Receiver Nate Washington said the Titans want to “take full advantage” of their opportunities at Cincinnati.

“Me and Kenny already got a half last game. It’s nothing new, but for all of us to be out there is going to be different, something that we’re looking forward to,” Washington said. “This whole offense is kind of looking forward to this year. It’s been established that we want to be a contender, but since I’ve been here we haven’t reached that mark. I think we’re ready this year and I think we’ve made a lot of progress.”

The Toledo, Ohio, native said he is “pretty sure” he’ll have some family members in attendance.

“My folks always pop up on me,” Washington said. “I have some cousins that stay right there in the Cincinnati area. I’m pretty sure they’ll find some way, somehow to be right in my ear yelling.”     

Preseason Live: Tennessee Titans

OPPORTUNITIES TO START: Munchak said Fernando Velasco will start at center, and Tommie Campbell will start at one of the cornerback spots opposite Jason McCourty.  

Velasco, who made 13 starts at center in 2012, has been in competition with Rob Turner, who started against the Redskins, Chris Spencer and rookie Brian Schwenke. Campbell has been primarily in competition with Alterraun Verner, but Munchak also mentioned Coty Sensabaugh, who has been playing nickel, as someone who is playing well on the outside. Verner started against Washington.

PROGRESS REPORT: David Stewart returned to practice Thursday, and Munchak thinks the right tackle could start but play less than the rest of the first-team offensive line. The decision will depend on if Stewart, who suffered a broken leg in December, encounters any soreness in his ankle.

Kenny Britt also returned to practice after being rested earlier this week, and Kendall Wright did as well after resting Tuesday. Both are on track to play Saturday. Munchak said the Titans would see if Taylor Thompson is able to practice Friday before deciding whether the second-year tight end will play.

Munchak said Zaviar Gooden, Quinn Johnson, Greg Jones, Marc Mariani, Markelle Martin, Colin McCarthy and Daimion Stafford are unlikely to play. Delanie Walker and Kevin Walter remain on the physically unable to perform list.

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