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Camp Notebook: Titans Ready for 'Dress Rehearsal'

Posted Aug 2, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The 2013 Titans bagged up their gear for the first time Friday, readying it to be delivered to LP Field for Saturday’s mock game.

Nate Washington hauls in a catch during a drill Friday. Click here for a slideshow.

Veteran receiver Nate Washington expects a few more game-like situations than the Titans have encountered this camp, and rookie Justin Hunter thinks the day will give him a better idea of what to expect Thursday when the Titans host the Redskins to open preseason play for both teams.

“I feel like it’s just going to help me out so I won’t be so anxious, so (I’ll be good with) the final routine,” Hunter said. “It’s the next step. This is what I’ve been looking forward to.”

That’s part of the reason Mike Munchak has scheduled a mock game, which he likens to a “dress rehearsal,” at the stadium in each of his first three seasons. This one is closed to the public but open to season ticket holders and the media.

For most rookies it will be their first time inside LP Field. It will also be the first time in the home locker room for most of the bevy of free agents who joined Tennessee this offseason.

Munchak wants all players young and old to gain exposure to game-day routines the team will have this season, from the pre-game timeline that includes dressing out, taping up, stretching and doing warm-up drills, to on-field action and what the team does during halftime.

The full-padded affair will include kickoffs and special teams, but then coaches may manipulate situations to expose players to certain scenarios, particularly in the second half. The mock game will also include officials who have been at Titans camp since Thursday.

“The coaches will be in the press box, they’ll be on the sidelines,” Munchak said. “They’ll be wired up (with headsets). We’ll have pictures (of the offensive and defensive formations) on the sidelines.”

Safety Bernard Pollard, one of the free agent acquisitions, said he thinks the mock game will offer another opportunity to increase intensity and enable the Titans to put their best foot forward against the Redskins.

“I think for us as a defense, we’re going to have to fly around,” Pollard said. “We’re going to have to take the ball from the offense. We’re probably going to get a little physical, and everybody’s going to have to (man up) at some point because we’re playing in front of our fans. … I want to see the stadium. This is going to be a real special year. We’re training that way. Mentalities have changed.”

Quarterback Jake Locker said he hopes the offense and defense transport the same level of competition from the practice fields at Saint Thomas Sports Park to LP Field. Preseason Live: Tennessee Titans

“I think we’ve done a great job throughout this camp of creating game atmospheres in our team periods,” Locker said. “It’s not live, obviously, but the tempo, the speed at which we’re playing offensively and defensively, I think has given everybody a good feel for what game speed is like. I don’t expect it to be much different tomorrow, other than a different atmosphere with being on the game field.”  

Washington said he’s pleased with the progress the Titans are making, but said the team needs to keep focusing on its goals.

“We’ve been working very hard as an offense,” Washington said. “I think we understand where we stand and what we can be. As our coach always says, we’ve got a long, long way to go but a short time to get there. We’re excited about our opportunity. Tomorrow will be good to go out and put a lot of things together that we’ve been working on.”

DEPTH AT CENTER MOVES PRACTICE ALONG: Four of five positions on the offensive line are essentially assigned, with center being the last spot up for grabs. The Titans have veterans Fernando Velasco, Rob Turner, Chris Spencer and rookie Brian Schwenke vying for the post.

The players are pushing each other, and the depth came in handy Friday. With Schwenke out because of a hamstring, Velasco also went to the sidelines because of what Munchak said may have been an allergic reaction to food.

“He’s OK,” Munchak said. “He’s not injured. It’s hard to practice.”

Munchak said it is possible Velasco could participate Saturday, and added it is good that the team has Turner and Spencer to keep each as fresh as possible and maintain a high level on the line.

CJ BACK IN ACTION: After resting Thursday to treat a sore ankle he rolled Wednesday, Chris Johnson returned to the practice fields Friday and is expected to participate Saturday. Johnson and rookie guard Chance Warmack each signed autographs for fans long after practice ended Friday and appeared to avoid cases of writers’ cramp. Monday’s schedule of players to sign after practice includes Kenny Britt, Zach Brown and Rob Bironas. Click here for the full schedule.


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