NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- There are a number of matchups to watch Monday when the Titans and Falcons hold their joint practice – arguably the biggest being Tennessee’s secondary matching up with Atlanta’s starting receivers Julio Jones and Roddy White.
“That’s the cool thing about getting the chance to go down to Atlanta and play against those guys,” said McCourty. “Matt Ryan is a very good quarterback and having Roddy White and Julio Jones arguably one of the best duos in this league, it will be fun to go up against those guys and compete with them.”
“It’s definitely a bigger opportunity getting to go up against someone else,” Whitehurst said. “Coaches want to see how you’re going to perform under that kind of pressure. You can get comfortable on our practice field going against the same guys since OTA’s.”
Training camp logistics don’t always allow for joint practices, however when two teams are able to work it out, each coaching staff benefits from the additional evaluation tool.
“Coach (Whisenhunt) is going to love this,” Whitehurst added. “As players we have to love this to see how we’re going to react and how we’re going to perform out there.”
Titans defensive backs should be more than prepared for the challenge, even though Tennessee’s trio of
“The one cool thing is getting the chance to go up against different types of receivers,” McCourty said. “Just in practice, every time I line up against Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, or Justin Hunter, all three of those guys are different. Each time I line up against them I’m getting a different look.”
McCourty is now the undisputed leader of the team’s cornerback group. Unlike some of his teammates, he isn’t fighting for a roster spot, but that doesn’t change the opportunity to perform against some of the best receiving talent in the NFL.
“Each time you go out on the practice field you want to get better and this is no different,” he said. “When we go out there against Atlanta I want to continue to improve. The one thing about going against someone else is that you can use it as a metric to see where you’re at getting ready for the season.”
As the hype builds for Monday’s practice, McCourty said the defense needs to keep it all in perspective. There will be plenty to learn and improve on but nothing that will change the course of the season.
“We just talk about the importance of going out there and just performing at our best,” he said. “We want to go out there and have fun with it. We know a practice in the middle of camp isn’t going to mark us as a playoff team so for us it’s just about improving.”