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Notebook: Chance Warmack Ready for Regular Season

Posted Sep 5, 2013

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Chance Warmack has been so deeply preparing for his regular season NFL debut this week that he didn’t notice the paper nametag above his locker had been replaced by the nameplate for players who make the roster.

The rookie who was selected by Tennessee from the 10th overall spot in the NFL Draft has used a low-key approach throughout the offseason. He didn’t assume he’d be starting at right guard or even on the roster — although it’s been clear for quite some time — because he wanted to earn the job and get better along the way.

“They put that up? I didn’t even see that,” Warmack said, referring to the nameplate. “It makes me feel good to know I’m a part of this team and part of the 53-man roster. We’ve got a long road ahead and want to do whatever it takes to help the team.”

That road will begin with consecutive road games. Tennessee opens at noon (CT) Sunday at Pittsburgh before travelling to AFC South foe Houston on Sept. 15.

Moments after Warmack slipped his size 18 feet into what resembled the combination of sneakers and house shoes (an actual pair of sneakers that have the heels smushed and flattened down to the inner soles from supporting the 323 pounder), he talked about how grateful he is for the opportunity and how comfortable the rebuilt offensive line has grown.

“I’ve always said it’s a blessing to be a part of this team,” Warmack said. “It’s so hard to make the team, and just knowing the importance of your particular spot on the team is really significant. You’ve just got to make the most of it. At the end of the day, it doesn’t matter where you got drafted. All that matters is what you do on the field.”

Warmack has learned from Titans head coach Mike Munchak and offensive line coach Bruce Matthews, who are both in the Pro Football Hall of Fame as offensive linemen, as well as veterans like center Rob Turner and right tackle David Stewart. Warmack and Turner referred to each other as big/little brothers Thursday.

Turner said cohesion isn’t a question mark because of the way the offensive line has communicated and responds as a group. An example of this occurred during practice when Turner made a small tactical mistake and Warmack was there to erase it on a play.

“It was something as simple as I thought we were doing something slightly different so I took an aiming point that was too wide, and he was sitting there in the gap so he covered me on that one and there are plays where I cover him,” Turner said. “If he gets too wide or something, that’s one of those things. You just trust the guy next to you. I came back to the huddle, patted him on the head and said thanks.

“You’re going to have that,” Turner continued. “You’re never going to play the perfect game, you’re never going to have the perfect practice, but the thing is, are we working together as a unit, trying to be as good as we can be each week and each day?”

Warmack said the help he’s received from teammates has gone beyond the field to the locker room and meeting rooms.

“He’s always there for me when I have a question, and I have a million questions,” Warmack said. “Everybody’s just helping me along, and we’re getting better together. Everything’s exciting to me. Everything is a first for me, so this is amazing. This is an amazing feeling to have.”

GRAY ON CORNERBACKS: Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray suggested last week that the Titans may look at matchups when determining who starts or plays more at right corner and reiterated the point Thursday.

Munchak announced Monday that Alterraun Verner, the 2012 starter, would start against the Steelers after an offseason competition with Tommie Campbell.

“Tommie’s going to get a chance to play, and hopefully not due to injury,” Gray said. “He can get his hands on big wide receivers and we know what we’ve got coming up in a week (at Houston). (Andre Johnson) is a really big wide receiver, one of the best in the league, and (Campbell) may be the best (matchup) for us.”

INJURY UPDATES: Munchak said Stewart did not practice Thursday because of soreness in his calf, but did participate in the walkthrough and is likely to practice Friday and play at Pittsburgh.

“In a drill (Wednesday) his calf got sore,” Munchak said. “It hadn’t been really sore, just something he had done in the past, so I see this as hopefully a one-time thing. We get a little scare this week and hopefully he plays and we move on. It’s not something that’s lingering.”

Munchak said earlier this week that if Stewart is sidelined, the Titans are likely to replace him with with veteran Mike Otto, who has played in 47 games, instead of Byron Stingily, a 2011 sixth-round pick who appeared in five games and made two starts last season.

Linebacker Akeem Ayers was limited, “he did more (Thursday) than (Wednesday),” Munchak said. Additionally, fullback Quinn Johnson (quad) and linebacker Zaviar Gooden (ankle) didn’t practice. Munchak said the Titans will see how Johnson is Friday and Gooden won’t play Sunday.

Game Rewind: Tennessee Titans

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