NASHVILLE – The Titans kick off the first of 10 days of organized team activities on Monday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
Titans Online takes a look at six things to watch as the team cranks things up during offseason work (Monday’s session is closed, so the first live reports will come out of Tuesday’s work):
Marcus Mariota has been taking part in offseason sessions with his teammates, but he’ll go against the defense for the first time this week, working with some new weapons around him, including free agent addition Adam Humphries. We’ll also get our first look at quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who joined the team in March after playing previously with the Dolphins. The chemistry session for both QBs is under way.
Former tight ends coach Arthur Smith is now calling the shots as the team's new offensive coordinator. During rookie camp, media got a chance to watch Smith work, and he bounced from one position group to the next. Smith has spent time with his players in the classroom during the offseason program, but now he’ll really begin to implement his offense while working against the defense.
A.J. Brown vs the Vets
Receiver A.J. Brown, the team’s second-round pick, was impressive right out of the gate in the rookie camp. But he’ll face the best competition he’s ever faced in practices starting this week as he lines up against veteran defensive backs in practices. How will he fare? It’s one of the things I’ll be watching.
New Look O-line
The Titans said goodbye to their two starting guards in 2018 this offseason, and now their replacements are at work. Guard Rodger Saffold, formerly of the Rams, will man one of the guard spots, but who will win the competition for the other? And could there be any more adjustments? Like Brown, rookie guard Nate Davis will have to adjust to NFL competition while Kevin Pamphile, Corey Levin and Aaron Stinnie look to establish themselves inside.
Second Year Jump
A lot of eyes will be on the rookies at the start. But I’ll be keeping an eye on second-year players like linebackers Harold Landry, Rashaan Evans and Sharif Finch, along with safety Dane Cruikshank, defensive lineman Matt Dickerson and Stinnie, among others. The team is counting on all of them to make a bigger jump in 2019. Landry flashed in his rookie season, and he’s expected to do even bigger things while playing alongside veteran Cameron Wake and others.
Who’s Held Out?
First-round pick Jeffery Simmons, of course, won’t be taking part in the OTAs as he recovers from an ACL injury. But he won’t be the only one held out at the start of OTAs, as players heal up from injuries suffered last season. In addition to Simmons, tight ends Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith are on the mend as well. Several other players, including tackle Jack Conklin and d-lineman Jurrell Casey, finished last season on Injured Reserve, and others had offseason procedures. So who will be working on the side and who will be in the middle of the action?
Titans rookies take part in the team's rookie minicamp Saturday at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)