NASHVILLE – Rookies and quarterbacks are officially in the building.
Veterans report on Thursday, and training camp for the Titans kicks off on Friday.
It’s finally time.
It’s also time for another Titans mailbag.
Darin Finkelstein from Chatham, New Jersey
Question: Hey Jim. Looking forward to the start of training camp. Always exciting to see how the new faces mesh with veterans as well as getting a feel for the team’s recovery from significant injuries. It would appear that the Titans have done a good job building depth at every position with the exception of defensive line. If Jurrell Casey were to get injured, this would significantly impact our ability to stop the run and get to the quarterback from the inside. Do you see the Titans adding more depth at the DL position? Thanks, Darin
Jim: Hey Darin. I’m definitely not ruling it out, but how soon added depth/competition comes remains to be seen. Things got a little more interesting on Monday as the Titans placed Jurrell on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list. The team continues to be patient with him as he works his way back from last year's knee injury. Jurrell is one guy who is nearly impossible to replace. Guys are going to have to step up behind him, and around him, no matter what. I did the training camp preview for the defensive line on Monday, and I have Jurrell, DaQuan Jones, Brent Urban and Matt Dickerson making the 53, with Austin Johnson and several others fighting for the fifth spot. The Titans currently have 10 defensive linemen on the roster at the start of camp, but others could be added along the way. I’m sure GM Jon Robinson will be watching the waiver wire all the way up until August 31 (when NFL rosters are cut from 90 to 53) and beyond. Plenty depends on how players currently on the team fare in camp. A year ago, five defensive linemen were on the final 53-man roster.
Brandon Green from Nashville, Tennessee
Question: One of my favorite underdogs on the titans is ole Sharif Finch. Been rooting for him since his standout preseason game last year and the tragedy surrounding it. With Morgan and Orakpo retired, do you think Finch has a chance of earning some big-time action? How has he done performed this offseason?
Jim: Hey Brandon. I like Sharif, too. He’s a good player, a hard-working guy, and a really good guy. You mentioned the tragedy from a year ago, when he lost his father early in training camp. Sharif went to the funeral, and then came back and played in the preseason game later the same week in Green Bay. He’s worked hard all offseason, although part of his time was spent recovering from last year’s shoulder injury. I do expect he’ll make a big jump in Year 2, and make a bigger impact.
Lucas Bollinger from Gallatin, Tennessee
Question: Hey Jim, thanks for what you do to keep us informed every week. This question is not really Titans related, but I was curious: Why does the NFL have rules about what number a player wears? I don't think anyone would really care if there was a running back in number 1, for instance. Kinda seems unnecessary to me. Thanks for your time.
Jim: Hey Lucas. Those rules have been in place for a long time. It’s why running backs – which you mentioned – have to wear numbers between 20 and 49. I’m sure you remember Derrick Henry wearing No.2 in training camp during his rookie season before switching to No.22 for the regular season. No.1 is completely off the board for the Titans, of course – it’s Warren Moon’s old number, and it’s retired.
John Knox from Sparta, Tennessee
Question: Who were the 11 players on the field for the Music City Miracle?
Jim: Some Titans, trivia, huh?
FB Lorenzo Neal (41)
TE Frank Wycheck (89)
WR Kevin Dyson (87)
LB Terry Killens (50)
SS Perry Phenix (35)
WR Isaac Byrd (83)
LB Greg Favors (51)
TE Larry Brown (84)
MLB Doug Colman (59)
RB Rodney Thomas (20)
TE Jackie Harris (88)
Llewellyn Roux from Lompoc, California
Question: Hi, Jim! How does it look like as far as the attendance of the players that are in the 90-man roster reporting for the 2019 Titans Training Camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park? Are there and will there be any issues of holdouts and boycotts of any of the players that might potentially be a distraction during training camp. Just my concern and I hope those are settled during the offseason by the Titans Front Office.
Also if the Titans will use field officials and referees assigned by the NFL during the Titans Training Camp, and are the field officials into a training camp into themselves, and will these same field officials that are in the Titans and other NFL Training Camps appear during the regular season games?
Jim: Hi Lywellyn. Well, reporting day is Thursday for the entire squad, so we really won’t find out until then. Back when I covered the team for The Tennessean, I remember dealing with plenty of contract situations that impacted attendance, from Samari Rolle to Albert Haynesworth to Pacman Jones. They eventually worked themselves out, but it was a distraction for the team -- and for me as a reporter! A lot of times teams won’t find out who is not showing up until camp starts. That's a strategy used by a player and his agent. The good news for the Titans is all the rookies are under contract, so that’s not an issue. As for the officials, they’ll be here once again but only for a portion of camp, from what I understand, around the same time the Patriots are in town. These are NFL officials you’ll see at stadiums on Sundays. They make the rounds to all 32 teams in camp to discuss points of emphasis and rules changes for the upcoming season.
Have a great week everyone!