5 Titans Who Are Already Making An Impact
As NFL teams continue to crawl through the dog days of training camp, there are still many young and veteran players hoping to make some sort of impact to establish themselves on this year’s version of their clubs, whether it is a rookie trying to slip into the second or third team or a veteran still trying to prove that he has something left in the tank.
For the Tennessee Titans, that remains all too true as well. After a not-so-great season last year, the Titans will be looking to get better. Making way for a lot more position battles in camp. A few that come to mind are the newly assembled offensive line, Chris Johnson's backup, a steady wide recieving corp and the need for an impactful secondary. All that needs to be addressed by the time training camp ends.
In any case, here are five players from Titans camp that have been turning heads and leaving a lasting impact during the first few weeks of training camp:
Chris Johnson – This doesn’t come to much of a surprise to people who follow the Titans. Word from camp is that he has pep in his step, for whatever reason. Either way, Tennessee couldn’t have asked for a better situation regarding CJ. The Titans brought in veteran running back’s Shonn Greene and Jackie Battle to push Johnson and it appears to be working. His 58-yard touchdown scamper against the Redskins in pre-season week one could just be the beginning of things to come this season.
Alterraun Verner -- Entering camp, with a more aggressive defensive philosophy taking over, many believed that Alterraun Verner would be the "odd man out" due to the physical-ness defensive coordinator Jerry Gray is demanding his corner backs to play with now. However, during training camp, he has stepped up and then some. According to reports around practice, the four-year pro has been a "ball hawk", making plays. Jim Wyatt, of The Tennessean, says an unnamed veteran defender was overheard saying, "Vern has to be the guy". As of today, Verner is listed as the right corner back starter along with Jason McCourty starting on the left side. Verner had one pass deflection and two tackles against the Redskins. Things are still fluid, and depth charts will continue to change, but right now Verner has to really feel good about this upcoming season.
Offensive Line – When the Titans signed Andy Levitre and drafted Chance Warmack this off season, it was clear that the offensive line was getting some re-vamping. So far, it has proved to be the right move. I know we shouldn't overreact over one pre-season game, that's a rookie mistake, but don't tell me that when Chris Johnson broke off that inside zone play for 58 yards and a score, it didn't excite you. The question is if it's a sign of things to come or just one of those pre-season, feeling things out kind of deals. Yes, Warmack looked silly and was stood up in a couple plays against the Redskins, but he's still learning. This year's offensive line will be better, no question. The real question is if it's going to be good enough to hold up all season long. The Titans success this season very much correlates with their offensive line's success this season. Again, so far so good.
Jackie Battle – Even though Jackie Battle wasn't signed until July 24, he hasn't missed a beat. The six-year pro has brought in his physical running style to Titans camp, hoping to snatch the third slot in the depth chart, if not higher. However, he still has work to do. Right now, he is listed as the fourth running back behind Johnson, Greene and Darius Reynaud. Still, he has shown signs of promise. He had a couple nice hard runs against the Redskins during their first pre-season game and also a solid 19-yard reception. If Battle can keep working and showing his versatility, it's only a matter of time until he overtakes that third spot in the running back rotation. With an injury-prone Greene behind Johnson, the third running back is almost like second string B. Battle should get his time on the field. He won't disappoint.
Coty Sensabaugh -- A fourth-round pick from the 2012 draft, Coty Sensabaugh has quietly put together a productive first part of training camp. He has taken over the nickel back position, as of right now, and coach Munchak has been raving about his potential for the upcoming season. Munchak says that Sensabaugh "just keeps getting better." He also said that he is challenging for the opportunity to start for the Titans at some point this season. There's no reason to believe that Sensabaugh won't -- at some point -- be a starting corner back for the Titans this season. Whether it comes by injury or by performance, Sensebaugh should get his fair share of time to prove his worth. The second-year pro is on pace to have a breakout year, now that he finally has his chance.