Titans vs. Rams training camp observations: Offense


Chris Johnson signing autographs
Today was my first day attending 2008 Tennessee Titans training camp. Overall, it was a pretty good experience (with the exception of the blazing hot weather).
While Andrew focused most of his attention towards observing the defense, I was particularly interested in the offense and how Vince Young is faring in picking up the nuances of Dinger’s system.
This is what I observed:

First things first: the guys that weren’t on the field. Apparently, Lendale White didn’t practice during the morning session due to a back injury. One of the biggest stories of training camp thus far has been the return of Justin McCareins, but he was unavailable today because of a bad hammy.
My observation of the offense began with the running back drills. RB’s coach Earnest Byner got things started with this juicy comment towards a somewhat lethargic group of Titan running backs:
 “Wake the %@*& up!”
Once the backs were fully awake, I was mostly impressed with Chris Johnson’s ability to catch passes out of the backfield. He was complimented by Byner on several occasions with a “good job”comment.
This Johnson kid is a keeper, folks.
While the Titans defense was busy fighting with the Rams offense, Vince Young and the troops were going up against the Rams defense in 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 drills.
Vince had his share of good moments. He delivered a nice touch pass to a wide open Chris Davis on one play. He also hooked up with Roydell on a pretty pass later in the drill.
The bad Vince emerged on one particular play, when forced to make a quick throw, his errant throw was intercepted by a Ram defender who, judging by the pass, appeared to be the intended receiver on the play.
One thing that really stood out with Vince today was the constant checkdowns. He was consistently throwing the ball to his backs and tight ends instead of attempting to take chances downfield. Vince appears to be doing a lot of thinking on the field instead of relying on his natural instincts, which is indicative of a young QB trying to learn a new offense.
While Vince was mostly checking down, Collins was taking chances downfield. He completed a beautiful pass to Lavelle Hawkins, who made a nice over the shoulder grab on the play. Kerry also connected with Dwayne Blakley on a pass over the middle with defenders draped all over him.
As for the Titans’ third string QB Ingle Martin, things couldn’t have been worse. His passes were often wobbly and errant as he tried to connect with Titan receivers. One particular throw that was accurate sailed towards a wide open Jamie Petrowski, who did his best to imitate the Three Stooges on the play by dropping the football.
The receivers that stood out today in my opinion were Lavelle Hawkins and Roydell Williams. Justin Gage and Brandon Jones were the starters, but Hawkins and Williams made their share of plays. Biren Ealy made a few short grabs and rookie Ed Williams didn’t help his chances of making the team as a result of a dropped pass near the sideline.
As for the running game, with Lendale out, the reps were mostly split between Johnson, Henry and Hall. Johnson made a few defenders miss on various occasions, and looks to be a real threat in the backfield. Henry didn’t do anything distinguishing, but he didn’t really make any mistakes either.
I’m expecting Ahmard “Sarge” Hall to get some carries in the backfield next season. His damn the torpedoes, full speed ahead running style fits the mold of the traditional Titan power running attack. I’d like to see Dinger use him on goal-line situations this season.
As a result of VY’s constant checkdowns, the tight ends got a lot of work today. Crumpler looks solid and if he stays healthy, I expect him to lead the team in receptions next year. He has already emerged as VY’s number one option in the offense.
As I mentioned before, Blakely made a nice grab and Petrowski dropped an easy one. Scaife caught a short pass or two and Craig Stevens even got in on the act with a nice grab on an Ingle Martin pass.
To sum it up, the Titans did a solid job on offense today, with a few minor issues that will hopefully be corrected as we get closer to the regular season opener.


10 Responses to “Titans vs. Rams training camp observations: Offense”

  1. Myles Says:

    The afternoon session was much better for vince. A lot of downfield passes and some great placement, especially on two redzone touchdown passes. I did a write-up over at the Titans forum on Footballs Future.

  2. Garland Says:

    Link, Myles?

  3. Drexel Perry Says:

    That’s great to hear that Vince did well going downfield during the afternoon session, Myles.
    He had his moments during the morning session but as I said in the article, he was going for the short-intermediate stuff a lot more.
    Should be interesting to see how VY does Saturday night.

  4. Tom Gower Says:

    I’m curious to see how much use Hall gets this year-he barely saw the ball at all in the regular season, then got a ton of use in the playoff game. Knowing how much Dinger likes the TE, I suspect he won’t get used much more, but we’ll just have to see.

  5. Myles Says:

    Ask and you shall recieve

  6. Andrew Strickert Says:

    Encouraging news, Drexel. Thanks for the report.
    Like yesterday, I’ll be at the morning session today but probably won’t make the afternoon one.

  7. David H. Says:

    I know its a little bit off subject but… I really hope this team can get it together and pull together 10 to 12 wins this year. With “JET FAVRE” now in New York, that elusive 6th seed is going to be even tougher this year than last. I hate to say it but, 10 wins isn’t a lock anymore. We really need to push Jacksonville and try to lock up the # 2 spot. Just a little concern from realist who happens to be a Titans fan.

  8. David H. Says:

    I live in lower Westchester County New York, which is like 30 minutes from Manhattan. And you wouldn’t belive the vibe that this man has brought to the city. People are flocking to Modells as I type right now to get a Brett Favre Jets jersey. The newspapers read stuff like “Brett the JET” and “From Green Bay to Gang Green” its F@#&ing crazy!!! I know its not like the Jets got a 22 year old future franchise QB, and its not a move that going to make the Jets a powerhouse for years to come but, in my mind they’re certainly a contender for that elusive 6th wild card seed that most teams covet. And I want our team to when now. I just gotta know what do you guys think?

  9. Drexel Perry Says:

    I agree that the race for the playoffs in the AFC just got a little tougher.
    As far as the Jets are concerned, they do come to LP field 11/23, so the Titans will have the opportunity to get the head to head tie-breaker if that’s what it comes down to.
    Gonna be interesting to see how long it takes Favre to get a good chemistry level with his new WR’s. Of course, Favre is a notorious freelancer who likes to take chances anyway, so his learning curve isn’t going to be that steep.
    The Jets made a ton of improvements this offseason and were expected to at least compete for a playoff spot before Favre’s arrival. With Brett, NY is certainly going to compete.
    As for 10 wins, it wasn’t a lock to make the playoffs in the AFC last season, as the Cleveland Browns finished on the outside looking in despite having a 10-6 record.
    I see a similar scenario in the AFC this year.
    The Titans just have to take care of their business and let everything else take care of itself. They control their own destiny.

  10. Dave Says:

    We kicked Brett’s butt every time we played them…the Jets pose us no threat…and there is NO reason we can’t win the AFC south.

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