Titans beat writer Jim Wyatt:
Hakeem Nicks didn’t have a great offseason. He was overweight and just didn’t impress me that much. But he’s changed my mind early in training camp. He’s been making plays on a regular basis, and stood out. Still, it’s hard to say what kind of impact he’ll make. Kendall Wright and Harry Douglas will be on the field a lot, along with Justin Hunter. If he keeps performing, the Titans will have to gets Nicks on the field. How fast Dorial Green-Beckham develops will have an impact on his playing time as well, too, though.
Titans writer Jim Wyatt on the receiving corps:
Kendall Wright and Harry Douglas are proven commodities, and Hakeem Nicks has had a good camp so far. He has an impressive resume, and it looks like he’ll be a factor this fall. The Titans have liked what they’ve seen from Hunter in camp. I think he’s in the top three. Dorial Green-Beckham is a work in progress. We’ll all know a lot more about his chances to contribute early after the preseason, but some patience might be needed with him. There’s no doubt he’s very talented.
If Green-Beckham picks up things quickly and proves he’s not as raw as his detractors say — one offensive coordinator said he was “completely lost” at the whiteboard in a pre-draft interview — he could certainly make an impact early in the season, but it sounds like he's more of a project than an NFL-ready receiver. It was interesting to hear that Wyatt believes that Hunter is in the top three.
Tuesday, August 4, 2015, 5:55pm
For a quarterback, 7-on-7 work is supposed to be easier than 11-on-11 drills. There is no pass rush. There is no crowd to see over or around. Receivers should win matchups and provide open targets.
In a 7-on-7 drill, he hit Bishop Sankey and then missed on three throws in a row: He missed Hakeem Nicks in the end zone, threw out of bounds to a well-covered Kendall Wright in the back right corner of the end zone and threw a bad pass I think was aimed for Harry Douglas but might have been intended for Delanie Walker behind him.
But in the full team red zone period that followed, Mariota's fuse got re-lit.
A dump off to tight end Craig Stevens created a chance for him to bounce into the end zone. A slant to Douglas for a touchdown. A hard roll out to the right and a dart to Wright at the front corner of the end zone.
Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt had said he'd be interested to see how quarterback Marcus Mariota handled his first days in pads, with more players bumping and jostling him, and more players falling at his feet.
Mariota still looked like a cool, composed quarterback. He completed a combined 12-of-18 passes in 7-on-7 drills and team drills, and three of the incompletions should have been caught. Mariota went without an interception for the third straight day.
A couple Mariota highlights: He anticipated Kendall Wright's break to the sideline perfectly on one play, connecting with him just as Wright turned for the ball. Mariota also threw a good deep completion down the right sideline to Hakeem Nicks, who'd beaten Jason McCourty on the play.
That's not to say Mariota was perfect, of course. The story said he overthrew TE Delanie Walker once on a short pass as Walker headed toward the sideline. He also wobbled another pass downfield to Walker, even though it reached its intended destination. But the bottom line is that 15-of-18 passes were caught or should have been caught. Mariota isn't making any risky throws that are causing coaches great worry, and he knows how important it is not to turn the ball over. Of course, it's only early in camp and a lot remains to be seen from Mariota, but the positive reports have continued throughout the offseason when it comes to the rookie QB. Mariota is 26th on our QB list and could at least have some streaming value. In 12-team leagues he's getting some late round action in early season drafts according to his ADP.
Kendall Wright is clearly the top receiver and Hakeem Nicks got the bulk of the work opposite Wright. But the second snap of many series featured two new guys, including Harry Douglas, Justin Hunter and Green-Beckham.
Wright is a good value in the 9th or 10th round, especially in PPR formats. The team needs to find a starter on the other side. Nicks is the overlooked vet, but it didn't seem like he had a whole lot left given the way he played in Indianapolis last season. Still, he's just 27 years old and shouldn't be washed up just yet. Green-Beckham is a physical specimen, but is very raw. Hunter has had a disappointing career, and is dealing with an off-the-field issue (felonious assault). Douglas is an unexciting vet who could end up with a big role if things break his way.
Officials in Virginia Beach, Virginia said 24-year-old Justin Scott Hunter turned himself in Monday after a warrant was filed in relation to an incident in early July.
Hunter was charged with one count of felonious assault and lodged in the Virginia Beach City Jail on no bond. He was scheduled to be arraigned in court Tuesday afternoon.
Dorial Green-Beckham spent weeks sidelined by a hamstring injury. That aside, his former college coach believes the Titans have landed the equivalent of a "nightmare matchup for any cornerback at any level."
"I was with the Colts with Jim Mora when he had Marvin Harrison and Reggie Wayne, I was with the Raiders when they had Jerry Rice, Tim Brown, Jerry Porter and some other guys on the Super Bowl team," University of Texas receivers coach Jay Norvell told the Tennessean.
Norvell spent last season coaching the red-shirted Green-Beckham in practice at Oklahoma, saying: "When you go through the history of the draft and look at the guys with size and speed and all that, he is just unique. Calvin Johnson is probably one of the closest comparisons physically because of his size."
"He's not a finished product, but most players aren't," Norvell said. "So he's going to have to learn the pro game and that's a completely different game from college. But he's got some natural gifts that will help him in that game, and in some ways, the NFL is probably a better game for him than college football, just because of the bump rules and (less) contact and all of that. So there are some advantages he has. ... That's why they picked him."
If Green-Beckham picks up things quickly and proves he’s not as raw as his detractors say — one offensive coordinator said he was “completely lost” at the whiteboard in a pre-draft interview — he could certainly start early in the season opposite Kendall Wright, since it seems that Justin Hunter is on the outs with the current coaching staff. If he sees starter’s snaps, he should be fantasy relevant as a rookie, though he'll have to prove he's ready for the mental side of the game. Long-term, he has a chance to flourish if both he and Marcus Mariota are the real deal.
It hasn't necessarily been a lost offseason for receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, but the second round pick has been slow out of the gate, to say the least. Green-Beckham injured his hamstring during the team's rookie minicamp, re-aggravated the injury during an early OTA, and has been a spectator most of the offseason. Green-Beckham did some work on a limited basis in practices last week, and is expected to be involved in this week's minicamp to some degree. The Titans hope he can make it through the week without any further setbacks, which would allow him to hit the ground running for training camp.
If Green-Beckham picks up things quickly and proves he’s not as raw as his detractors say — one offensive coordinator said he was “completely lost” at the whiteboard in a pre-draft interview — he could certainly start early in the season opposite Kendall Wright, since it seems that Justin Hunter is on the outs with the current coaching staff. If he sees starter’s snaps, he should be fantasy relevant as a rookie, though he'll have to prove he's ready for the mental side of the game. Long-term, he has a chance to flourish if both he and Mariota are the real deal.
Titans WR Kendall Wright said that he was “definitely surprised” after seeing his catches, yards and targets drop sharply in his third year with the team. Wide receivers coach Shawn Jefferson said that “it was indicative of our season,” which saw three different quarterbacks start games, but Wright wasn’t willing to blame lack of chemistry with quarterbacks for the downturn. He also won’t say if he thinks the change in schemes that accompanied head coach Ken Whisenhunt’s arrival had a negative impact.
“I think a lot of things, but thinking and doing what I have to do are totally different,” Wright said, via the Tennessean. “So I just keep my thoughts to myself. I don’t even speak them out loud. Whatever I have to do, I’ll do.”
Wright averaged 5.1 catches in his first two seasons. In his first year under Whisenhunt, he averaged 4.1 receptions, though he caught six touchdown passes, a career high. He should continue to provide low-end WR3/high-end WR4 numbers. His upside depends largely on the progress of QB Marcus Mariota.
For the better part of his first two seasons in the league, Titans wide receiver Kendall Wright was given unusual freedom in his route-running: It didn't really matter to the previous coaching staff how he arrived at his route destination -- as long as he arrived.
That philosophy helped Wright put up some big numbers in his first two years, especially in 2013, when he caught 94 passes for 1,079 yards.
But Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt wanted Wright to take a more disciplined and precise approach to route-running last year, which is why the two seemed occasionally to be at odds. Wright's numbers took a noticeable dip in 2014, as he caught 64 passes for 626 yards.
Whisenhunt said last week that he and Wright have spent a lot of time in the offseason talking about their philosophical differences.
The article has more detail about why Whisenhunt wanted Wright to be more disciplined. He averaged 5.1 catches in his first two seasons. In his first year under Ken Whisenhunt, he averaged 4.1 receptions, though he caught six touchdown passes, which was a career high. He should continue to provide low-end WR3/high-end WR4 numbers. His upside depends largely on the progress of QB Marcus Mariota.
Dorial Green-Beckham strained his hamstring at the team’s rookie minicamp earlier this month and missed last week’s workouts before returning to the field on Tuesday. His return was a brief one, however, as Green-Beckham again tweaked the hamstring and left the field.
“He felt a little pull,” Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said, via the Tennessean. “You walk that line of saying, `OK, get back in there.’ But if you pull it, you lose him for all the OTAs. You don’t want him missing any more time because you want him in there. We pulled him, but I think he’ll be all right.”
If Green-Beckham picks up things quickly and proves he’s not as raw as his detractors say, he could certainly start early in the season opposite Kendall Wright, since it seems that Justin Hunter is on the outs with the current coaching staff. If he sees starter’s snaps, he should be fantasy relevant as a rookie, though he'll have to prove he's ready for the mental side of the game. Long-term, he has a chance to flourish if both he and Mariota are the real deal.
WR Dorial Green-Beckham gives the Titans a high-upside target, but his off-the-field issues at Missouri led one NFC personnel man to tell NFL Media's Lance Zierlein that the wideout "couldn't keep himself out of trouble, had no structure growing up and didn't take coaching at Missouri," adding: "He's tall and fast and has good hands, but he can't be trusted."
From another AFC coordinator: "We had him in for a visit and put him on the board and he was completely lost. Whoever takes him better have a plan for him because it could be rough early on."
The Titans added Green-Beckham to shore up the receiving corps for their new quarterback, Marcus Mariota. The pick certainly is a long-term boost for Mariota, who now has a dangerous downfield threat with which to work. If he picks up things quickly (which is a big "if," considering the above comments) and proves he’s not as raw as his detractors say, Green-Beckham could certainly start early in the season opposite Kendall Wright, since it seems that Justin Hunter is on the outs with the current coaching staff.
"I'm nowhere near finished, man, and I want to prove that to the world and everybody," Nicks told FOX Sports' Mike Garafalo recently. "That's definitely my mentality, but I don't even want to talk about it. I feel like I got into that situation last year talking about it. I'm about to just go out there and prove it.
"I can't even describe the feeling to you. It's like a burning sensation inside of me. I just want to be the best. I know I have to work hard at it; it's something that's in me. It's just in me and takes over me."
Nicks was underwhelming in Indianapolis, catching only 55% of his targets while posting 38 catches for 405 yards and four touchdowns. The Titans also added Harry Douglas this offseason, so he and Nicks will join a receiving corps that already includes Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter. There isn't much fantasy value here.
Charlie Whitehurst will get the start in what is shaping up to be one of the worst Thursday Night Football games of all time. Kendall Wright is active after missing a couple of games with a hand injury, and apparently won’t be wearing a splint or a cast on his hand. He’s not a great start, but he’s been pretty solid when active and with Justin Hunter out, he should get plenty of targets. We prefer Nate Washington, who had a strong Week 15. The matchup against Jacksonville (#4 in WR aFPA) is not favorable.
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