"I think that it was obvious that he’s a talented young man. He ran the ball very well last night, very decisive, made good cuts. We’ve seen growth from him, as well. I think, just like with Zach (Mettenberger), we’ve seen growth with Bishop (Sankey). He’s gotten better, obviously, at his exchanges with the quarterbacks. His course on his footwork has improved. His vision is good. He’s seeing the holes well. His protection, he’s done a nicer job with that as he’s gone through it, so from a young guy that you’re trying to get prepared to contribute during the season, you’ve seen growth, you’ve seen him moving along with that, and that’s what you needed to see. I’m happy with him."
We’re projecting Sankey to eventually win the RB1 job after the Titans took him as the first back in the draft. He’s a versatile back who doesn’t have much competition for touches, though the team may elect to bring him along slowly since Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster are on the roster. The last 13 rookies who were the top drafted RB in their class and joined a backfield with a lackluster incumbent averaged 18.2 touches for 83.1 yards and 0.55 TD, or 11.6 fantasy points per game. That’s about what Ryan Mathews averaged as the #12 RB in 2013.
Thursday, August 28, 2014, 1:18pm
Titans K Maikon Bonani and Travis Coons get their final chance to seize the kicker job. One of them is expected to be cut Friday or Saturday. But both could be if the Titans decide to move on to a veteran after looking at three on Wednesday. Bonani needs to show accuracy with his big leg and produce touchbacks. Coons needs to show more leg, putting kickoffs higher and deeper.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 2:41pm
And it hasn’t taken long, as he’s headed to work out for the Titans, according to Jim Wyatt of the Tennessean.
If he signs there, he’d reunite with his old Cardinals coach Ken Whisenhunt, but he’d also lend some legitimacy to a perhaps the league’s most anonymous competition.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 9:32am
His tank looked plenty full during his acrobatic sideline catch when he out-muscled an Atlanta corner to complete the grab.
Players like Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter have received most of the offseason headlines among Titans receivers – and deservedly so. Wright is an emerging star who led the Titans in receptions in 2013 with 94. Hunter has been widely regarded as a breakout candidate in 2014.
But don’t sleep on Nate Washington. He might not be a guy who wants the limelight, but he still has plenty to offer entering his 10th NFL season.
Wright seems pretty safe as the team's WR1, but Justin Hunter could compete a little with Washington for playing time and snaps. Last year Hunter played just 36% of the snaps while Washington saw 82%. But with OC Ken Whisenhunt now running things, there's a chance both Hunter and Washington are involved. We consider Washington the teams WR3 in terms of fantasy and rank him lower than both Wright and Hunter.
Tuesday, August 26, 2014, 9:25am
The increased freedom comes in the form of coach Ken Whisenhunt’s new system, which allows the Titans quarterback unprecedented ability to make changes in pass protection — and to a lesser extent plays — when he steps to the line of scrimmage.
The increased responsibility? He better be right when he makes those changes.
“I feel really comfortable and I really feel like I understand what we’re doing offensively and I have ownership of it,” Locker said. “So I thank (this coaching staff) for challenging me early. At this point, I really feel like I understand what’s going on in this offense better than I have in the past.”
Locker isn't getting a lot of love on draft day, but could potentially be a low-end QB2 or a committee QB. He was beginning to gain some momentum as a fantasy starter last year but then got hurt.
Monday, August 25, 2014, 6:24pm
Then the Titans will sit down and try to pick a winner. Or go looking through the waiver wire for someone else.
"At some point, you've got to base it off what you've seen them do," coach Ken Whisenhunt said Monday. "And if you don't feel like they can do it, you have to look for other avenues to address it."
The Titans decided to go young at kicker in March when they cut veteran Rob Bironas, the fourth-most accurate kicker all-time in the NFL. They already had Bonani on the roster after having the former South Florida kicker in training camp last year, and they added undrafted rookie Coons out of Washington after the draft in May.
Monday, August 25, 2014, 12:26pm
Titans rookie quarterback Zach Mettenberger has completed 31-of-44 passes for 417 yards and a touchdown over the last two weeks while Charlie Whitehurst has been out of the lineup with an injury to his throwing hand.
“Charlie’s had a very good preseason, too, and a very good camp,” Whisenhunt said, via the Tennessean. “I’ve said Charlie was the two coming in, and I don’t think that is going to change.”
Saturday, August 23, 2014, 6:02pm
The Titans kicking competition between Maikon Bonani and Travis Coons continues tonight with more chances for each to be evaluated by head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff. Not much to add here, but until Whisenhunt chooses a winner, it’s a battle certainly worth watching.
Titans RB Bishop Sankey didn’t have a fumbling problem in college and no one seems concerned that it will be an issue going forward. It’s just a part of the learning curve.
“That’s been the problem for him,” said RB Sylvester Croom. “He’s using the same footwork on all the running plays. It’s been different. It’s been a learning experience for him and it’s a discipline about doing it over and over again. He’s learning how important it is.”
Every Sankey mistake is sure to be followed with tough love from Croom, but the Titans running backs coach left nothing to question about the confidence he has in his rookie.
“Bishop has everything we thought about him during our evaluation process prior to the draft. He has that and more,” Croom explained. “We think he’s going to make a big contribution to this football team because he works at it. He’s a talented individual, he works really hard and he’s intelligent. When you put those things together and you keep showing up, then good things will happen.”
It make take a few weeks, but we’re projecting Sankey to be the clear RB1 in Tennessee after the Titans took him as the first RB in the draft. He’s a versatile back who doesn’t have much competition for touches. The last 13 rookies who were the top drafted RB in their class and joined a backfield with a lackluster incumbent averaged 18.2 touches for 83.1 yards and 0.55 TD, or 11.6 fantasy points per game. That’s about what Ryan Mathews averaged as the #12 RB in 2013.
I wrote several weeks ago that expectations might be too high for wide receiver Justin Hunter entering his second season, considering he only caught 18 passes as a rookie.
But I'm now more inclined to jump on the hype wagon. Hunter has progressed faster than I imagined. He's bigger, more confident and is doing a better job of using his freakish athletic skills to full effect.
While it's true the regular season is a different animal, Hunter appears ready to become a consistent big-play threat.
As a rookie, Hunter checked in with the #18 FP/T (1.41), which is encouraging, especially if he’s able to beat out Nate Washington and get on the field as more than a just a passing-down specialist. He only played 36% of the team’s snaps, while Washington played 82%. The good news is that under then-OC Ken Whisenhunt, Keenan Allen, Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal all played at least 67% of the Chargers’ snaps. So with Whiz calling the plays in Tennessee, there may be room for both players in the lineup if Hunter hasn't already won the job outright.
When the Titans get anywhere near the goal line, quarterback Jake Locker simply lofts a soft spiral toward the corner of the end zone. That's when the 6-foot-4, 203-pound Hunter turns into a jack-in-the-box, leaping over defenders to haul in a touchdown pass – just as he did in last Friday's loss to the New Orleans Saints.
It's been all but unstoppable so far.
As a rookie, Hunter checked in with the #18 FP/T (1.41), which is encouraging, especially if he’s able to beat out Nate Washington and get on the field as more than a just a passing-down specialist. He only played 36% of the team’s snaps, while Washington played 82%. The good news is that under then-OC Ken Whisenhunt, Keenan Allen, Vincent Brown and Eddie Royal all played at least 67% of the Chargers’ snaps. Hunter's prowess in the redzone bodes well for QB Jake Locker.
New Orleans Saints running back Mark Ingram hasn't exactly been known as a pass-catching running back in his time in the NFL. This especially rings true when Ingram has only caught 27 passes for 160 yards - and zero touchdowns - in 39 career games (37 regular season, two playoffs).
But a look at the record books, as Ingram attested to on Monday after practice, shows that Ingram has been capable of being an asset out of the backfield in his younger days.
Entering his fourth season with the Saints, Ingram is ready to show off some of that versatility on a new stage.
"I want to do everything," Ingram said. "I want to be involved in the passing game, the running game, picking up pass (protection). I want to be the most versatile player I can be."
Ingram looks to have a much more active role in the Saints' passing game this season as evident by his preseason workload. He caught a 23-yard touchdown pass from Ryan Griffin in the Saints' 31-24 preseason victory over the Tennessee Titans last Friday.
Ingram alluded to the fact that the reason he hasn't caught as many passes with the Saints is because simply, there haven't been many chances to do so because of the style of play the Saints run and the opportunities given to Pierre Thomas and Darren Sproles over the last three seasons. With the news that Thomas is now the RB3 on the Saints depth chart, it could very well create more opportunity for Ingram to be a true feature back. This isn't good news for Thomas owners.
Tennessee's running back battle didn't skip a beat on Monday.
Greene practiced Monday, taking snaps in a backfield that also includes rookie Bishop Sankey. We expect the duo to share carries this season, but Greene is a candidate to see his role shrivel up in favor of Tennessee's first-round pick.
Sankey lost a fumble against the Saints and reportedly has struggled with ball-handing in practice, but we think he eventually emerges as the Titans RB1. For now, it looks like a committee approach at least to start the season but Sankey has long term value and may end up falling a little in drafts because of this news.
Sankey, a second-round pick, runs a lap every time he fumbles during practice.
Sankey is the team's leading ballcarrier through two preseason games with 19 carries for 68 yards, and he's added three catches for 47 yards. But Sankey won't be getting on the field too often if he can't be trusted to hold onto the football.
Not good news for potential owners or for those who already drafted him as visions of Stevan Ridley benchings now dance in our head. Sankey did miss some time in OTAs because of school and the team has alluded that could be an issue. Sankey is listed third on the depth chart at RB behind injured Shonn Greene and Dexter McCluster.
Saturday, August 16, 2014, 4:37pm
The nameplate on the back of his practice jersey was replaced by “JAG.”
After a week of great catches in practice, he grabbed two touchdowns in New Orleans, pulled in four catches for 111 yards and showed off the leaping ability that can make him practically impossible to defend.
“I think you’re seeing just a glimpse of what he can be, but because of what he did last night, let’s not make the mistake and think he’s, by any stretch, close to what he can be,” Whisenhunt said at his Saturday news conference. “There are a lot of things, from route depth to discipline on his releases, where even though he made some big plays last night, those have got to become more consistent.
Hunter is starting to make a name for himself and we even have him trending up our WR chart, sitting at number-40. Keep in mind he played on just 36% of the snaps last year so that will need to improve, which means he'll have to steal some time away from veteran Nate Washington.
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