NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The newest Tennessee Titans have taken the field at Saint Thomas Sports Park and been assigned their official jersey numbers. Now, the next “Phase” of the NFL offseason is upon us.
Players will report back to the facility Monday and practice will open Tuesday for the Nashville media. Here are the stories we’re watching for this week:
The last time anyone other than his teammates, coaches or training staff saw Marcus Mariota throw was the week of practice leading up to his regular season finale scratch against the Indianapolis Colts.
Now, new back-up Ryan Tannehill enters the mix as the first legitimate competition Mariota has had through his four years as a professional. GM Jon Robinson made it clear post-Tannehill trade that Mariota would be the starter and Tannehill certainly will not win the job during OTAs. But, it will be the first time the two will be seen working together and will surely cause a commotion among us media vultures.
Will We See/Hear From Simmons?
Jeffery Simmons, the Titans’ first-round draft choice this year, was predictably not available nor seen by the media during the portion of rookie minicamp practice that was open to us as he rehabs the torn ACL in his left knee with team trainers.
Tennessee is under no obligation to make Simmons available at this time. It may not benefit the player or the team to have him under further scrutiny than Simmons already is. But, as I said two weeks ago, not to hear from or interact at all with the player with the troubled past that coach Mike Vrabel, GM Jon Robinson and controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk are so excited for us to meet felt like a missed opportunity.
Will we get an update from the young defensive tackle or will Mike Vrabel speak on his behalf?
New Faces, New Places
NFLPA rules state that players may not be in pads outside of protective knee and elbow pads with helmets in “Phase 3” of a team’s offseason nor can there be any live contact.
What we will see for the first time this year are 7 on 7 and 11 on 11 drills that will give us our first glimpse of what the Titans’ starting line-ups and depth chart will look like. Edge rusher opposite sophomore Harold Landry and one of the offensive guard spots we know are up for grabs. It will also be interesting to see which receiver starts on the outside opposite Corey Davis with free agent Adam Humphries and draft pick A.J. Brown added to the fold.