NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Rookie minicamp does not rate high on the Public Intrigue Meter but it signifies yet one more step in returning to actual football. This year’s event presented a unique opportunity, though, for the Tennessee Titans.
It is, after all, a particularly intriguing rookie class.
List season plagues May sports content. So, instead of your typical “Minicamp Observations” piece on what actual football information was gleaned from a 20-minute stretch and individual period, let us take a different look:
Rookie minicamp, for the media, proved fairly useless for information gathering. New wide receiver A.J. Brown made a one-handed snag against no defense that was fodder for social media clicks. Former MTSU quarterback Brent Stockstill was one of 31 tryout players in attendance rocking shorts and shells two days into their NFL orientations.
The Stockstill feel-good blogs practically write themselves.
Access was minimal at Saint Thomas Sports Park Saturday and the on-field takeaways few but coach Mike Vrabel did lend a little insight into how pivotal this phase of the offseason is in differentiating a franchise’s culture.
“I think that when you have (the rookies) in your building and you get to spend a lot of time, whatever it may be, 6:00 in the morning to 8:00 at night, that’s a lot of hours,” Vrabel said Saturday. “So, you start to become comfortable with them and see their personality a lot more…
“Now, you see these guys engage in meetings and find out what their true personality is. And, when you get them on the field, you see who is willing to talk, who is willing to communicate to the player next to them and those are all real positive things.”
Take A Stance
Third-round (82nd) offensive lineman Nate Davis out of Charlotte will lazily be discounted by some as a player who will need to “adjust to the speed at the next level.” The small-school knock is not applicable to Davis (6-3, 311), whose film speaks for itself and who probably would benefit from a year as a quality back-up but has the ability to push for a rookie starting role.
One thing Davis is looking to adjust is his stance as an offensive lineman and minimizing the time it takes him to burst out of it.
“When I get out of my stance, I kind of raise up and then go (forward) so it kind of leaves too much time,” Davis explained. “Obviously, being a pro, you can’t do that when you have guys like Aaron Donald across from you. You have to be explosive as possible.”
No Sign Of Simmons
Jeffery Simmons, the Titans’ first-round choice this year, was predictably not available nor seen by the media during the portion of Saturday’s practice that was open 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, it felt like a missed opportunity at rookie minicamp not to hear from or interact at all with the player with the troubled past that Vrabel, GM Jon Robinson and controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk are so excited for us to meet.
I feel for a 21-year-old bombarded with attention, both wanted and unwanted, and that it is the obligation of both organization and coaching staff to protect him. But an emotional introductory presser and plenty of character testimony should not be satisfactory for a fan base who has every right to want to get to know more about this young man and hear from him more often than the minimum the team’s policies require or allow for.