Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE – Titans head coach Mike Vrabel spoke to reporters on Thursday to put a wrap on the offseason work.
Here’s a look at the highlights:
Training Camp Dates
The Titans veterans will report for training camp on July 25, and the first practice will be on July 26, Vrabel said.
The first open practice for fans will be on July 27.
The Titans rookies will report for camp on July 22, with the quarterbacks.
Scrimmage and Joint Practices
The Titans plan to have an open practice and scrimmage at Nissan Stadium on Saturday, August 3.
Vrabel said the Titans won’t have a Friday night practice at Centennial High this year in camp.
“We are going to go into the stadium, and depending on the health of the team … we’ll have some form of a scrimmage-type setting,” Vrabel said.
The Titans will hold joint practices with the Patriots at Saint Thomas Sports Park leading up to the August 17 preseason game.
“Bill (Belichick) and I will talk over the summer about what we plan to do,” Vrabel said of the Patriots head coach. “I think what you gain is you practice against a team that has been at the top of this league year in and year out.”
Titans tackle Jack Conklin, tight end Jonnu Smith and defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons did not practice with the team all offseason because of injuries, and others were limited in their work.
Tight end Delanie Walker worked in the OTAs, but not in the minicamp.
“I think that we expect to be really close to full strength at training camp,” Vrabel said. “A few guys may start the roster on PUP but (GM) Jon (Robinson) and I will look at that and see where those guys are in 40 days or so.”
The left side of the Titans o-line is set: Taylor Lewan and Rodger Saffold will line up at left tackle and left guard, respectively, with Ben Jones at center.
But the right side is still a work in progress, with Kevin Pamphile, Nate Davis, Aaron Stinnie and Jamil Douglas all battling at guard, and Dennis Kelly and Jack Conklin among those in the competition at right tackle.
“There’s no timetable for me,” Vrabel said when asked how quickly he’d like to have the starting five in place. “We’re going to practice, and we’re going to have competition. And by the time we go to Cleveland in 87 days, I know we’re going to have what we feel like is the best five guys starting and the most versatile guys backing them up.”
Instead of practicing, Vrabel took the team to Top Golf.
The Titans spent two days this week on the field in minicamp, following OTAs in May and early June.
“I don’t think we’re going to beat anybody on this last day,” Vrabel said, “but I think that we could certainly lose to some teams by losing guys. I think that’s the biggest thing that you want … is you just try and improve but stay as healthy as you possibly can.”
The Titans open the regular season on Sunday, September 8 at Cleveland.
Vrabel mentioned the exact number of days until that game on Thursday.
But how much are the Titans currently preparing for the Browns?
“I think the work always starts,” Vrabel said. “I think there’s a fine line in worrying about what you are doing, and then there’s another line: What’s the other team doing?
“Right now I would say the majority of everything that we do, especially at the player level, is based on what we are doing. There may be some internal discussions by coaches on what the Browns have done in the past. But opening day, a lot of things can happen and a lot of things will be new on both sides of the ball.”