Tennessee Titans players and coaches assemble this week at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park for the start of training camp. The first full-squad practice of camp is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. CDT on Wednesday, July 27.
Executive vice president/general manager Jon Robinson and head coach Mike Vrabel lead the team as it looks to defend its second consecutive AFC South division title and return to the playoffs for the fourth straight season. It would mark the second time in franchise history the team recorded a streak of four or more consecutive playoff appearances (1987–1993). The Titans are joined by the Buffalo Bills, Kansas City Chiefs and Green Bay Packers as the only NFL clubs to clinch playoff berths in each of the last three campaigns.
An early-reporting group consisting of rookies, quarterbacks and injured players arrived at camp on Saturday, July 23, with their teammates set to join them on Tuesday, July 26, and practice for the first time the following day. A five-day acclimation period mandated by the NFL and NFL Players Association's collective bargaining agreement will be held at the start of training camp, which includes practices without full pads. On Monday, Aug. 1, the Titans will hold their first fully-padded practice of camp.
Renovations are nearing completion at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park, the team's headquarters since it originally opened in 1999. The facility has been under construction since soon after Titans controlling owner Amy Adams Strunk announced in November 2019 plans to reconfigure the existing 75,000-square-foot building and erect a brand-new, 60,000-square-foot addition. Features include modernized offices and meeting spaces; a parking deck; updated weight room; new surfaces in the indoor practice bubble and on one of the outdoor fields; a television studio; and a new media workroom.
Titans training camp information will be updated continuously at TennesseeTitans.com, the Titans mobile app and on all official team social channels.
LIMITED CROWDS BACK AT PRACTICE
For the first time since 2019, the Titans will practice in front of fans at their home headquarters. A combination of COVID-19 protocols and the ongoing construction prevented public access in 2020 and 2021. Currently, the NFL has no such COVID-19 protocols for teams, fans or media in 2022 outside of local regulations.
The camp dates that are open to the public are Saturday, July 30 and Friday, August 5. However, all available tickets—which are required for entry—were distributed earlier in July on a first-come, first-served basis, and none remain. No tickets will be available on site. Click here for more information.
The Titans will host additional invited guests on other practice days during training camp.
PRESEASON GAMES AND JOINT PRACTICES
The Titans are scheduled for three preseason contests this August. Once they open camp, they will have just over two weeks before they travel to Baltimore to face the Ravens in their preseason opener on Thursday, Aug. 11.
The following week the Titans will host the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Nissan Stadium on Saturday, Aug. 20, but not before they square off against quarterback Tom Brady and the rest of the Buccaneers in joint practices on Aug. 17 and 18. Both practices will be held at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park.
A week later, the process repeats itself but with a different visitor as the Titans welcome quarterback Kyler Murray and the Arizona Cardinals to Nashville. The clubs will practice together on Aug. 24 and 25, followed by an Aug. 27 game to conclude the preseason.
To open the regular season, the Titans will host the New York Giants on Sept. 11.
TRIMMING THE ROSTER
Robinson, Vrabel and their respective staffs will craft and manage a roster that will need to be pared three times before the regular season. NFL rules permit 90-man rosters at the start of camp until the first cut to 85 players on Aug. 16. The roster gets trimmed to 80 players exactly one week later on Aug. 23, and finally, on Aug. 30, it goes to the regular season limit of 53 players. Players placed on reserve lists such as Injured Reserve, Reserve/Physically Unable to Perform and Reserve/Non-Football Injury or Illness do not count towards the 53-man active roster limit.
Practice squads of up to 16 players may be established on Aug. 31.
Players allocated from the NFL's International Player Pathway program, such as Titans tight end Thomas Odukoya (Netherlands), do not count against league roster limits through the end of training camp. At that time, the players are eligible for an international player practice squad exemption, granting the team an extra practice squad member. Clubs have the opportunity to elevate the player to the active roster during the season.
BUILDING THE 2022 TITANS
Several new faces will be on hand their first training camp with the Titans, including a pair of veteran offensive weapons in wide receiver Robert Woods and tight end Austin Hooper. Woods, who is entering his 10th NFL season, was acquired in a trade with the Los Angeles Rams. He accumulated 570 career receptions for 7,077 yards and 35 touchdowns during his previous stops with the Bills and Rams.
Hooper, a two-time Pro Bowl selection, was signed as a free agent during the offseason after a pair of seasons in Cleveland. He has produced 298 career catches for 3,024 yards and 23 touchdowns in six total campaigns with the Browns and Atlanta Falcons.
During the 2022 NFL Draft, the Titans landed nine prospects, beginning with Arkansas wide receiver Treylon Burks with the 18th overall selection in the first round. In the second round, the Titans chose Auburn cornerback Roger McCreary, followed by a pair of players in Round 3: Ohio State offensive lineman Nicholas Petit-Frere and Liberty quarterback Malik Willis.
In total, 40 of the 90 players on the Titans pre-camp roster (as of July 21) were added since the conclusion of the 2021 campaign either through the draft (nine), free agency (29), trade (one) and waivers (one). Eighteen were signed as undrafted free agents.
THE RETURNING NUCLEUS
While many of the faces at training camp will be new, the team returns the vast majority of its core players from last year's playoff roster, particularly on defense. Ten of the 11 defensive starters who took the field in the playoff game against Cincinnati are back, with the lone exception coming at one of the cornerback spots (Jackrabbit Jenkins).
Statistically, the 2021 Titans ranked second in rushing defense (84.6 yards allowed per game), 12th in total defense (329.8), sixth on third down (36.7 percent), sixth in scoring defense (20.8 points per game) and ninth in sacks (43).
The defense surged in the back half of 2021. During the final eight weeks of the regular season (Weeks 11-18), the unit was third in overall defense (277.4 yards allowed per game) and first in rushing defense (64.6). Then, in the playoffs against the Bengals, the Titans generated nine sacks to tie the NFL's all-time single-game postseason record.
Three members of the defense were named to the Pro Bowl in 2021: safety Kevin Byard, defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons and outside linebacker Harold Landry III. Byard added first-team Associated Press All-Pro honors, while Simmons was named second-team All-Pro. Landry led the Titans in sacks for the third consecutive season, finishing with 12 to set a career high.
The starting offense could see more turnover than the defense in 2022, but it retains many of its key pieces, including running back Derrick Henry. After leading the NFL in rushing in consecutive seasons and taking the 2020 Associated Press NFL Offensive Player of the Year Award, Henry was leading the NFL again in 2021 with 937 rushing yards through eight weeks. But then he was placed on injured reserve, where he remained until being restored to the roster for the playoffs. Returning healthy in 2022, Henry ranks fourth in team annals in career rushing yards (6,797) behind only Eddie George (10,009), Earl Campbell (8,574) and Chris Johnson (7,965). His 65 career rushing touchdowns trail only Campbell's 73. Since 2017, no NFL player has more rushing yards than Henry (6,307).
Ryan Tannehill heads into his fourth season as the team's starting quarterback in 2022. Since taking over the job during the 2019 campaign, he has built a 30-13 record, compiling the most wins by a starting quarterback in franchise history during the player's first three seasons with the organization. He is the first starting quarterback since Warren Moon (1987 to 1993) to lead the team to the playoffs in three consecutive seasons. During the 2021 regular season, he passed for 3,734 yards and 21 touchdowns, and he scored seven rushing touchdowns for the second straight year. Tannehill joined Moon as the only Titans/Oilers quarterbacks to record multiple seasons with at least 3,500 passing yards.
ROBINSON, VRABEL AMONG NFL'S MOST SUCCESSFUL PAIRS
Robinson and Vrabel, who each received contract extensions from Strunk during the offseason, have compiled a 41-24 record in four regular seasons together. Their .631 winning percentage from 2018 through 2021 was third in the NFL among GM-head coach duos who were together for that period. Only the Chiefs' Brett Veach and Andy Reid (.769) and the Rams' Les Snead and Sean McVay (.677) fared better.
The Titans have finished with a winning record each season since Robinson was first hired by Strunk in 2016, reversing the fortunes of a team that totaled five wins in the two seasons before his arrival. In four of those six seasons for the Titans—2017, 2019, 2020 and 2021—they earned playoff berths. Robinson is the first general manager in franchise history with six seasons above the .500 mark, surpassing Bum Phillips (1975, 1977–1980) and Mike Holovak (1989-93), and he already ranks in the top three in team annals for playoff appearances along with Holovak (five) and Floyd Reese (four). The Chiefs are the only other franchise entering 2022 with an active streak of six consecutive winning seasons.
Vrabel joined Jack Pardee and Jerry Glanville as the only head coaches in team annals to preside over at least three playoff squads in their initial four seasons as head coach, and he tied Pardee (43-26) for the most total wins by a head coach in his first four seasons with the organization, including playoffs. The Titans' AFC South titles in 2020 and 2021 gave the franchise its first back-to-back division championships since the Oilers won the first three AFL Eastern division titles from 1960 to 1962. Since the beginning of the 2020 season, there has been only one week—after their loss to the Arizona Cardinals on Sept. 12, 2021 in the season opener—that the Titans did not hold a share of the AFC South lead or hold the outright lead.
Vrabel was named the 2021 Associated Press NFL Coach of the Year after directing the Titans to a 12-5 record and the top seed in the AFC playoff field. They did so despite needing to use 91 total players during the season—the most by a single club in NFL history in a non-strike year¬¬—exhibiting a resilience that has become a hallmark of the team under Robinson and Vrabel. After the final preseason roster cuts through the end of the season, the team placed 26 different players on injured reserve and 21 different players on the reserve/COVID-19 list, plus additional practice squad players that received those designations.
Vrabel is now tied for ninth place among all 32 active NFL head coaches in tenure with their current teams. Additionally, the upcoming season will be the first under his watch and the club's first since 2017 it has not had a change in at least one of the defensive or offensive coordinator roles. Shane Bowen and Todd Downing will again assume those duties, respectively. The vast majority of the staff has been retained, supplemented by former Houston Texans coaches Tim Kelly as passing game coordinator and Bobby King as inside linebackers coach.