Focused Titans Kickoff Start of Training Camp




NASHVILLE, Tenn. --** The Tennessee Titans' first practice of the 2009 Training Camp was relatively quiet. There was great focus by the players during drills, and everyone seemed to be fully intent on making this opening day a serious one.

"We got a lot done this morning in the meetings and I thought it was a good start," head coach Jeff Fisher said. "We are re-introducing and re-installing the offense and defense. We got plenty done and it was a good first day."

Whether it was the fact that the franchise's owner K.S. "Bud" Adams, Jr. was looking on from the owner's balcony above, or a stinging resentment from last season's early playoff exit, the Titans seemed to play with extra intensity. The stalwart of the Titans defense since 2000, Keith Bulluck, put it perfectly.

"We have to handle our business. Business wouldn't be unfinished if we had handled our business last year," Bulluck said. "Nothing is promised. It's not guaranteed that we will get a playoff spot. You have to go out there and earn it. That all starts today, so we went out there and practiced hard."

Added quarterback Kerry Collins: "We're not fazed by a whole lot. We came out today and got to work. We know we have a lot of work to do and I think for the most part everybody is here and we're ready to go."

As is typical of most teams early in training camp, the defense held the advantage during Friday afternoon's practice. The unit will look to pick up where it left off last year under former defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz, who left to become the head coach of the Detroit Lions. Chuck Cecil takes his place, looking to sustain a group that finished second in scoring defense last season.

Fisher attributed the slight defensive advantage to the fact that the offense's intricacies have not yet been put into place.

"When you install initially in the first couple days, you are installing base concepts," Fisher said. "The defense should make the sure plays, but as we begin to put more and more things in we'll start to attack the defense."

INJURY UPDATE: Rob Bironas was sidelined with a slight pull, but is expected to return to practice over the next couple of days, Fisher said. Others missing practice were center Kevin Mawae, who was placed on the active PUP list while he's finishing rehab on his triceps, and the Titans' 2009 first round pick, wide receiver Kenny Britt, whose contract is still being negotiated. Fisher was optimistic that Britt's contract would be completed soon.

KEARSE RETURNS: Despite some concerns over defensive end Jevon Kearse's knee, the 11-year veteran practiced the entire afternoon, and after practice was giving words of wisdom to rookie defensive tackle Sen'Derrick Marks. Kearse was prepping Marks about the intensity of defensive line coach Jim Washburn.

"You have to just go out there every day knowing that he is going to get every single drop out of you to make you a better player," Kearse said. "The better you are, the better this team is going to be."

LIGHT SCHEDULE: The light practice schedule this training camp is one of the most popular stories, especially among the players. The Titans only have 11 practices before the Hall of Fame Game on Aug. 9th with few two-a-day practices on tap.

"We have to show the coaches that we appreciate the system that they have going this year," Kearse said. "Show them that even though we're going once a day, we're treating it like a two a day and really trying to get better."

That sentiment was echoed by safety Chris Hope, who had had one of the defensive highlights with a nifty interception off Collins. "Coach Fisher did a great job of putting a lot of expectations and high energy into our OTA's," Hope said. "His biggest quote of the offseason was that when we come to training camp, we have to look like we have already been practicing."

YOUNG AT EASE: Quarterback Vince Young seemed poised today, completing tough passes to wide receiver Justin Gage, tight end Alge Crumpler and rookie tight end Jared Cook, who Young hit in stride for a 20 yard gain on a corner route.

Young was asked by reporters about the tragic death of Steve McNair. Young was somber in his response, but showed maturity in his answers, saying that McNair will always be in his heart and mind, in addition to those in the rest of the Titans organization. 

NEW JERSEY NUMBER: Rookie running back Javon Ringer was not only sporting a new jersey number (21), but also displayed shiftiness, quickness and the ability to sneak through the holes. Chris Johnson showed no signs of an ankle injury that sidelined him for much of Tennessee's divisional playoff game vs. Baltimore. Lendale White, meanwhile, appeared to have dropped even more weight and showed nice speed to the outside. 

TITANS DEBUT: Cornerback DeMarcus Faggins, signed as an unrestricted free agent from the Houston Texans, said he was eager to fit in within Tennessee's secondary. "Right now it's good," Faggins said. "We have a good group of guys. I'm just trying to get into the groove of things. I think things went pretty smooth for the first day."

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