NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Titans coach Mike Mularkey held a press conference to kick off training camp on Friday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
A look at the hot topics:
Kevin Dodd starts on PUP
Titans rookie linebacker Kevin Dodd will begin training camp on the Physically Unable to Perform list.
Dodd, a second-round pick by the team, suffered a foot injury and had surgery earlier this offseason.
"We thought it was in the best interest to put Kevin on PUP,'' Mularkey said. "We felt like we've been very smart with the way we have handled his injury. So why push it? We think it's a short-term PUP. Every couple of days we are going to test him to see where he's at.
"This will give him a chance to concentrate on his conditioning."
Mularkey said all the players passed the conditioning test, "and nobody really struggled to finish, which was really impressive on their parts. I was very pleased and very proud with how they did that."
Andre Johnson impact**
Mularkey said Johnson's work ethic and ability will add to the team.
The Titans agreed to terms with the veteran receiver on Friday morning.
"We watched tape on Andre and he was productive last year,'' Mularkey said. "He didn't put the numbers up that he did earlier in his career, but he is a guy who really, really takes care of himself, his body, his conditioning. He looks like he is in very good shape right now.
"And he is going to be very good for the wide receiver room, how he handles himself in those meetings … and on the practice field."
Mularkey said the Titans plan to give Johnson an opportunity to start.
"It is not promised,'' Mularkey said, "but the opportunity is there."
Johnson is scheduled to fly to Nashville and join the team on Friday night.
"I don't see anything negative about Andre coming in here for anybody,'' Mularkey said. "He is going to push everybody harder in that room."
Receiver Dorial Green-Beckham showed up for training camp at 228 pounds, which pleased Mularkey.
"It's the lightest he's been,'' Mularkey said of Green-Beckham, who was listed at 237 pounds on the offseason roster. "He looks very good, and he ran very well in the conditioning test. We are going to do whatever we can, which is our jobs, to make him successful. I think what he has done with his body, he has taken a step in the right direction himself."
Mularkey said the success of rookie Tajae Sharpe this offseason – a fifth-round pick by the team – should motivate Green-Beckham, and others. Sharpe worked with the starters during June's minicamp.
"I hope it motivates everybody at that position,'' he said. "When you are at this level and are not frustrated by something like that and don't do something about it, you are in the wrong business. You are probably not going to have success outside of it either."
Mariota Year 2**
Quarterback Marcus Mariota addressed reporters earlier in the day on Friday.
Mularkey later discussed his second-year QB, and his expectations.
"I just think (his) confidence is much greater,'' Mularkey said. "You now look at rookies and know how they feel when they come in here. They are all intimidated… You don't have that in your second year. You have been in the grind, and been in the trenches, and you have a little bit more confidence about yourself when you step in the huddle, especially when you have success like Marcus did."
The plan is for Mariota to get the bulk of the reps, but Matt Cassel and Alex Tanney will also get reps in practices.
Mariota said he added some weight this offseason, and Mularkey said the bulk should help him with injuries.
DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry are the top two running backs for the Titans, and Mularkey regularly refers to Dexter McCluster as a situational back who is different from the other backs contending for roster spots.
On Friday, Mularkey singled out Antonio Andrews, who is competing with backs like Bishop Sankey, David Cobb and David Fluellen.
"The plan right now is for Antonio to be the third guy, starting tomorrow,'' Mularkey said. "David Cobb, Bishop, just keep rotating them. They are all going to get the same amount of reps with the same groups."
What will it take for someone to emerge from the pack?
"Wow us. Do something different,'' Mularkey said. "They are all going to get the same amount of opportunities. … You want to see somebody do something better than the other guy, whatever that is. And maybe special teams is what it comes down to. … We need somebody to step up."
-The Titans will practice in pads for the first time on Monday morning. -Mularkey said the Titans won't have a clear idea of starters at positions like left guard and outside corner until after some preseason games.
-The indoor practice facility is scheduled to be completed on August 10. The Titans have a Plan B for practices in the event of inclement weather. Mularkey mentioned Tennessee State's facility as possibility.
Titans QB Marcus Mariota, S Rashad Johnson, C Ben Jones and DE Brian Orakpo speak with reporters on the eve of training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)