Six Things Standing Out for Titans Heading into Tampa Bay Practices

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans have 14 training camp practices under their belts, and a preseason game at Green Bay.

This week, beginning on Wednesday, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers come to town for joint practices, and a preseason game on Saturday.

Here's a look at six things standing out …

Nick Williams is a contender

At the start of camp, I did the math at receiver and counted off Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews, Taywan Taylor and Tajae Sharpe as four locks for the 53-man roster. Michael Campanaro was next in line, based on his value in the return game, followed by Darius Jennings and some undrafted free agent contenders. But Nick Williams has emerged, and the more I see him, the more I like the thought of what he could bring. Williams had a big catch and run against Green Bay, and he made a nice play on special teams. He's been running with the 1s when the offense has lined up three-wide in recent practices, and has performed well. He's a guy to keep an eye on.

Marcus Mariota has a big week coming up

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and the first-team offense passed the first test against the Packers. The unit drove the ball downfield with a nine-play, 71-yard drive, with Mariota leading the way. It was a nice debut, but it hardly convinced anyone the unit is ready for Week 1 at Miami. Plenty of work still needs to be done. A pair of practices against the Buccaneers, and the preseason game, should provide a good indication of where the unit stands.

Jayon Brown is a playmaker

It seems like I wrote about second-year linebacker Jayon Brown all offseason, and he continues to earn his way into this space. Brown missed a tackle early against the Packers, but he later tallied an interception. And during the team's next practice, he intercepted a pass again. Brown is going to be on the field a lot in 2018, and I have a feeling he's going to make a lot of plays.

Wadley's going to be a tough guy to cut

Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis will provide the one-two punch for the Titans this fall, and I still think David Fluellen is too valuable to let go. He's a good runner, and he's solid on special teams. So what about running back Akrum Wadley? Well, I think his fate depends on whether the team elects to keep four running backs on the roster. I thought Wadley ran the ball well against the Packers, and he also made a big play in the return game. I didn't like the fumble, and he probably can't afford many more turnovers in the preseason.

The injury bug has hit hard on defense

We're a few weeks into camp, and the Titans already have three players on Injured Reserve – Johnathan Cyprien, Tye Smith and Nate Palmer. Plus, Brian Orakpo and Rashaan Evans have been sidelined since the beginning of training camp. And now Dane Cruikshank is dealing with a shoulder injury that's going to keep him out a bit. It's been a run of bad luck for the Titans, and one coaches and the front office hopes comes to a halt.

Harold Landry's start was impressive

The Titans were fortunate to land edge rusher Harold Landry in the second round of the NFL Draft. With Orakpo sidelined, Landry has benefited from a lot of reps with the first team, and being able to work against left tackle Taylor Lewan. I was impressed with Landry's first game, and his ability to get around the edge in a hurry. If Landry can keep improving, he's could make a big difference on defense right out of the gate.

The Titans take the field for Day 14 of training camp practice on Monday, Aug. 13, 2018 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

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