Three Quick Hits from Thursday's Practice

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Titans just wrapped up practice on Thursday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

On Sunday, the team will face the Detroit Lions.

Three quick hits after today's practice:

**

Dodd's progress**

Titans rookie linebacker Kevin Dodd isn't where he wants to be quite yet, but he's getting closer.

After missing the entire offseason and all of training camp while recovering from foot surgery, he's still working to get himself into better shape. Every snap helps his cause.

Dodd, a second-round draft pick by the Titans, could get a lot more work soon. With linebacker Derrick Morgan dealing with a hamstring injury, Dodd and others could get more opportunities.

"I've been making strides,'' Dodd said. "We've been doing a good job of doing extra after practice to get me ready. I'm still not where I want to be yet. I know there are some things I need to clean up, but I'll continue to work on that."

Titans coach Mike Mularkey is looking forward to seeing what he can do.

"I am anxious to see what Dodd does," Mularkey said. "He has practiced really well, really well. Just let him go and see what he can do for us. It's going to be great experience for him down the road. But he has to play – that's why we drafted him."

Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is also high on Dodd.

"He's showed us pretty much what we saw on the college tape, which is the reason we took him so high," LeBeau said. "He's got really good length. He's a big guy. He's very close to a 4-3 defensive end, but he has movement skills for an outside linebacker.

"I think this is a good fit for him, and he's a good fit for us. I think he's going to be an effective pass rusher. He's not shown me anything to deter from what I thought watching him play in college."

Dodd played 13 of 63 snaps in the season opener against the Vikings. Along with Dodd, outside linebackers David Bass and Aaron Wallace could also get a lot more reps if Morgan isn't able to play. Brian Orakpo starts on the opposite side at outside linebacker

"I am going to have to continue to have my confidence, and I want to earn the trust of my teammates,'' Dodd said. "I know this could increase my snaps, and have me in there. I'll just have to wait and see. But I am ready to take on the role, and ready to embrace the moment.

"That's what I came here for, and that's why I was drafted -- to play and contribute. So I am ready."

**

Blackson stands out**

I was impressed with the play of defensive lineman Angelo Blackson on Sunday.

Blackson had a tackle for a loss, and he was disruptive in his 15 snaps against the Vikings.

Analyst Greg Cosell also recognized Blackson's work while appearing on 104.5 FM's Midday 180.

A fourth-round pick by the Titans in last year's draft, Blackson said he's more comfortable in year two, especially in the mental game.

"Knowing the formation and trying to get a grip of where the ball is going to be at before the play is key,'' Blackson said. "(Defensive line coach) Nick Eason does a good job of giving us tips and tendencies and all we have to do after that is go out there and see it and be a playmaker."

Blackson said he's in better shape and toned down this year compared to last.

His mission is the same.

"The biggest thing is to be disruptive and make plays,'' Blackson said. "When the guys are out, the starters are out, don't let there be a drop off. That's the thing you want to do. I just want to contribute the best I can, but I know I still need to improve."

Injuries

Mularkey officially ruled out receiver Kendall Wright (hamstring) for Sunday's game against the Lions. Morgan didn't practice again on Thursday, and it's looking less likely he'll be able to play, Mularkey said.

"I would have to think (Derrick) would have to come out here full bore tomorrow, or at least close to it,'' Mularkey said. "It is one game into the season, and we need Derrick for the whole year.

"Kendall, I think he is out. (I need to see) three good, hard, full speed practices. We had a talk this morning and he feels like that will happen next week."

Titans players take the field for Thursday's practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn, Amber Harding)

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