NASHVILLE, Tenn. – A rainy Nashville day had the Titans practicing indoors Thursday in continued preparations for their return to LP Field Sunday against the New York Giants.
Here are the top four topics to come out of Saint Thomas Sports Park on Thursday.
4. Update From the Training Table
Kendall Wright didn't practice Thursday with a hand injury suffered in Wednesday's practice.
"It was a little thing on a route," said head coach Ken Whisenhunt. "He finished practiced [Wednesday] and today he came in and it was sore. We just gave him the day off because I didn't want him to aggravate it."
Whisenhunt said it's going to depend on Wright's progress and X-ray results in terms of when the receiver will return to the field.
The Titans offensive line got a lift Thursday with Chance Warmack (ankle) returning to practice. Michael Oher (toe) was also a limited participant. Taylor Lewan (ankle) has made progress, but has yet to return to practice.
Kamerion Wimbley (hamstring) also didn't practice. Blidi Wreh-Wilson (back) and Zach Mettenberger (shoulder) were limited.
- All Eyes on Odell**
The Titans defense began Thursday watching highlights of Odell Beckham Jr.
"We watched every one of his big plays today," said defensive coordinator Ray Horton. "It was really quiet in the room, meaning respect. What you see from him, this kid is going stronger and stronger and it's probably his mentality that he wants to win the rookie of the year."
While not divulging his game plan, Horton made it clear that containing Beckham is a priority on Sunday.
"He has our attention. Let me just say that," he smiled. "After the players watched probably 23 of his plays, I think he has their attention as well."
Even Mettenberger said yesterday that his excitement to see his college teammate was tempered by his playmaking ability.
"Yes and no," said Mettenberger when asked if he was excited to see Beckham. "He's a good friend, but I know the kind of player he is so hopefully we can keep him quiet."
- An Opportunity in the Running Game**
The Giants defense ranks 31st against the run this season, allowing 140.6 yards per game. Conversely, the Titans haven't topped 100 yards rushing since Week 5 against the Browns. Offensive coordinator Jason Michael said this game is as good an opportunity as any to get the running game going.
"We need to," he said. "We talk each week about getting that going and being able to get into the volume of runs. We want to be able to mix different type of runs with play action. There's going to be opportunities there and we've got to take advantage of them."
The Titans have found themselves in 17-0 holes in each of the last two weeks. Those deficits have been a major factor in the team's lack of a consistent running attack.
"You never want to get out to a hole like we were last week," Michael continued. "You want to keep it in the mode where we can run the football and mix in the play action pass. You never want to go into a drop back mode like we were last week. You put your offense in a vulnerable situation because they know what you're doing."
1. Home Cooking
Everyone in the Titans locker room is looking forward to spending a majority of the final month of the season at LP Field. The team has three of its remaining four contests at home starting this Sunday against the Giants, followed by a Week 15 matchup with the Jets, and finally a game against the Colts to end the season.
Whisenhunt said the comfort of being at home should help the Titans avoid the early deficits they've found themselves in the last two weeks.
"It's so much easier not having to travel," he said. "Maybe it will give us an opportunity to start out faster and play better early in some of these games. That would certainly be good for us."
With playoffs out of the picture in 2014, the final four games are all about setting the tone for next season and giving the fans a reason to be excited.
"There's no question," Whisenhunt said. "Everyone is upset with the way we've played. We feel awful about the fact that we haven't done right by our fans. We're working to get better and do a better job."