NASHVILLE, Tenn. —Never tell a bishop he doesn't have a prayer.
And that includes Titans running back Bishop Sankey.
"My mindset is to just compete,'' Sankey said after practice on Thursday. "Compete every day and every drill, and when you get your opportunities, make plays and be accountable.
"I feel really strong and I feel more explosive. I'm way more confident than before. So I am just trying to come out and prove myself each day and make plays every opportunity I get."
In his third NFL season, Sankey's in a tough spot. A second-round pick in 2014, Sankey is getting fewer reps than ever with running backs DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry on the team, and ready to deliver a one-two punch.
Sankey is part of a crowded group behind them that includes Antonio Andrews, David Cobb and David Fluellen, other backs trying to get noticed. Veteran back Dexter McCluster is also part of the position group, but coach Mike Mularkey has given hints his roster spot is secure because of his versatility.
The same can't be said for the other backs, who will try and earn a place on the roster in the preseason, starting with Saturday's preseason opener against the Chargers. Mularkey said the Titans plan to limit Murray's reps, which should provide further opportunities for the other backs.
"Bishop didn't get a lot of opportunities to carry the ball (in the scrimmage Monday night), so Bishop is going to get a good dose this game, and he should,'' Mularkey said.
"Obviously David Cobb has had more opportunities with Antonio being down with the injury and when he's had him he's looked good. They are (all) going to get ample opportunities."
Sankey started just three games in 2015, and managed just 193 yards on 47 carries. In 2014, he ran for 569 yards and two touchdowns on 152 carries.
Sankey said he's up eight pounds from a year ago, and now weighs roughly 216.
Mularkey has complimented his performance so far in camp. He said he's done his best to keep Sankey upbeat.
"Running the ball, I am pleased,'' Mularkey said of Sankey. "There's things protection-wise I'd like to see him better at, more consistent in the protections, but running the ball he has been good.
"You have to be positive with him. I am with all those guys. You can't count numbers, it is still early in camp with all the preseason games. I haven't seen any signs to think he's down."
For Sankey and others, things will begin to get really serious on Saturday.
"I am excited for the preseason, and I know we are all going to compete and play to the best of their ability,'' Sankey said. "Coaches have given me compliments out here when I do good things, and they've also corrected me when needed. I am just trying to control what I can control when I get an opportunity to make plays."