Titans rookie LB Rashaan Evans Making Strides While Proving Himself to Coaches

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Titans coach Mike Vrabel stood under the overhang at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Wednesday as reporters bounced questions off of him in a rapid-fire session.

When rookie linebacker Rashaan Evans was brought up, Vrabel stressed the importance of him practicing, and getting more comfortable. Since returning from a hamstring injury, the first-round pick just hasn't had a lot of work.

"Rashaan has to prove it in practice," Vrabel said of Evans. "I don't think he's had but four or five practices since he hurt his hamstring. That is not enough. We have a lot of catching up to do, and it is our job to get him ready to go. It is his job to get ready to go, too."

The very next day, on Thursday, Evans proved something to himself and coaches.

It was a positive step as he aims to work his way onto the field more on Sundays.

"(He) has been better this week," defensive coordinator Dean Pees said of Evans. "The more he plays… He made a play out there a little bit ago in practice, and I heard him say: 'How many times did I have to rep that before I got it?' And really, that's the truth. Finally, he got it. Hopefully the more we can get him involved the better he'll be."

Evans, selected 22nd overall in the 2018 NFL Draft out of Alabama, played just one snap on special teams in Sunday's home opener against the Texans after being one of the team's inactives in Week One.

It was a start, but Evans has bigger things – and more playing time – in mind, of course.

"It felt great, just being out there on the field, knowing I had been out of commission for so long," Evans said. "Just to be able to suit up, be around football again, it felt good."

Evans was sidelined during most of training camp with a hamstring injury.

When he returned, he worked a lot individually with Vrabel. Then he was worked into practices.

But his reps in practice were limited until more recently.

Evans is working on improving, so he'll be ready when coaches call on him for more. The Titans and Evans are currently preparing for Sunday's game against the Jaguars.

"Just making sure that when I come back, everything is in play -- that I am healthy and that they can fit me in the right places to be successful and help the team," Evans said. "Really re-learning what I already know. Being comfortable being out there playing ball again, that's the No.1 thing.

"Mentally, getting used to taking on blocks, tackling the right way. Just those little things. (Coaches) tell me to make sure I am aware, and to be ready at all times. Because I could possibly go in at any time."

Pees said Evans and second-round pick Harold Landry are both "coming along" and said they just have to keep seeing things on the field.

Vrabel said Evans is willing, and is in tune with what coaches are asking him to do.

Now, he wants to keep proving himself each day. Soon, he'll be even more involved.

"It is about practicing, and being able to understand where you fit on certain calls and seeing the look," Vrabel said. "It is completely different to see it on film for four or five weeks (while you're sidelined). … You have to get out there and physically be involved and see the bodies and see people moving and understand the plays and stuff."

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