WR Hakeem Nicks Wants to Bounce Back with Titans

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. --Hakeem Nicks can talk the talk, because he's walked the walk.

The Titans receiver has a Super Bowl ring, and over 5,000 receiving yards in his six-year NFL career.

So when he popped up after making a sideline catch on Saturday and told a defender he was going to need some help covering him, he didn't catch any flak. It came during his best practice as a Titan.

The reality is Nicks can't relax. He's in a fight to make the roster, and can't afford to slack off.

On a team with plenty of options at the receiver position, Nicks needs to be a consistent performer in camp to stick.

"That is how the business goes today,'' Nicks said. "Every day you are competing for a starting job, you are competing for a job. We are all competing – that's everybody. But I plan to work for it."

Nicks had a good day on Saturday. He made a number of nice catches early in practice, using his strong hands to haul in some tough catches even when the coverage was solid.

He's off to a good start in camp, no doubt.

The start was a welcome sight. Nicks, who caught a career-low 38 passes for 405 yards in Indianapolis last season, was underwhelming during the offseason. After the team signed him to a one-year, $1.4 million deal in the offseason, he didn't look especially sharp, and was too heavy.

Nicks said he's down to 206 pounds now – he was 215 in OTAs – and is feeling faster.

Coach Ken Whisenhunt on Saturday said he's liked what he's seen from Nicks so far in camp.

"Hakeem was OK in the spring. … I think that he knew there had to be a little bit of a sense of urgency coming in here, and he's done that so far,'' Whisenhunt said. "We need all the guys we can get there, he's a big guy that has been productive in the league, so hopefully this will be a bounce back year for him.

"He is a big guy who can make some of those catches, the contested catches, the going up for balls, that's what he is going to show he can do."

The Titans want Nicks to keep it going when the pads come on.

Nicks already has good chemistry with quarterback Marcus Mariota. The two worked out together at D1 Sports in Franklin after spending time together during offseason workouts.

Titans players take the field for training camp on Saturday, Aug. 1, 2015 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Donn Jones Photography.com)

Nicks has plenty of confidence in himself. A first-round pick by the Giants in 2009, Nicks has two 1,000-yard seasons (in 2010 and 2011) and he's caught 349 career passes.

He believes he can be a big asset on a team with some proven talent in Kendall Wright and Harry Douglas, and some players still needing to prove themselves in Justin Hunter and Dorial Green-Beckham.

"I provide a leadership role, and I provide big-play ability. Actually, I feel like I am in my prime,'' Nicks said. "I am 27 years old with a lot of experience, so whatever I can bring to the table, that is that I am going to bring.

"I feel like I am going up, but it is only day two right now. I have to make sure I am doing the same thing next week and the week after that and into the season. "

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