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VOL. 41 | NO. 30 | Friday, July 28, 2017

Titans training camp: Four key storylines to watch

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The Tennessee Titans enter 2017 with players, fans and prognosticators expecting this to be the year the team makes its return to the postseason after eight years without.

So as camp opens, what should Titans fans watch?

Marcus Mariota’s fibula

Mariota, Mike Mularkey and everyone connected with the Titans are saying the quarterback is ahead of schedule and should be full go for the start of training camp.

Still, until Mariota is actually under center and operating the offense fully, there will be cause for concern.

The big thing, of course, is whether or not the former Heisman winner will still have the same mobility with that right leg as he did before.

Mariota’s threat of the run is such a big part of his game, the Titans have to hope that he still has that element available to him just as it was before the injury.

Who stays, who goes at receiver

Early in camp, all eyes will be on veteran Eric Decker, who signed as a free agent after mini-camp, and on first-round pick Corey Davis.

Those two certainly bear watching to see how quickly they get on the same page with Mariota.

Their presence – along with rookie Taywan Taylor – means likely reduced reps for Tajae Sharpe, who is coming off injury, and Harry Douglas, who needs a strong preseason to hold on to his roster spot.

The revamped secondary

Two new starters at cornerback in Logan Ryan and Adoree’ Jackson, plus the addition of free agent safety Jonathan Cyprien, ensures that the secondary will be different from last year’s struggling crew.

The big concern here is not only getting those newcomers to jell with holdover safety Kevin Byard to make a cohesive secondary, but also to develop depth at both corner and safety.

The Titans have to hope that LeShaun Sims, Brice McCain, D’Joun Smith or Demontre Hurst can provide depth at cornerback, and that former starter Da’Norris Searcy settles into a backup role at safety.

Keep building in the trenches

The Titans offensive line was a pleasant surprise last year, going from weakness in previous years to a decided strength a year ago with Taylor Lewan and Jack Conklin as bookend tackles.

Tennessee returns all five starters from last year, a good sign. The biggest thing for this group is just to stay healthy and not become complacent.

– Terry McCormick

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