Titans have clear message for vets: No one is safe

Frederick Breedon

What do a Cal center, a Tennessee receiver, and a corner from UCONN have in common? They should be making veterans uncomfortable.

Blidi Wreh-Wilson (or BWW) was a highly touted prospect coming into the draft, and Mel Kiper made it a point to bring him up when he was asked about the top corner prospects. Brian Schwenke was Mike Mayock's top OC following the Senior Bowl and he applauded his nasty demeanor. Justin Hunter had a near-Calvin-Johnson-like combine despite being a year removed an ACL tear. The question for Tennessee is, how long should the Titans wait before putting them on the field?

Personally, I think the Titans should treat Justin Hunter, Brian Schwenke, and BWW the same way. All have starter-quality measurables, but are behind incumbent starters (Nate Washington, Fernando Velasco, and Alterraun Verner respectively). The Titans may let them sit and learn, and they will keep those veterans on a short leash.

If they do choose to play these situations out like that, here is why that is an excellent move. First, the Titans lose nothing by starting proven veterans. Washington, Velasco, and Verner have all proven (on more than one occasion) that they can be successful starters in the NFL, and at their worst they are talented backups. However, if the Titans think that any of these rookies can bring a spark to the team that an incumbent can't they can pull those starters as early as the preseason knowing that they didn't force any fits.

Also, if a veteran were to be pulled it would send the strong message that the Titans coaching staff and front office have been trying to send this entire offseason: no one is safe. Benching a player like Verner, Velasco, or Washington who have all been either vocal leaders or leaders by production multiple times during the 2013 season may force other veterans to stay on their toes and outperform their own expectations.

At the end of the day, Tennessee needs to win now and by forcing this pressure on the veterans they may be able to squeeze out every bit of talent out of this roster.

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