Jared Cook might not be able to block like Daniel Graham or Craig Stevens, but they can't do this. Honestly, I still feel like Cook's blocking issues are being overrated. When he goes in I try to make a point to watch it, and he seems to use solid technique. Cook is at risk of becoming Ben Troupe 2.0, but that would be an indictment of the offensive coaching than Cook's talent. Troupe was more than a horrible blocker: he regularly got lost in his routes and ended up battling his own WRs for catches, or straight running them over. Cook doesn't have those issues, and his upside comes through a lot more. What's more, having a QB with the accuracy of Hasselbeck should be huge for Cook, because Hasselbeck can put the ball in small spots where Cook can use his size and athleticism to go up and beat helpless defenders. Neither Collins nor VY had that kind of accuracy and touch.
Stafon Johnson was one of the surprises of camp last year, and now that he's fully healed, he's aiming to make the same kind of impression again. The running back position is pretty full between CJ, Ringer and Harper, but I think Stafon could sneak on to the roster as the 4th RB and a special teamer. He's the kind of dedicated, hunger kid you want around, and I don't think Pete Carroll would let him sit on our practice squad for very long if he doesn't make the 53 man roster. Here's to hoping Johnson gets some carries on Saturday, and shows the staff the kind of explosion and vision he flashed last year.
I love the glimpses of ingenuity Jerry Gray is showing so far, like lining up Finnegan in the slot with ATV and McCourty on the outside. Usually when you saw Finny in the nickel spot there was a 99.5% chance he was blitzing, but getting our CBs used to moving around will help the staff control the match-ups to make sure they stay in our favor. Cortland won't be moving into the slot often, but it's another look to add to the arsenal.
David Boclair wonders if the 1,000 yard WR still matters for the Titans, but to get the answer he asks the one guy in the WR group guaranteed to never get there: Justin Gage.
He might just be a camp body there to even out numbers and push the young guys, but newly signed safety Anthony Smith is ready to make his mark on the Titans' secondary. I don't know that they'd bring him in without the recent hamstring issues holding back Robert Johnson and Nick Schommer, but he'll get the reps needed to prove his worthiness to Jerry Gray and Mike Munchak.
Paul K delivers a monster Camp Confidential with great points on things to watch from Munchak, the defensive line and just about every other major aspect of this team in transition.
Every year we have a later-round rookie who makes a splash, and the early money is on Karl Klug. The 5th round pick has been working with the first team and catching the eye of Tracy Rocker and Mike Munchak. The defensive staff is still trying to get a clear idea how all of the D-linemen fit into the rotation, so I don't see this as a big knock on Jurrell Casey or Zach Clayton, but it's good for us that at least one of the trio of rookies make a serious impact early in the season.
Thomas Casale calls Chris Palmer the second coming of the worst coach in the NFL during his lifetime (aka Paul Hackett). He doesn't really give much reason for this hatred, other than the assumption that Palmer is a very boring play caller. If that's the case, then maybe Casale hates Palmer's playcalling because it reminds him of his own drab writing style.
Jeff Fisher was back at camp yesterday... but this time it was as in Detroit. Fisher was on hand to watch his son, Brandon, working as a defensive assistant with the Lions. Speaking of the Fisher boys, his son Trent looks freakily like Riggins from Friday Night Lights (the TV show).
Email me at email@example.com and be sure to follow me @AugustWest_MCM