The darkest part of the year has started. NFL offseason moves are at a standstill, the post-draft news is dying down, and OTAs have recently concluded. This is a look back on five interesting things from the last conclusive action of the OTA/minicamp period.
1. Chance Warmack is rapidly improving.
Warmack admittedly struggled to get used to the speed of the game in his first few practices of the season, but reports say that he is getting better and that he excelled in minicamp. This is great news for Titans fans because if Dowell Loggains is hoping to have a dominant running game this year Chance Warmack will be an important piece.
2. Justin Hunter wants to be back on the field and isn't "hamming" it up.
For anyone who doubted Hunter's desire to be on the field, look not further than the rookie's attempt to try to sneak on the field during the mock game portion of minicamp. Hunter's long frame and burst are hard to hide so after taking one snap (where he said he "did everything right") Dowell Loggains forced him off the field.
Hunter did manage to run in seven-on-seven drills and did everything but the mock game, so the rookie seems like he will be fully healed by training camp.
3. The biggest question on the defense is, what is the future of Alterraun Verner.
Verner's greatest success has come from playing SCB. Ideally he could return there if Tommie Campbell takes the other outside corner position (which is a real threat) but Coty Sensabaugh might not let him take that spot back. The second year player is having an outstanding offseason and hardly a day goes by when he hasn't made some impressive break up, an interception or contested a well-thrown pass.
The Titans have mentioned that they are thin at FS and might be in the market for one, but if ATV can make the most of his snaps there he may just be able to steal a backup/dime package job. If he isn't involved in some sort of package in week one I would consider that a big mistake considering his level of talent.
4. Titans defense has a new, aggressive attitude and it is no secret.
A lot has been made of Bernard Pollard's now infamous locker room sign, but obviously he isn't intending on trying to hurt people. I believe that sign is a hallmark of the new mentality of the defense. The Titans have been more aggressive in OTAs and this defense is sounding more and more like an emotional Gregg Williams defense. If the Titans can play with an attitude that walks that fine line between aggressive and illegal (like the Seahawks and 49ers do) then this defense will give the fans something to cheer about after a disastrous 2012.
5. Kendall Wright and Nate Washington both had really impressive, under-the-radar OTAs.
The former Baylor Bear started off camp by cutting out candy and losing around 15 lb. that is no small number for someone of his size.
While his 187 lb. frame makes me concerned about durability, you can't deny the reports that he looks much quicker. Multiple times during the OTAs Wright made cuts with the ball in his hands that left him untouched in route to the endzone which is what the Titans saw in 2011 that made him their top target on draft day.
Washington came into camp with questions of if he would even make the roster, and while he says those words don't motivate him his play says otherwise. Stunning reports of commitment, leadership and great concentration have surfaced this offseason and if he can carry this over into a few nice catch-and-runs in preseason I think the Titans may even consider re-signing/extending him as their future fourth WR after the season is over.