With the Titans players now having a couple of padded practice days under their belts, as well as a taste of "live" contact exercises, it's time to re-evaluate the roster once more. The team as a whole has been having a solid first camp under the new staff, with a general feeling that the work being done is more focused, and more refined.
Kendall Wright's own coaching instruction is proof enough of that. No more leeway, it's time for structure, and refinement of technique.
That all said, who has stood out over the course of camp as a whole, in a good way or a bad one?
Derrick Morgan, OLB
While my eye has been on the less obvious roster candidates, I can't ignore Derrick Morgan's transition to outside linebacker. The athletic former defensive end entered camp with a lot of questions around him; is he athletic enough to cover? Will he be effective rushing the passer from a "stood up" position? Can he learn all the ins-and-outs of Horton's OLB spot?
So far, the answer seems to be yes. And not simply from teammates and ever-optimistic team officials, but from critical onlookers and beat-writers. Morgan's transition has been a surprisingly smooth one so far. Apparently what Horton and Whisenhunt saw on film that impressed them from last year is already paying dividends on the field. Morgan has been impressing, even more so in pads than out, and looks at home at the outside linebacker spot.
His transition to a spot of such responsibility will, after all, have a huge impact on the Titans defense as a whole in 2014.
Marc Mariani, WR
After impressing in camp last season at the wide receiver position, Marc Mariani is picking up where he left off. Following two freak injuries, Mariani has been facing an uphill battle to remain on the roster, but he has been doing himself plenty of favors thus far. The Montana wideout has been smooth in and out of his routes, flashing reliable hands and savvy to make the tough over-the-shoulder catches on the boundary. He's gotten in work with both Jake Locker and Zach Mettenberger, who seem to have no problem getting him the ball. If he can continue to impress the coaches, he might be the one to snag the final WR spot, WR4 or WR5, with teammate Michael Preston likely taking the other.
Bernard Pollard, SS
For all his criticisms when he arrived in Nashville, Pollard has been defiant. Not only in his rhetoric, but in his play on the field. After bouncing around the league without finding a long-term home, Pollard recorded his best season as a pro, playing a strong hand against the run as expected, and not failing to make an impact as a pass defender either.
The major critique of Pollard's play was that he can be a liability in coverage. On the field in camp this year, he has multiple interceptions and pass break-ups to his credit; he's making a bigger impact in the air than in past seasons. Pollard, both as a player and as an emotional figurehead, is a marriage made in heaven with Ray Horton's new defensive scheme. To see him make strides in all areas, especially later on in his professional career, is nothing short of impressive.
Moise Fokou, ILB
After being granted the starting position out of camp last season, Moise Fokou has tumbled down the depth chart. Now behind new inside backers Wesley Woodyard and Zach Brown, Fokou has had a tough time in camp distinguishing himself from the crowd. He is quality depth at this point for Tennessee, and will have to work hard to shake that tag and become something more.
Tommie Campbell, CB
For the second straight time, Campbell is on my list for the wrong reasons. He's been burned by most all the wide outs in camp thus far, struggling to flip his hips and run down field as well as drive to ball on in-breaking patterns. With young talent like Khalid Wooten pressing the issue from the bottom of the corner back depth chart, Campbell needs to improve in a hurry. Judging from his performance, I don't see him making the roster.
Tyler Wilson, QB
The Oakland Raiders transplant has had a rough time in camp so far, struggling with accuracy and remaining on the same page as his receivers. Whether the Titans opt to keep the young arm around is questionable at this point, but I would say doubtful. Unless he can really impress in pre-season action and at STSP, AND another signal caller getting hurt, I don't see him making the final cut.
Side Notes: Veteran wide receiver, Derek Hagan, also continues to impress in camp, so he gets an honorable mention here. He was on my list as a riser last week, and continues to make the right impressions, remaining on the same page with all the QB's who are tossing him passes.