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Titans ST Coach Craig Aukerman offers details on position battles at kickoff and punt returner

Syndication: The Tennessean George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK

The Tennessee Titans began their mandatory minicamp on Monday. The three-day period (June 14-16) represents the first opportunity for the entire team to be on the field together prior to the start of the 2022 regular season. It represents an appropriate appetizer to training camp and the preseason. We expect to learn several intriguing details throughout the course of the three days, and special teams coach Craig Aukerman offered up some juicy details regarding ongoing special teams battles.

“We’ll have a good mix at punt returner,” Aukerman said. Obviously Kyle Philips will get an opportunity. We’ll work with some other guys back there. Amani Hooker will show his face a little bit. Those three will battle it out for now. At kickoff return, Trenton Cannon, Reggie Roberson, Kyle Philips is back there right now. Racey McMath will also get a look.”

Aukerman specifically praised the addition of Cannon, who the Titans signed to a one-year contract in March. It’s worth noting Cannon averaged an impressive 29.8 yards per kickoff return as a member of the Carolina Panthers in 2020. Cannon’s previous success and experience, paired with the praises he received from Aukerman this morning, could mean he’s the clubhouse favorite to return kicks in 2022.

At punt returner, Aukerman offered a similar amount of praise for rookie receiver Kyle Philips. The Titans drafted Philips with the No. 163 overall selection in the fifth round of the 2022 NFL Draft. Returning punts would be nothing new for Philips. Across four seasons at UCLA, Philips returned a total of 26 punts while accounting for 501 yards and two touchdowns.

These competitive battles will continue to take place throughout training camp and the preseason, but Cannon and Philips feel like the early favorites. Stay tuned to MCM.