Titans needing new CB again
Posted: Friday, June 25, 2010 9:07 pm
NASHVILLE (AP) — The Tennessee Titans are looking for a new starting cornerback, and they can only hope to be as fortunate as the last time they threw open competition for that job.
Cortland Finnegan won the job in his second year back in 2007 during Adam “Pacman” Jones’ season-long suspension and became an All Pro.
The competitors include Jason McCourty, Ryan Mouton, Tye Hill and rookie Alterraun Verner.
A young player could earn this job too.
McCourty and Mouton are both entering their second season.
Hill is a former No. 1 pick signed as a free agent sidelined by a hamstring injury, while veteran Rod Hood was lost with a torn ACL.
So some young cornerbacks have a big opportunity when training camp opens July 31.
“Cortland stepped up as a young player and has been a very productive corner for us, so we would expect someone else to do so,” coach Jeff Fisher said.
McCourty and Mouton were forced into action last year as rookies, and the results were not good for the Titans.
McCourty started three games and Mouton two with both on the field together during the 59-0 drubbing the Titans took at New England last October.
“I learned a lot. I learned the defense, and learned what to expect,” Mouton said of his rookie year. ‘Every year, you try to learn something new. I talk to (Chris) Hope and those guys, and they still learn something new every day. I’m just taking it a day at a time.”
For now, McCourty has gotten most of the starting reps in the team’s organized team activities, which conclude Friday.
But no final decision will be made until likely deep into the preseason.
“None of us are going to get the spot given to us,” McCourty said. “We’re all coming in with a clean slate, trying to go for us. I think we’re all going to get a shot at it, and competition brings out the best in athletes, so it could be a fun time trying to get that.”
Verner, a fourth-round pick from UCLA in April, is now trying to put himself into the competition as well.
He has been taking lots of second-team reps since returning this month after missing the May minicamps with school obligations.
“I’m going to try to work as hard as I can, so I can get in the mix at least. I want to make a strong push and increase the competition level,” Verner said. “One thing I learned in college, the more competition there is, the better the player that wins it is going to get, because they’re getting pushed for it”
Another thing Verner learned quickly is that with enough preparation, he can play at the NFL’s level of competition.
“I definitely realized I can compete. You’ve got really fast guys, so I just have to know my responsibilities, so I can know how to compete and play. If I don’t know what I’m doing, combined with the speed of the game, then that would put me at a total disadvantage. As long as I know what I’m doing. I feel I can compete,” he said.
And a chance to compete is really all any of those battling for the starting job can ask.
“There’s no complacency,” McCourty said of the battle for the starting cornerback position within the Titans’ landscape. “You know you’ve got to go out there every day and fight, because I know Mouton, Tye and all those guys are worthy of the starting position, so I can’t go out there and slack any, because I know they’re going to be out there working too.”
In other news, the Titans and Arizona Cardinals could be practicing together in Nashville following their preseason game on Aug. 23.
The Tennessean reported that Titans Coach Jeff Fisher said that the two teams are looking at scrimmaging at Baptist Sports Park on Aug. 25 and again on Aug. 26.
The sessions would be open to the public if it takes place.
The Titans began camp July 31 and run through Aug. 26.
Fisher said any time players get a chance to work against another club it is a good change up for the teams.
This would be a little unusual to practice after a game, he said, instead of in the time period leading up to a game.
No definite decision has been made regarding the rumored joint practice session.
An announcement regarding the situation is expected soon.
Notes: Rookie receiver Damian Williams has a slight hamstring injury and second-year receiver Dominique Edison hurt his wrist.