AFC South: Fenando Velasco

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Three thoughts following Titans’ training camp practice this afternoon:

  • Relative unknown Pannel Egboh has been working at least some with the first team at defensive end, at the expense of Derrick Morgan. Sure, it’s a partial reward for Egboh, who’s been “awesome” according to pass rush coach Keith Millard. But it can’t come without a dig at Morgan, a first round pick from 2010 who’s healthy and should be entrenched as a starting spot even if he’s more of a pass rush specialist at this point. Mike Munchak said it’s an example of the team continuing to mix up the lineup and roles and defensive coordinator Jerry Gray went the route of selling that the Titans have five starters at defensive end, apparently unfamiliar with space and lineup restrictions. If Egboh’s great, that’s great. But Morgan’s got to be good enough to get a bigger share of the work.
  • Odds are high that Matt Hasselbeck will get the start Saturday night in Seattle, at least in part for sentimental reasons. He played from 2001 through 2010 for the Seahawks and the league clearly scheduled the game in part because the Titans are loaded with connections to the Seahawks and Washington connections. That includes Hasselbeck’s competition, Jake Locker, who played collegiately at Washington. As for what a guy getting the start in the preseason opener will mean in the quarterback competition, Munchak said “nothing.”
  • Fernando Velasco is now the lead guy at center with Eugene Amano gone for the year. Velasco, Hasselbeck and Munchak all fielded questions about the most important adjustment the quarterback have to make to the new guy snapping the ball. The answers varied from the center-QB exchange, to making silent counts work to the line calls. Velasco said he wants to authoritatively make calls, even if they include an occasional mistake. “Go with the call, if it’s wrong, we’re wrong together,” he said. “Don’t be scared of pulling the trigger on certain calls.”

A look at some long shots

August, 25, 2009
8/25/09
3:19
PM ET
Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

A quick trip around the division to consider some long shots who've looked good. Rosters get cut from 80 to 75 on Sept. 1, then to 53 on Sept. 5.


Houston

Free safety John Busing is a big hitter and a solid special teamer. Does he have enough upside at a questionable position for the Texans to keep him over a veteran like Nick Ferguson or Brandon Harrison, a fifth-rounder from 2007?

I also heard good things about defensive end Tim Jamison, who's got some likeable rush skills.

Two receivers have created a little bit of a buzz. And it wouldn't be a big surprise if Glenn Martinez or Darnell Jenkins make the team, especially if the Texans find another punt returner and decide they're done with Jacoby Jones.



Indianapolis

Cornerback Jacob Lacey has gotten his hands on a lot of balls and could prompt the Colts to keep him at the back end of their cornerback group. Might he stick ahead of Dante Hughes or prompt them to go heavy at the spot?

Linebacker Ramon Humbler has shown promise and can be a good special teamer.

The last receiver could be one of two relative unknowns. Both Brett McDermott and John Matthews are quiet and go unnoticed until the ball comes their way, then they catch it. Both are more quick than fast and they are roughly the same size at about 6-0, 200.

Chad Simpson and Lance Ball are likely going head to head for the final running back slot, but neither qualifies as a long shot.



Jacksonville

Word is that receiver Nate Hughes has moved beyond long shot and is early assured of a spot. He could rank as high as fourth now, and could make the team at the expense of one of the three draft picks. Or maybe that means Mike Thomas (groin) to IR?

Linebacker Russell Allen was the team's primary target among undrafteds and looks to have a great shot of making the roster.

Longer shots? Michael Desormeaux could oust Marlon McCree as a reserve safety or Pete Ittersagen could overtake Scott Starks as a reserve corner.



Tennessee

A deep roster with a draft class of 11 doesn't leave room for many street free agents or undrafted to emerge. So a late-round draft picks making it could qualify as a bit of an upset.

Cornerback Jason McCourty's been far better than Cary Williams and Dominique Edison looks to rank fourth at wide receiver right now.

With Leroy Harris heading back to a backup role as Kevin Mawae comes off PUP, Fernando Velasco's chance is probably gone.

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