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Monday, June 9, 2014
Two fields maximizing Titans' reps

By Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- An actual rep trumps a mental rep, even if that rep is coming with third- and fourth-string players.

That’s the thinking behind the approach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff have employed at OTAs. At team periods in practices, two fields have been in use. Monday, when the team was in its practice bubble because of wet conditions, two separate offenses moves out from midfield toward opposite goal lines.

Whisenhunt spoke of the two-field plan before the draft when we discussed whether the Titans would have enough practice snaps for a rookie quarterback if they added one.

“The biggest benefit that I see from that is you’re getting extra reps for guys, especially for the quarterbacks. All the positions where you’re normally having to split the reps, now they are getting more reps. It put a little more stress on them physically. But that’s OK; I think they understand the intensity.”

Sixth-round quarterback Zach Mettenberger knows the way the Titans are using the time is a benefit to the young guys.

“You’ve got guys like Taylor Lewan and DaQuan [Jones] who need the reps, need to play, it’s important because they are doing it and not watching older guys get the majority of the reps,” Mettenberger said.

There will come a time when the roster is smaller when mental reps will often have to suffice for Mettenberger. But right now with the roster at 90, he’s happy to get more work.

“Instead of all of us going on one field and me getting two reps, I’m now getting six reps,” he said. “That’s really important when you’ve got to work on the communication of protection. Everyone knows I am a pretty slow guy, so I’ve got to protect myself so I don’t get hit.”

Veteran safety George Wilson hasn’t been part of such a split before, and said he really likes it. Standing aside and watching the veterans before getting only a couple snaps is not the best way for kids to get more ready faster.

“This is more inclusive,” he said. “You get more meaningful reps. You’re able to get in more of a rhythm in the rotation. If you’re a third- or fourth-team [player], you’re not sitting on the sideline for eight or nine plays before you actually get an opportunity. You get out there and get some action, you’re able to get that muscle memory.

“A mental rep can only take you so far.”