Tennessee Titans: Al Woods

Titans Camp Report: Day 19

August, 13, 2014
Aug 13
7:46
PM ET
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:

  • Receiver Justin Hunter continued to make things difficult on cornerbacks on jump balls. He went up and got one over Coty Sensabaugh from Jake Locker. He jumped over rookie Marqueston Huff for another. He skied to the crossbar in the back of the end zone to pluck another with Sensabaugh nearby.
  • Charlie Whitehurst had to call “ball” on one throw up the right side for Michael Preston, who turned but wasn’t ready and watched it sail through his hands, though he had some room on Micah Pellerin.
  • Locker threw a duck that found the ground quickly when it looked like he was aiming for Nate Washington with Blidi Wreh-Wilson in coverage. Locker seemed to be trying to stop himself from throwing it, but the motion was well underway and it came out of his hand. Wound up harmless.
  • Other red-zone TD catches besides Hunter’s: Marc Mariani from Whitehurst and Chase Coffman stretching at the back line from Zach Mettenberger.
  • Linebacker Zaviar Gooden didn’t get his head around on a Whitehurst throw for Taylor Thompson, but Gooden got his arm up to hit the ball for a breakup.
  • While the Titans have been very reserved with their kickers, Brett Kern punted for the second day in a row.
  • Whitehurst was "sacked" when the he dashed left and ended up swallowing the ball. It looked like the play was supposed to be a handoff to Bishop Sankey but was unclear who made the mistake. Sankey made some nifty moves on a couple of carries.
  • Whitehurst threw an interception to Huff in a ball intended for Isaiah Williams.
  • DaQuan Jones is working as the second nose tackle, and Al Woods is also in the loop there behind starter Sammie Hill. Antonio Johnson has been out for a while in recovering from a knee scope. Jones and Woods can play inside or out, while Johnson doesn’t bring the same versatility. He’s likely in trouble.
  • Travis Coons hit field goals of 38 and 44 yards at the conclusion of two-minute drill work by the offense. Whisenhunt said Maikon Bonani's groin was bothering him a little bit. Coons hit both field goals on a better trajectory with room to spare. He told me he was hitting the ball a bit lower than usual as he worked with snapper Beau Brinkley and holder Kern to speed up the snap, hold, kick process. Now that they’ve made progress on that he’s getting his natural swing back and getting more height on his kicks.
  • Whisenhunt said he will allow players to go home after they return from their trip to New Orleans for Friday night’s game. That ends camp in one way. But Whisenhunt said while the Titans will structure next week like a normal practice week, that they will still work ones against ones and rotate people in competitions. For him, camp really ends when the first round of cuts come and as the team focuses on planning for an opponent.
  • That likely means the practice rules change next week and you won’t be seeing any more of these practice reports. Hope you enjoyed them and they gave you some insight.
Tuesday marks a week since free agency opened. Let's look at what has unfolded for the Tennessee Titans to this point.

Newcomers

RB Dexter McCluster (Kansas City) -- He looks to be more a running back than a receiver in their initial thinking. Catching passes out of the backfield will likely be his biggest role in Ken Whisenhunt’s offense.

DL Al Woods (Pittsburgh) -- The Titans have looked at a lot of versatile defensive linemen, and Woods is the one they’ve managed to add so far. He can play anywhere on a three-man line but provides a nice option in the middle.

LB Wesley Woodyard (Denver) -- He’ll bring quality leadership and is expected to fit comfortably as a 3-4 inside linebacker, a spot at which the Titans need to continue to upgrade their options.

QB Charlie Whitehurst -- A veteran quarterback who’s hardly played but was in Whisenhunt’s offense last year in San Diego. Will have more of a chance at playing time behind Jake Locker than he did behind Philip Rivers.

RT Michael Oher -- A big, durable, physical offensive lineman who’s in line to take over at right tackle. He’s been penalty prone and hasn’t progressed a ton in five years with the Ravens, but if he improves, he could be a big answer.

Visitors who remain unsigned

LB Akeem Jordan (Kansas City) -- Could be a good option as the short-area inside linebacker.

DT Pat Sims (Oakland) -- A run stopper who could likely contribute on run downs.

Re-signed

SS Bernard Pollard -- The outspoken thumper did a lot to help restore the Titans to relevance last season and fits very nicely with Michael Griffin in the middle of the Titans' secondary. Sounded fired up about the new regime.

DE Ropati Pitoitua -- A giant defensive end who did some good work in the 4-3 last season. He’s even better cast for the new hybrid front that will have a significant 3-4 element.

KR Leon Washington -- He settled the return game down substantially after he joined the team late in the season. McCluster could render Washington redundant, but starting out with multiple options for the return game is a good thing.

RB Jackie Battle -- The Titans are heading toward a committee of running backs. Battle should be the backup to the Shonn Greene piece of it plus a special teamer.

Signed away

CB Alterraun Verner (Tampa Bay) -- A very productive corner who was the Titans’ lone Pro Bowler in 2013. They never expected to get him back, and though his price wasn’t what his agent expected, he bolted to be part of the Cover-2 Lovie Smith will run.

Released

RT David Stewart -- Beat up and expensive after nine seasons, he sounded like he’s leaning strongly to retirement after he got the news from the only organization for which he’s played.

QB Ryan Fitzpatrick -- Interception prone and too streaky, he still ranked as a serviceable veteran backup in a bleak landscape for them. Whitehurst takes his place and saved the Titans a $500,000 roster bonus.

Still out there

WR Kenny Britt -- Interest in a reclamation project is reportedly coming from St. Louis, New England and Washington.

G-C Chris Spencer -- He’s a player the Titans could use back to work behind Andy Levitre, Brian Schwenke and Chance Warmack.

DT Antonio Johnson -- Has 3-4 experience from Indianapolis but with Woods added Johnson hardly ranks as a priority at this point.

WR Damian Williams -- A smart and versatile receiver. He can be good as the fourth or fifth guy, but it's a loaded free-agent pool and draft class at receiver.

Also: C Kevin Matthews, OT Mike Otto, QB Rusty Smith, C Rob Turner, RS-WR Marc Mariani.

RTC: Titans lost out on Day 3

March, 14, 2014
Mar 14
10:13
AM ET
Reading the coverage of the Tennessee Titans ...

With Charlie Whitehurst in the fold the Titans are changing direction at backup quarterback, says Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean.

The Titans lost out on LaMarr Woodley and Jason Hatcher. Wyatt reviews the day.

Touting Whitehurst as an authority on Ken Whisenhunt's offense leaves David Boclair of the Nashville Post feeling as if the team isn’t confident enough in Jake Locker.

To which I say: I understand Boclair’s point. I don’t endorse signing guys to mentor rather than because of their ability to play. That’s part of what they are getting in Whitehurst. But it’s different at quarterback. I don’t have a problem with the angle where Whitehurst can be a help because of his familiarity with Whisenhunt.

Why teams are spending like mad in free agency, from Kevin Clark of the Wall Street Journal. “This is football's new financial reality.”

The Titans made Al Woods feel at home right away, says Craig Peters of the Titans' website.

Other teams signing guys saved the Titans from themselves, says Raj Prashad of Cover 32.
In Al Woods, the Titans have acquired a guy who fit’s the biggest buzzword we can attach to the Tennessee Titans at this time: versatility.

He can play up and down the line and could be an up-and-coming valuable cog to the team’s shifting front.

"Al is a player with great size, strength and toughness," Titans general manager Ruston Webster said in the release announcing the deal. "He also has the ability to play all three spots on the defensive line, which adds to his value."

Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean reports it’s two years and $5 million.

Here is Bill Polian’s scouting report :
Woods has spent a fair amount of his NFL career on the inactive list, but got a chance to play late in the 2013 season and performed well. In the Steelers' 3-4 scheme, he can play any of the defensive line positions and while he isn't much of a pass-rusher, he is a powerful player who can hold the point. This scheme is ideal for his abilities, and his versatility is a major plus.

On my Nashville radio show, The Midday 180, Greg Cosell of NFL Films sounded like he sees some potential in Woods.

"I guess in a 3-4 he fits as sort of a nose, nose-shade, that’s probably what he would do," Cosell said. "I think he can play multiple positions in a 3-4 front. But I think ultimately he’s probably be best as a nose-shade. I remember when he came out of LSU, I thought he was a pretty good prospect, he’s obviously been a guy that’s not quite become I’m sure what the Steelers thought he could become. But he’s still a young player."

The Titans have a lot of other linemen still in their sights.

Raiders defensive tackle Pat Sims is slated to visit Thursday, Wyatt reports. Texans 3-4 lineman Antonio Smith will visit Thursday as well, per Josina Anderson of ESPN. Cowboys defensive tackle Jason Hatcher is also a target.

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