NASHVILLE – Caleb Farley’s first taste of NFL football won’t come in the first weekend of the preseason.
Coach Mike Vrabel said Wednesday that the Titans’ first-round pick won’t play in the preseason opener Friday at Atlanta.
“Caleb’s not ready to play in a game,” Vrabel said.
He did not elaborate on whether the cornerback out of Virginia Tech is not prepared physically, mentally or some combination of the two.
Farley fell to Tennessee with the No. 22 overall pick in part because he underwent two back surgeries a little more than a year apart, the second of which was weeks before the draft. He started training camp on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury (NFI) list. He passed his physical and was cleared to participate on Aug. 2, after the team already had conducted four practices.
Earlier this week, Farley drew some unwanted attention from coaches because he quit on a play during team drills after he made an error.
“He made a mistake or didn’t do something great, and kind of stood there and laid on the ground, and I said, ‘That is not how we are going to do it,’” Vrabel said. “There are going to be a lot of mistakes that will happen through the course of a game, but we are going to go finish and find somebody to cover or find somebody to tackle and finish the play.”
Farley has not played a game since Nov. 23, 2019, when he was a third-year sophomore. He sat out all of 2020 due to coronavirus concerns and to focus on the 2021 NFL Draft. He also missed one full season in college (2017) because of a knee injury sustained during preseason camp.
His college career, therefore, consisted of just 23 games.
With the NFL preseason shortened to three games this year rather than the traditional four, Farley will have only two tune-up games to prepare for his rookie season in the NFL.
“As he gets healthy and gets going, every rep matters for him,” defensive coordinator Shane Bowen said. “No matter what the situation is, first, second, third, every single rep matters. He has learned something every single day. He hasn’t played a while, so getting the feel back for playing, the technique, and all the little things, the scheme, it is a different game.
“With him right now, we are going to throw it all at him and see what he can do. If we have to turn it down at some point, we have turn it down at some point, but right now we have to see what we can get out of him.”