NASHVILLE – Dillon Radunz, the Tennessee Titans’ second-round pick in this year’s draft, continues to rotate through multiple positions on the offensive line during workouts. It is the same thing he did during organized team activities (OTAs) and minicamp, and the approach has taken him to every spot along the line except center.
“For a young player that is trying to find and develop a role, that is a great asset to have is versatility because it gets you to the game,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “To be able to say you can play all four positions – and [I am] not saying he can pull it off right now – but if you can get any player to the point where they can play four positions, that is a pretty valuable piece to have on gameday.
“But there is a lot that he has to work on and a lot he has to improve to get to the standard that we want from our guys.”
What seems clear at this point is that Radunz, who played college football at North Dakota State (an FCS program), is not currently in the mix to be the starter at right tackle when the regular season arrives. If he was, coaches would allow him to focus on that spot and try to get him as many reps there as possible.
Instead, the plan seems to be for him to be available as a fill-in the first time a starter – almost any starter – is injured.
In plain sight: Vrabel announced earlier in the week that tight end Anthony Firkser was one of four players who were named offseason award winners based on their development and work habits since the end of last season.
One of the benefits of that distinction is a preferred parking spot for the duration of the season. Or is it? In Firker’s case, he was assigned the spot right next to Vrabel, which means the head coach easily can determine whether or not the fourth-year veteran is in the building at any time.
"I have to try and get here before him, and leave after him,” Firkser said, “and that might be hard.”
Then there is the possibility that he could ding his boss’s ride when he gets in or out of his own automobile.
"That's a little nerve-wracking," Firkser conceded. "I have to stay away from his (vehicle)."
Take two: Darrynton Evans decided he would not have done things any differently. So, he did not.
The second-year running back said he stuck with the same offseason training program that he used a year ago. Never mind that he sustained a hamstring injury that caused him to miss time during training camp, delayed his NFL debut until Week 3 and later caused him to spend half the season on injured reserve.
“I did the same stuff I did last year,” Evans said. “I understand last year I ended up being hurt, but it happens. Everybody goes through stuff. There ain’t really anything I could have done on my end, whether I’d done something different. That’s out of my control. So, I just control what I can control, come out here and do my job.”
The expectation is for the third-round draft pick out of Appalachian State to serve as a change-of-pace and receiving back on offense and possibly the primary return man on kickoffs.
Seize the day: Some notable first-team players sat out the third practice of camp. Wide receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Brown, center Ben Jones, cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins, tackle Taylor Lewan and guard Rodger Saffold were among the notable names who were held out to allow them to rest.
As a result, it is almost certain that the depth chart behind some of those players has changed because of what took place during that workout.
“What I always admire about players in this league is that somebody is going to take advantage of an opportunity,” Vrabel said. “Whether it is injury, day off, guy not out there, you usually are going to find somebody that steps up and takes advantage.”
The last word: “I think it probably gets better after the next couple of days. You know, they will have a day off [Sunday] and then a chance to build into a routine and a schedule that kind of repeats. Hopefully, we are kind of over that hump of the first couple days and we can kind of get rolling here into practice. … I think you are always trying to address it before it becomes an issue.” – Vrabel on the players starting to feel the grind of training camp.