NASHVILLE – The last time the Tennessee Titans played preseason games Logan Woodside attempted more passes than the other quarterbacks on the roster.
That, of course, was 2019 when he threw it 76 times in four games, including 29 times when he played the entire way in the preseason finale. Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill combined for 56 passes in those contests.
There were no preseason games in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Woodside played just 22 snaps during the regular season. Just days into training camp, therefore, the 26-year-old backup quarterback has his sights set on the preseason, which for the Titans begins Aug. 13 against the Falcons in Atlanta.
“It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get into a game and throw it around a bit,” Woodside said Saturday. “So, I’m definitely excited about that. Just working each day to get ready to go in Atlanta.”
With the preseason shortened to three games this year, and Woodside in a battle with DeShone Kizer to be Tannehill’s backup, he is not likely to get as many pass attempts as he did in the last preseason. But he still can expect to get a lot of work.
“I don’t really go in there with a plan, but I would imagine (Woodside and Kizer) will play a lot and they will play a lot with different people,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “I think that is the thing when you are evaluating quarterbacks is that they both have the opportunity to play with some players that you anticipate being on your roster. Then sometimes you evaluate them with guys that may not be. How do they motivate those guys? How do they inspire those guys? How do they function when they are not playing with a first-string receiver, or a first-string offensive line?”
That is just another reason Woodside looks forward to those games, which include one at Tampa Bay (Aug. 21) and at home against Chicago (Aug. 28).
“My whole life I’ve had to compete, and that’s something that’s really … I’ve tried to raise my game through competition,” he said. “DeShone’s been great. We’ve been working hard together. I’m learning things from him, and I’m sure he’s doing the same. So, it’s been good.”
Listening and learning: As offensive coordinator, one of Todd Downing’s primary jobs is to figure how to incorporate recently acquired wide receiver Julio Jones into the offense. Much of that involves telling the seven-time Pro Bowler what he needs to know about the Titans’ playbook. But Downing also has listened quite a bit to what Jones knows and likes.
“He has such a wide wealth of knowledge and great football IQ and so many experiences,” Downing said. “It is fun to be able to process through some of the stuff with him [and] talk about the same type of concepts he has run in the past. There is an onboarding process, but it is a fun process so, we are excited about where he is at.
“I think I would be a fool of a coach to not take the wisdom off a veteran like him. So, talking through some of the things he has done in the past and how we can acclimate him to some of the things we are going to ask him to do here and find that blend, I think that is an important process.”
Staying power: Chris Jackson has only been in the NFL for one season, but he already has shown an unusual ability to stick around.
The cornerback out of Marshall is one of five Titans seventh-round draft picks since Jon Robinson became general manager in 2016. Having appeared in 11 games as a rookie, the 243rd overall pick in 2020 already has more NFL experience than the other four combined.
A key to his relative success is the fact that he can play multiple positions in the defense.
“I’m getting more comfortable at every position, the more and more I compete and the more and more I practice,” Jackson said. “It’s good to be able to go from corner to nickel and just move around, do some things to help the defense. You know, just earn my job.”
COVID clearance: Outside linebacker Bud Dupree was removed from the Reserve -- COVID 19 list after just two days on it. That list is for players who test positive for the virus or have been quarantined due to close contact, and teams are not permitted to reveal the reason for any additions.
Obviously, Dupree's situation was not serious. However, he is once again on the Physically Unable to Perform (PUP) list because he continues to recover from reconstructive knee surgery. He will not be able to practice with the team until he is removed from that list and added to the active roster.
The last word: “Everyone has a certain swagger about themselves right now. Everyone is feeling confident. We know this is a big year for us, and everyone is just so locked in and focused. It's awesome to see. You can see the juice we have out there. We just have to keep it consistent and keep bringing that same (stuff) every day.” – outside linebacker Harold Landry, on the performance of the defense so far in training camp.