NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Running back
The versatile, shifty and speedy player who signed a multi-year contract with Tennessee in March said he was studying his playbook until he fell asleep Monday night to be as prepared as possible for Tuesday when the Titans began a three-day voluntary minicamp.
Teams with new head coaches were able to hold minicamps as part of their offseason program to give coaches an opportunity to work with veterans on the field. Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt said his staff values the time to work with players, who also appreciate the opportunity to do the same with coaches.
McCluster is likely to spend most of his time at running back but is capable of playing receiver and being a dynamic return specialist. He said learning the offense is important to him to enable coaches to capitalize on his versatility. And as for the tempo of practice, McCluster said, “I learned that it’s going to be fast-paced.”
“They threw a lot at us and expect us to be professionals and get in the playbook and learn as much as possible as fast as possible, so I wanted to make sure I got there and minimized the mistakes,” he added. “I had a few mishaps here and there, but for the most part, I did better than I thought I would.”
Offensive and defensive players are allowed to line up against each other and run the full plays in helmets but not pads and are allowed to participate in daily walk-throughs and meetings.
The pace was noticeable at other positions, too.
“The tempo was definitely faster, but that’s a good thing,” Warmack said. “I think a new team brings a new dynamic, and I’m just staying positive and keeping a positive outlook. This is the first day, so you’re going to have some rocks and bumps in there, but as the days go on, you get better with repetition.”
LOCKER MOVES, THROWS PASSES: Titans quarterback
Locker, who is recovering from surgery on his right foot to repair a Lisfranc injury, and the team are balancing how much they want the fourth-year QB to do with preventing anything that could cause a setback. Locker said it’s difficult because of his desire to do everything, but he’s encouraged by the progress he’s made and wants to continue to increase his mobility.
Whisenhunt said Locker’s activity met expectations for this point in the rehab process.
“I think we knew what he was going to be able to do,” Whisenhunt said. “Any reps that we could get him, anything that he can do out there on the field is something we want to do. We just have to make sure that we don’t try to do too much.”
Locker swapped his helmet for a Titans cap when the practice shifted to team periods, and veteran
“He’s great, obviously a guy that was in the offense last year and very comfortable with it, a lot of carryover from last year’s system to what we’re doing here,” Locker said. “It’s awesome to have him as a guy that’s been out there and done it. To get his perspective on a lot of plays has helped me grow quicker than I probably would have.”
WHISENHUNT’S IMPRESSION: Whisenhunt has plenty to evaluate during the minicamp and is doing so on the field and during film study after the sessions. He wanted to get a basis for how players handle information and how they can put it into action. Rather than focus on individual performances, Whisenhunt said he liked the way that veterans who are adapting to the new systems were able to help teach younger players.
“It allows guys to have a more confident plan with each other because when a guy corrects you, that helps to build trust and you can in turn help and correct him, and that’s where you create the bond and that team chemistry,” Wilson said. “It all starts right here. That’s why everyone is here, even though it’s voluntary. That’s why everyone is here and fully participating, because we all know this is ground zero for building a team. You’ve got to start from the cornerstone and continue to build the foundation and that’s what we’re doing now.”