3 reasons for concern with Titans ahead of training camp

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Welcome to Talkin' Titans. This is Tennessee Titans beat reporter Ben Arthur.

The Titans ended their offseason program with mandatory minicamp Wednesday and won’t return to the field until late July.

Here are three things I’m concerned about as we look toward training camp:

Burks’ health, status

I wrote in a newsletter last month that we shouldn’t sound the alarms on first-round pick Treylon Burks.

But through the offseason program, there was no progress in his availability to practice. It was the opposite.

After limited participation in rookie minicamp and the start of voluntary organized team activities, he didn’t participate in the last three practices open to the media.

The next six weeks will be critical for Burks and the Titans, who must have a plan that manages the first-rounder’s body and his asthma issues and assures that he’ll be active in training camp practices.

Tennessee has a lot riding on the rookie’s production, with star A.J. Brown gone and veteran Robert Woods working his way back from a torn ACL.

The Titans can’t afford a third straight disappointing first-round rookie.

Possibility of contract tension

Star defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, who was in attendance but not on the field during mandatory minicamp, would not say why he wasn’t practicing. Neither would coach Mike Vrabel.

But defensive line coach Terrell Williams told reporters "no, he’s fine," when asked if Simmons was injured. It raised speculation that Simmons was "holding in" for a new contract.

If his contract is the reason he sat out of practice, it’s a good sign that he at least reported to the team and has been involved in non-field activities.

Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons (98) on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.
Tennessee Titans defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons (98) on the sideline during the fourth quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at Nissan Stadium Sunday, Sept. 12, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

Simmons also said he plans to report and be on the field come training camp.

But as we saw with Brown, contract negotiations can sour quickly. No one doubted that Brown would be re-signed to a big-money extension – until he was traded.

So if the contract – and not health – is in question with Simmons, Tennessee should aim for a new deal with the star or enough progress on the front to make him comfortable practicing in July.

Offensive tackle depth

The Titans have revealed that 2021 second-round pick Dillon Radunz is working primarily at right tackle.

That’s good news. It’s the position he was drafted to play.

But Tennessee went the whole offseason program without investing heavily in an offensive line that must improve in 2022.

If Radunz doesn’t pan out, the pass protection could be even worse than it was last year. Jamarco Jones, a career backup, has been the only addition who has meaningful NFL experience. Nicholas Petit-Frere is a rookie.

📧 Any questions or inquiries about the Titans' offseason? Send me a note. I'd be happy to answer. My email is BArthur@tennessean.com.

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This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: 3 reasons for concern with Titans ahead of training camp