David Stewart limbered out of the locker room, spotted a puddle and had a youthful moment. He landed both feet in the water, splashing Titans assistant strength and conditioning coach Jason Novak.
Moments after Titans coaches decided the playing surface would drain well enough for players to adequately maintain their footing as rain showers moved over Saint Thomas Sports Park, Stewart’s actions signified the team was going to have fun in the rain.
Titans coach Mike Munchak said it’s likely the rain slightly favored the offense, which did a considerable amount of work inside the 20-yard line going toward the end zone and away from it. The offense thrived with an explosive cutback run by Chris Johnson, sharp connections for touchdowns from Jake Locker to multiple targets and a designed run for receiver Kendall Wright.
“There’s no doubt that it’s harder (on the defense in the rain),” Munchak said. “I mean, there’s times where you can’t see the defense had nice plays where the quarterback wasn’t able to make a certain throw because of pressure. Those guys have done a great job of pulling off the quarterback. There was quite a few of those plays, too, in there, where the defense could’ve stopped some of those plays that maybe happened. It’s a nice give and take.”
Munchak said the decision to have practice in the rain was based on multiple factors: there wasn’t a threat of severe weather; he wanted players to encounter a wet ball and protect it; the team was able to keep the practice open to the public by playing outdoors; and several players who would have been withheld from practice on the indoor surface were able to participate.
“We felt it would be better for the team. I know these guys want to be out here when they can be,” Munchak said. “We knew the fans were coming. We didn’t know how many would show up, but we were really excited they hung with us and believed that we’d stay outside. I think the players really appreciated all that, that they stayed out and watched practice.”
Players showed their appreciation to the fans — a smaller bunch than Sunday’s crowd of 1,500 but an equally enthusiastic and dedicated group — by lining up and walking down the entire fence line to express their thanks and give high fives.
Some players are scheduled to sign autographs after each practice that is free and open to the public, and all players are scheduled to sign at least once during training camp (click here for this week’s schedule), but it was a genuine sign of appreciation by the whole team to finish its 13-plus hour day in that fashion.
Tags: Chris Johnson, David Stewart, Jake Locker, Mike Munchak, Tennessee Titans, Training Camp
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