NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Tennessee Titans rookie running back Derrick Henry could get a number of reps with the first team in Saturday's preseason opener against the San Diego Chargers (8 p.m. ET), as the Titans are not likely to use DeMarco Murray very much against the Chargers.
Henry got a head start on the pounding style he hopes to impose as a runner, leveling linebacker Nate Palmer by lowering his shoulder in a "Wow!" play in Thursday's practice.
"That's a real play," Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. "He's going to move the pile, whoever's in the way better get out of the way. Some of the things he did out here with some of the cuts where he broke it to the outside, he had speed to get away from some of our outside guys, which again was a real play in practice so it's good to see."
--In order to get his team ready for any situation possible, Mularkey held what he called an "unscripted" practice on Thursday. Assistant coaches and players didn't know the down and distance in particular periods until Mularkey called it out for them. That was to better simulate game conditions and adapting to sudden changes. Mularkey came away pleased with the results.
"Coaches had no idea what the periods were. There were no plays scripted," Mularkey explained. "I screamed every down-and-distance to the coordinators, so they had to react like they do in games. They had to get their personnel groupings in there. We had to match them defensively the entire practice. They had no idea where we were going field-position wise, and we got off the field five more minutes earlier than we normally do."
--The Titans have had an unexpected pleasant surprise on the defensive line in camp, as undrafted rookie Antwaun Woods of Southern Cal has moved past second-round pick Austin Johnson on the depth chart at nose tackle, at least for the time being.
The soft-spoken Woods doesn't lack for confidence, despite falling through draft weekend unselected.
"I've got to continue to work hard, help the team and continue to move up the charts," Woods said. "I feel like I've been doing well. I feel like I've gotten a lot of people's attention, which I knew I would."
NOTES: WR Kendall Wright will miss a couple more weeks as an MRI showed fluid in his hamstring. Wright suffered the injury on Aug. 3 and has not practiced since. ... RB Dexter McCluster has missed virtually the entire week of work tending to a personal matter that is not football-related. ...S Josh Aubrey, who was said by the coaches to be having a strong camp in the battle for a backup safety spot, abruptly retired on Wednesday, telling Mike Mularkey his heart was no longer in football.