Nashville, Tenn. (WKRN)- The Tennessee Titans open up the season on Sunday, hosting the New York Giants. Fans will get to see some of the more well-known starters like quarterback Ryan Tannehill and running back Derrick Henry, but there will also be some rookies ready to make their NFL debuts.
Head coach Mike Vrabel said it’s a process making sure these younger players are ready for the big stage.
“Trying to give them everything we can out in practice, trying to practice how we want to play and showing them a lot of looks,” said Vrabel. “That’s our job as coaches is to explain to them that things are going to come up that they haven’t seen and they’re going to have to work through it. That’s all part of our process.”
Kyle Philips was a fifth-round pick for the Titans in 2022 and when he came to Nashville, nobody really knew how much the UCLA product would turn heads. Long story short, he was one of the most impressive rookies throughout camp and he will be the the Titans punt returner to start the season.
I’m trying not to think about the game too much, just trying to focus on these next two days of practice,” said Philips. “These are the games that count, on the record, so it’s been really intense in practice and in meetings.”
Nicholas Petit-Frere, the Titans third-round pick out of Ohio State, will also make his NFL debut, starting at right tackle. He has utilized having access to veterans like Ben Jones and Taylor Lewan to help get him prepared, but this week Lewan will only step in and give advice if he needs to.
“We’ll see how he handles the day, and how he handles himself. If I need to talk with him, then I absolutely will,” said Lewan.
On defense, the Titans will put rookie cornerback Roger McCreary opposite Kristian Fulton to start the season. The second-round pick out of Auburn was also a rookie who did just about everything right in training camp, earning a starting spot. This week he’s working on all the details, asking plenty of questions.
“Really it’s just asking questions about the different schemes, switching up different things, all the small stuff,” said McCreary. “I have guys like Kevin (Byard) and Amani Hooker, so it feels good to have them around.”