Titans 2023 Training Camp Preview: A Look at Special Teams

Titans 2023 Training Camp Preview A Look at Special Teams
Photo by Titans


In camp: Punter Ryan Stonehouse, kicker Caleb Shudak, kicker Trey Wolff, returner Kyle Philips, returner Tyjae Spears, returner Hassan Haskins, returner Julius Chestnut, returner Mason Kinsey, returner Amani Hooker, returner Jonathan Ward, returner Chris Moore, returner Kearis Jackson, returner Tre Avery, returner Eric Garror, returner Steven Jones, returner Gavin Holmes, returner Tre’Shaun Harrison.

Offseason developments: The Titans parted ways with kicker Randy Bullock earlier this offseason, setting the stage for an open competition at kicker this offseason. Earlier this offseason, coach Mike Vrabel didn’t completely rule out Bullock returning, but some youngsters are set to compete in camp to win the job. The Titans also released Robert Woods, who was used as a punt returner in 2022. C.J. Board and Dontrell Hilliard are also no longer with the team, which has opened up the competition even more at returner, and in camp the team will give a host of players a look. The Titans hired Tom Quinn and Anthony Levine as assistant special teams coaches under Craig Aukerman. Meanwhile, longtime Titans punter Brett Kern, who ended last season with the Philadelphia Eagles, announced his retirement earlier this offseason and held his retirement press conference at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park.

In the spotlight: Stonehouse. How good was Stonehouse as a rookie? Well, his jersey and cleats were sent to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton after the punter finished the 2022 season with a gross average of 53.10 yards per punt (90 punts for 4,779 yards). Stonehouse broke Sammy Baugh’s single-season NFL record of 51.40 yards per punt, which was established in 1940 and was never matched among qualifiers (2.5 punts per team game) until Stonehouse’s rookie campaign. This offseason, coaches have raved about Stonehouse’s improvement in a number of areas. Stonehouse makes watching punters fun again.

Battle to watch: Caleb Shudak vs. Trey Wolff. Shudak, signed as an undrafted free agent a year ago, heads into training camp as the favorite in this competition. He has a bit of experience from a year ago, he has a strong leg, and he was mostly consistent kicking the football in offseason work. I charted Shudak making 20-of-23 field goals in the open periods, although he ended the offseason with two misses on the final day of OTA. Wolff, an undrafted free agent from Texas Tech, is a formidable foe. He was a perfect 7-of-7 in the final day of OTAs, and I charted him at 36-of-39 during the open periods this offseason.

Keep an eye on: Philips. The Titans will be looking for returners to step up in training camp. Spears has been mentioned as a possibility at kick returner, and he’d bring a dynamic threat to the job. Philips will once again be given every opportunity to win the job at punt returner. After an impressive start in his rookie debut in 2022, Philips had some issues fielding punts, and it ended up costing him the job before he was ultimately sidelined with an injury. Philips is determined to win the job in camp, and if he does, he has a chance to be really good on special teams.

Source: TennesseeTitans.com


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