Titans' Report: Arden Key's Limits, More Treylon Burks' Praise, JC Latham's Progress

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Brian Callahan made it pretty clear when he first started talking about the Titans on the edge: The group starts with Harold Landry and quickly moves to less than full-time Arden Key, “a situational pass rusher.”

Key didn’t flinch at that designation after Wednesday’s OTA practice, and Callahan spoke about how Key’s a three-down player right now and the Titans have plenty of room for him to seize the role.

Arden Key

“That’s what everybody’s said pretty much has said since I’ve been in the league, situational pass rusher,” Key said. “But that’s the thing I do best, pass rush. (To play three downs I’ve just got to continue doing what I’m doing., doping whatever the coaches ask me to to, do it to the best of my ability, just continue being me and doing what I do best.

"They said the same thing last year but I was in situations where I played all three downs. That’s the situation it is, but in football, you’re going to get those three downs. You’ve got to do your best with them.”

Key played 63 percent of the Titans' defensive snaps last season, with Landry at 88.9 percent, per Pro Football Reference. Pro Football Focus rather Key the 10th-best Titans among regulars in run defense, fourth-best in pass rushing.

“He’s been playing quite a bit of it throughout the spring, it’s just kind of what he’s done, he’s a three-down player,” Callahan said. “Part of being a three-down player is being stout and physical against the run. You’re not going to find out much about that now with no pads out, but (you can be) learning the techniques and playing in that manner that Dennard (Wilson) wants those guys to play. But everything from Arden’s been fantastic this preseason part.

“It’ll be very revealing when the pads come on if that’s something that he’s up for the task for. I think he is. He’s going to get a chance to prove it.”

Key is certainly fired up to play under Wilson, who he had a great deal of praise for, some of which cut into the approach of Mike Vrabel and Shane Bowen before him.

“We don’t move on until everything is fixed, and the details he’s got, and the swag that he’s got and that he comes in with every day, it’s going to be exciting,” Key said. 

So did the Titans move on before some details were fixed last year?

“Hell yeah,” Key said. “Yes, we moved on. If we messed up, we didn’t fix it. This year, when we mess up we don’t move on until we fix it.”

Wilson's tone: Chidobe Awuzie said the Titans are in a place where Wilson is setting a defensive tone the players are still learning, but they will ultimately need to take it over from him.

The No. 1 thing starts with coach Wilson right now," Awuzie said. "just setting a new defense, setting the standard, which everyone is matching the intensity. Right now, he's the one that's really setting the tone in the meeting room. And we've got to come out here and match his intensity. 

"At some point, us players are going to get comfortable with the system. and we're going to be the ones setting the tone and the intensity. ...So we're still on that path. it's a long road, but everyone has that same vision in mind. that aggressiveness. we've just got to get there. we're far away right now, we've just got to get there."

Burks' praise: Last week DeAndre Hopkins raved about Treylon Burks. This week it was Calvin Ridley's turn.

"It brings confidence," Burks said of the great reviews from veteran teammates. "it helps confidence. Them being there helping me and also them asking me questions for feedback it's fun being around them and being able to communicate with them and them help me and also I help them. So it's been fun."

The interview setup made it so Burks and six other players rolled through a couple of phases of the same questions.

Burks characterized himself as healthy, confident and having fun. He needs to avoid the injuries that have sidetracked him, but he didn't offer anything else as a focus of his practice work.

"I just give it to God man, not stress about it, not worry about it," he said. "I'm where I am now with the positive attitude, I'm happy, I've got a baby on the way so I couldn't be more happy."

Latham's progress: Thursday will be five weeks since the Titans chose JC Latham seventh in the draft.

Callahan talked about how the Titans' new left tackle is progressing.

"He's very intentional about his work, he works really hard," he said. "He spends a lot of time on this., I think he understands, which not all rookies understand, that it is a job and that there is an expectation especially when you're drafted where he was drafted that you've got to come perform. And I think he's aware of that. Not everybody always is. He's got some maturity to him. He also has a youthful wonder that's kind of fun to be around.

"Everything is new to him, and he just loves playing football. so there is this kind of enthusiasm that he carries with him around the field that I think is fantastic. He's getting better with the techniques."

Lloyd Cushenberry has also been impressed: "He is very smart, bought into what coach (Bill) Callahan wants. He's going to be big for us, very big." 

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