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Taylor Thompson learns contact a two-way street

Discussion in 'Tennessee Titans and NFL Talk' started by Titans Insider, Aug 22, 2012.

  1. Titans Insider

    Titans Insider Titans News

    One could make a pretty good argument that no Titan has faced a more challenging offseason/training camp than rookie tight end Taylor Thompson, a collegiate defensive end who’s transitioning back to the position he played in high school.

    On the plus side for Thompson, he’s tied for the team lead with four catches through two preseason games, and he seems to be processing the Titans’ offense at a good pace.

    But part of the transition of going from defense to offense means adjusting to players hitting you – or just trying to hit you, for that matter.

    In the fourth quarter of the Titans’ preseason opener in Seattle, Thompson was trying to battle for extra yardage when he was stripped of the football. The Seahawks recovered at the Tennessee 12-yard line.

    In the third quarter of the Titans’ win over Tampa Bay last week, Thompson dropped a catchable ball in the end zone as he was being pressured by a pair of Buccaneers defenders.

    “That touchdown drop can’t happen and that fumble could have cost us there,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said of the team’s fifth-round draft pick. “We had a chance to get back in the game there so it was two big plays.

    “He dropped a tough catch. It hit him right in the chest and the defensive guy was there. On the fumble you have to learn how to get down and that guys are good at stripping the ball in this league.

    “Hopefully he learned from it and drops are something that he has to keep working on out here. He hasn’t really dropped the ball in practice, so hopefully he can get that behind us.”

    Thompson says he’s tried to turn the fumble into a positive in his growth process.

    “I learned a lot from it,” Thompson said. “I learned the kind of tempo I’ll be facing in a game after I catch the ball in the game, and about ball security.

    “In practice, we try to give the best picture possible, but it’s hard to simulate the game tempo and game speed of getting hit when you have the ball and running with the ball after that. I think it comes with experience and getting catches in the game.”

    Thompson dealt with plenty of contact in the trenches on the college level, but admits things are different on the other side of the ball.

    “On offense, you have a ball you’re holding onto that you can’t let go of,” Thompson said. “On defense, you can just go crazy.”

    Overall, Thompson said, he’s pleased with his progress in re-learning the tight end position.

    “It’s going good,” Thompson said. “I didn’t really know what to expect coming in. I’d say this summer I’ve learned most of what I’m doing right now. But last two or three weeks has really given me a chance to focus on what I’m doing and how to correct it, versus just trying to learn what to do.”

    Source: Titans Insider
  2. Kaeotik

    Kaeotik Pro Bowler

    If this kid can develop at the TE position, he's a freakin monster of a target with giant arms and hands. Our own Gronk if you will.
    • High Five High Five x 2
  3. Titan43

    Titan43 Pro Bowler

    I'm excited about his potential, but I don't expect him to be an impact guy this year at all. Maybe not even next year. Even if he is able to learn the offense, I think it will take time to get used to handling the ball. We can't afford to put him out there if we don't have confidence in his ability to hold on to the football. I think he can get there, but we shouldn't expect it to happen quickly. Its hard enough going from College to the NFL without switching positions ... this guy is not only switching positions, but he is switching to the complete opposite side of the ball.
  4. Kaeotik

    Kaeotik Pro Bowler

    It should be noted that he played TE throughout high school. Obviously, that's not sufficient preparation for playing the position at the NFL level and it was a long time ago, but I would think it would at least make it slightly easier of a transition for him now.
  5. Soxcat

    Soxcat Starter

    He obviously looks like a guy who hasn't played offense for a while but all he needs is to get enough reps this year to get acclimated well and he can be more of an impact player later on. He seems to be doing a decent job of blocking.
  6. Titan43

    Titan43 Pro Bowler

    Almost every defensive player in the NFL played an offensive position in HS. A lot of colleges won't even look at a HS player if he didn't play on offense because that is a sign that they weren't all that athletic. Playing TE in HS makes Thompson's transition no easier ... I played HS football. That does not in any way make me even remotely capable of playing anything at the NFL level.

    I'm not saying that he won't end up being a good TE for us. We just need to temper the expectations a little and understand that he was drafted as a project. Lets let him learn for a year or two, and then see what happens before we call him the next Gronk or a bust.
  7. TitansWrath

    TitansWrath Starter

    Who do you think you're talking to? Get out of here with all that reasonable "wait and see" crap! This is a shoot from the hip snap decisions kind of place!

  8. Kaeotik

    Kaeotik Pro Bowler

    I don't see how playing the position before wouldn't make the transition just slightly easier. It would have to. Even if only a tiny bit. If you ask me to do something I haven't done in years, I'm still gonna be better at it than something I've literally never done.
    • High Five High Five x 1

    JCBRAVE Wake up and die right Tip Jar Donor

    The encouraging thing about Thompson switching to TE is that others are also doing this. Patriots TE Alex Silvestro was also a defensive lineman last year and he's looking pretty good (scored a TD last week). There's also another rookie TE who wasn't a TE last year (forgot his name) who's also making the change look easy.

    I've seen Thompson catch, and block, and so far vs back-ups he's looking like he's getting it. With more time at TE I'm sure he'll be serviceable to us this year.

    JCBRAVE Wake up and die right Tip Jar Donor

    Nobody should be calling him Gronk, that's not his name, and will never be his name (unless he goes Chad Ochocinco on us).

    No but really, Gronk is an animal, no one should be compared to that guy, it's not fair or realistic.