Rookie Harold Landry has benefitted from the absence of veteran Brian Orakpo from the lineup due to a shoulder injury.
Orakpo’s setback has allowed Landry to get first-team reps with the Tennessee Titans defense.
But perhaps even more valuable than that, those first-team reps have been against Pro Bowl left tackle Taylor Lewan, one of the best in the business on the offensive line.
And while Landry is getting schooled a bit by the Titans’ $80 million tackle, it is a valuable education that should make him a better player sooner rather than later.
“He sees the bigger picture. He sees that we’re still teammates and he cares about my development as a player,” Landry said of Lewan. “I tell people that I knew him before I even got drafted here, and it means a lot that he’s looking out for me and that he wants me to get the best out of me every day. So, I’m lucky.”
Coach Mike Vrabel likes that Landry is getting his NFL baptism courtesy of a top-flight tackle right there I his own practice sessions.
“The better the guys you go against, the better you can become. He’ll get frustrated, but he knows that probably not all the tackles are going to be that good, and hopefully, it gets easier once the games start,” Vrabel said.
Lewan’s act of helpfulness is not an isolated incident with the Titans in this camp.
About a week ago in practice, veteran cornerback Malcolm Butler was running a play in team drills and noticed that both Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor were in his coverage area. So he calmly, but succinctly informed the two second-year pros that one of that – shall we paraphrase – run an incorrect route.
Vrabel appreciates that the players are stepping up and looking out for each other, even then it goes across one side of the football to the other.
“Anytime that these guys can help each other, whether that be on the field, or in the locker room or outside this building, I’m all for it. That’s a huge step in the right direction toward becoming a good team, a great team that cares about each other more than they care about themselves,” Vrabel said. “So when they can do that, they can start to hold each other accountable. I try to hold them accountable, but sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t. That’s how it goes. Ultimately, those players that hold each other accountable, then you can start to do some good things.”