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Tennessee wide receiver Rishard Matthews has been in the NFL the past six seasons Womens Philip Rivers Jersey , and now the veteran is hoping his experience learning other offenses will help him get up to speed very quickly with the Titans' newest scheme.
Matthews missed the Titans' organized team activities, mandatory minicamp in June, training camp and first three preseason games with an undisclosed injury. He passed his physical Sunday and was removed from the physically unable to perform list then practiced Monday.
That left the receiver watching teammates practice, trying to learn new coordinator Matt LaFleur's offense in meetings and walk-throughs without taking a single snap.
Now the 6-foot receiver who led Tennessee with 1,740 yards receiving over the past two seasons can take part in an offense that has him very excited.
"This is the longest I've been out of football," Matthews said before practice. "It's tough watching, but as far as the offense I'm really excited. I think the sky's the limit for our group. We have a bunch of talented young players. I think Coach LaFleur has explained that a lot of people will be moving around, and people aren't going to be able to get a beat on us so easy, so that's also exciting."
That's a big change from last December when Matthews argued for the Titans to use a no-huddle or quick-tempo offense to give quarterback Marcus Mariota more freedom with the team mired in a three-game skid that cost Tennessee the AFC South title. He also said then that the Titans needed more creativity on offense and work more to create better matchups.
The Titans fired coach Mike Mularkey after the season ended in January and hired first-time head coach Mike Vrabel. He brought in LaFleur, who also had interviewed for the head coaching job.
With new coaches and a new offense, Matthews found himself struggling with an undisclosed injury that he said was not related to an injured hamstring that cost him two games last season. He watched the offseason program from April into mid-June and started training camp on the physically unable to perform list. The Titans weren't too concerned about Matthews' return, signing him to an extension through 2019 last week.
Vrabel has been impressed by what he's seen of the receiver who ranks second on the Titans only to three-time Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker with 118 catches over the past two seasons. Vrabel called Matthews' attitude "great" and a good reminder to younger players how to be professional at working hard to get back into the lineup. The coach also likes how Matthews plays.
"There's a toughness to it. There's a grit to it Authentic Travis Kelce Jersey ," Vrabel said. "I think Rishard would tell you that he's not the fastest, not the biggest, not the quickest, but at the end of the day, there's a lot of production, and there's some consistency there which is really valued."
Matthews, who started his NFL career with four seasons in Miami, has started 20 of his 30 games since signing with Tennessee in March 2016. He ranks ninth in the NFL averaging 14.7 yards per catch among players with at least 100 catches over the past two seasons.
He's also the key veteran in a very young receiving group. Corey Davis is expected to be the No. 1 receiver after being the fifth player drafted in 2017, but is still looking for his first touchdown catch in the regular season. Taywan Taylor is going into his second season, and Tajae Sharpe spent his second season on injured reserve last year.
"I'm just thankful to be back now," Matthews said.
NOTES: LB Brian Orakpo, Walker and rookie LB Rashaan Evans all returned to practice Monday. Orakpo originally hurt a shoulder July 27 Womens Christian McCaffrey Jersey , and Walker was hurt Aug. 16 in a joint practice with Tampa Bay. Evans returned to practice last week but left early. "It's good to see those guys back out there and working and just fresh faces," Vrabel said.
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Los Angeles Chargers defensive end Joey Bosa set an NFL record with 19 sacks in his first 20 career games.
He recorded at least 10 1/2 sacks in each of his first two seasons, but Bosa and the Chargers insist the best is yet to come.
"I think there's so much I have to work on that I have an idea in my head of what I want things to look like and how I want to be as a player, and I'm not anywhere near those things, but I know I'm making the right steps in that direction," Bosa said Sunday.
Cornerback Casey Hayward has never been shy in sharing his belief that Bosa could become the best defender in football. It was only reinforced last season as Bosa's pass rush skills helped contribute to Hayward intercepting four passes.
"Made my life a lot easier," Hayward said. "A couple of my picks last year came off Joey hitting the guy, wobbly ball, I take all of them."
Entering his third season, the next step in Bosa's development could come from a better understanding of coordinator Gus Bradley's 4-3 defense. The Chargers were productive in 2017 while transitioning to Bradley's system, finishing third in points per game allowed, tied for fifth in sacks Womens Mitchell Trubisky Jersey , and sixth in takeaways. Those rankings could improve as the coaches, players and front office are more comfortable with what will allow the defense to succeed in this iteration.
The Chargers added depth in the draft, with Bosa praising defensive lineman Justin Jones and linebacker Uchenna Nwosu for their ability to get to the quarterback. The progression of second-year defensive end Isaac Rochell could result in Bosa staying fresh by allowing Bradley to rotate more. The 280-pound Bosa could play inside if Rochell is capable of creating pressure off the edge consistently, allowing Bradley to use his most disruptive players together in obvious passing situations.
Bosa, who had 12 1/2 sacks last season as the bookend to Melvin Ingram, could cause more havoc if opponents cannot focus all their attention on stopping the two standout defensive ends.
"Joey can improve," coach Anthony Lynn said. "I don't think he has reached his peak yet at all, and the better we get on that defensive line and create more one-on-one matchups, that's going to help his success as well."
But Bosa will never put a target on his individual production going into his season after recognizing that chasing personal goals often comes at the expense of both the individual and the team.
"If you want to get 15 sacks and you're out there doing your own things to get sacks, more than likely you're going to hurt the team and not get a sack rather than you just doing your job and you falling into one," Bosa said. "I've come to realize when I'm really out there trying to make a play like that, I do something wrong and they'll break a run or whatever. But if I I stay within myself and the defense Authentic Eli Manning Jersey , it usually works out pretty well."
Bosa's zen mentality carries over to his offseason workouts. He stresses developing his overall athleticism rather than addressing any particular football technique. That regiment makes the first week of training camp something of a transition period, with Bosa joking he is focused on "lining up right."
Still, Hayward sees how Bosa approaches the game spilling over to the rest of the team. If Bosa can improve on his momentous initial returns, that bodes well for the Chargers as a whole.
"That's definitely contagious. You see that, you want to work just as hard as he does," Hayward said.
NOTES: Rookie tight end Austin Roberts tore his ACL on Saturday, Lynn said. . The Chargers will practice in full pads for the first time Monday.
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