Smash, Dash and a nickname to be named later.
Titans running backs LenDale White and Chris Johnson are both impressed with what they’ve seen from fifth-round pick Javon Ringer thus far in preseason, but that said, they aren’t ready to bestow him with a nickname just yet.
White and Johnson have both given themselves multiple monikers since Smash and Dash, but Ringer said he is fine without one for now.
“I’m just Javon Ringer. I don’t really have a nickname like they do. Maybe later on, I might develop one, but I’m just plain old Javon,” he said.
White, who seems to be the creator of most of the nicknames, said Ringer will have to bide his time and wait till the regular season.
“You don’t have a nickname until you make the team and you put in work for us. I like Javon Ringer, but you’ve got to play in an actual game and get some carries before you get a nickname,” White said.
White and Johnson both like what Ringer has done thus far, with his 98 yards on 16 carries, while the both of them have started slowly out of the gate in preseason.
“I know Javon is definitely doing his job. He is doing an unbelievable job of showing why they drafted him,” White said. “I’m excited to see him. He definitely gives us another different type of running back. He’s not like myself or C.J. He brings his own style.”
Johnson said Ringer is bringing added competition to practice and the games.
“It’s always good to have another playmaker on this offense. We compete every day in practice – me, LenDale, Javon, all the other running backs,” Johnson said. “In camp, you’re battling for something. You’re battling for a starter, or a backup or even to make the team. You’re battling for something. We want to be competing to make each other better.”
Ringer, who may be pushing Johnson and White for carries said the other two backs have taught him plenty in a short time.
“I think I continue to help them to get better, and definitely throughout my time here, those two have been helping me get better, helping me learn the offense,” he said. “Every time I ask a question, they’re always quick to answer it, and they’re always helping me with different blocks or different reads.”
As for the running game being off to a slow start as a whole, White says not to worry, despite the team’s 2.8 yards per carry average through three games.
“It’s one way to the people on the outside looking in, but me and C.J. we have enough confidence in our offensive line that when we crank this thing up and get the opportunity to run the ball, we’re going to be OK,” White said.
Ringer says the reason for the disparity in preseason success is that Johnson and White haven’t been given as much chance to get in a rhythm as the Titans try to make sure that he, Chris Henry and some of the other backs get carries.
“They don’t really get as much work as I do in preseason games. It’s kind of hard for them to get in a rhythm with Chris getting only two or three carries and LenDale getting in every now and then,” Ringer said.
A number of Titans players who have missed time with injuries were back at least in limited capacity during Sunday’s practice, including linebacker Stephen Tulloch and safety Nick Schommer.
Tulloch did individual work only as he makes his way back from knee tendonitis, while Schommer returned after missing time with a hamstring injury.
Also, nickelback Vincent Fuller, who began individual work after coming back from a groin injury last week, increased his workload to include some team drills as well.
Receiver Mark Jones fielded punts, but did little else as he makes his way back from a hamstring problem
Titans players who missed Sunday’s work included linebacker Josh Stamer (groin), defensive tackle Jason Jones (foot), defensive end William Hayes (knee), receiver Chris Davis (hamstring), cornerback Nick Harper (rest), cornerback Ryan Mouton (ankle) and center Doug Datish (soreness).
Keeping up with the Joneses
Regarding Mark Jones’ potential to play this week against the Browns after missing three weeks with a hamstring injury, Titans coach Jeff Fisher said, “He’s got to get healthy and get on the field. We’ve seen what he can do in the past, and that’s what we’d like to see first.”
The Titans signed Jones to be their primary return man, but his injury has thrown open the competition and forced the team to look deeper into the roster for punt and kickoff return options, such as rookies Ringer, Jason McCourty, Tuff Harris and Rafael Little.
As for defensive tackle Jason Jones, he might try to do some work on the side as early as Monday, and said for certain he hopes to play in the preseason finale against Green Bay.
He indicated the bone bruise in his right foot is healing, and he is out of the walking boot.
“Everything is healing up the right way. They’re just taking it easy on me,” he said.
Punter Craig Hentrich revealed his conversation with Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones that FOX cameras caught on tape prior to the game when a Hentrich punt hit the scoreboard above the field. A.J. Trapasso later hit the scoreboard in the game.
“He informed me that I got to rekick it if I hit the scoreboard in the game,” Hentrich said. “And I told him, ‘If I hit the scoreboard in the game, I don’t want to rekick it, because you’re basically penalizing a good punt.’ He just kind of laughed at me and walked away.
“It’s a serious problem, especially when you get the bombers in there. I’m an old worn out punter. I can’t kick it as high as I used to.”