Derrick Morgan has been told he is still the starter at left defensive end for the Tennessee Titans, and the club is expecting big things from the 2010 first-round choice.
But for the past two days in training camp, Morgan has been running mostly with the second team, as former practice squad player Pannel Egboh has gone with the first unit.
“I know they're trying to get Egboh some looks, but (defensive coordinator Jerry) Gray told me I'm the starter, so that's all I know. That's all I can control,” Morgan said
According to Titans coach Mike Munchak, the team just wants to get a look at Egboh in certain situations and packages, because they want to see if he can help them as a pass rusher both on the edge and inside.
“We're going to roll guys (through) a lot and see how they respond when they're with the first group, the d-line especially and the linebackers,”
Munchak said. “We're doing it in all spots, and we want to see how they respond when they get the opportunity to work with different players. We'll be doing that at times, and especially in packages.
"You'll want to see how a guy does, especially a guy like Egboh, who can pass rush well. We had him at the open side end yesterday, and he did a pretty good job. We put him at the three technique inside. He's a guy if you're not starting, you have to find ways to make yourself valuable.”
Still, the though of playing with the starters has Egboh excited. He is a former undrafted free agent from Stanford, who is in his fourth NFL camp and has only practice squad time in Tennessee, Houston and Philadelphia to show for it thus far.
“I'm pretty excited. It's definitely surreal. It's an honor, but I've got to stay focused. I can't get too excited because it's still early in camp,” Egboh said. 'Anything can happen, but I'm just trying my best to stay out there and stay with the ones. It's definitely got me a little excited, but at the same time, at the end of the day, I have to perform. If I'm in there with the ones, I have to perform like I'm a one.
“It's been a long road, and it's all finally coming together. It's a good feeling for sure. I've been working hard for years. I haven't given up. I've just been trying my hardest to improve and finally that improvement is showing.”
As for Morgan, the Titans need to see him blossom after he lost most of his rookie year due to a knee injury. He returned last year, but had just 2.5 sacks for the season.
“The goal of a defensive end is always to get double-digit sacks, and God willing, I'll get to that. That's what I'm working for,” Morgan said. “I feel I've been doing good, just seeing my improvement in the pass rush. You've always got things you can work on and get better at. I've had a pretty decent start, but I've just got to keep getting better on little coaching points and working at it.”