NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Rookie runner David Cobb’s play in the Titans' preseason opener will earn him chances with the first team, and the Titans aren’t married to the idea of a running back by committee, coach Ken Whisenhunt said Saturday.
“That’s really up to them,” Whisenhunt said at his news conference the day after a 31-24 preseason loss in Atlanta. “I don’t think we were necessarily a running back committee in the third quarter last night [with Cobb carrying the load]. That was a lot of what you would hope to envision we could run the ball like.
“I think that’s part of what the preseason is about. We can find out if we can have that guy, not to be cliché, that’s the bell cow. I mean there will always be roles that are specific to certain players that do a nice job with that. If you think a back can stay in there for a 15-play drive, he can’t do it. He just can’t -- it’s too physically demanding on him.
“So you’re going to have to have a third-down back, you’re going to have to have situations where we put Dexter [McCluster] in there like we did last night.”
I certainly am not expecting 15 plays in a row for a lead back. But I think a third-down back and a situational guy like McCluster lead the Titans down a path where, even if a “bell cow” emerges, his share of the carries wouldn’t be as big as we may still envision from a lead back.
In Atlanta, Bishop Sankey was at the head of the line and didn’t do much. At times he was the victim of some blocking errors, Whisenhunt said. Sankey finished with 15 yards on eight carries. He simply doesn't look at all electric, which is a quality you want in the sort of back he's supposed to be.
Cobb got the bulk of the work later, and turned 11 carries into 53 yards, looking much more decisive and authoritative running behind the second line and against second-teamers.
Antonio Andrews had four carries for 13 yards and a touchdown as well as a 2-point conversion.
A fifth-round draft pick out of a power offense at Minnesota, Cobb will get snaps with the first team at some point in the remaining three games of the preseason.
“Based on what you saw Friday night, I certainly think Cobb deserves that, we’ll work him in,” Whisenhunt said “The young man had to get in shape first. That’s been a process just because of the [offseason] quad injury.
“But he did a really nice job and we’ll move him up in the rotation as the weeks progress.”