Gap year still an issue for Titans WR Dorial Green-Beckham

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Dorial Green-Beckham was slow to catch on to a lot as a rookie wide receiver for the Tennessee Titans in 2015.

Much of it was attributed to what amounted to a gap year in his football career. After he was thrown out of Missouri, he went to Oklahoma and practiced with the Sooners but didn’t play in games in 2014.

I’ve been wary of expecting too much of a second-year jump from Green-Beckham, who’s been passed on the split ends depth chart for now by fifth-round rookie Tajae Sharpe.

New receivers coach Bob Bratkowski said the time off for Green-Beckham is still a factor in his game.

“It’s still there, it’s going to be there,” Bratkowski said. “You can’t ever replace the experienced missed. Is it going to get better? Yes. But that gap, that missing time of the experience missed, is always going to be a part of it.

“Maybe three years from now, it’ll be a moot point. I still think right now in just playing the game, there are things that he missed. If you take Jerry Rice or any top receiver or actually any player, and they had that kind of a gap, it has an effect on them. It takes time.”

Green-Beckham was picked by former general manager Ruston Webster for the offense being run by Ken Whisenhunt. He came in as a very athletically gifted player who was unpolished and needed time to develop.

The new regime certainly will be patient in certain circumstances. But general manager Jon Robinson said before his first draft he was not particularly interested in projects.

If the gap for Green-Beckham is going to be a factor for as long as Bratkowski suspects, he’ll remain a project. And the wait could prove too long.

Bratkowski said things are trending in a positive direction, and that in mid-August he will be able to better assess where the receiver stands heading into Year 2.

“The last four or five practices, I’ve seen a certain consistency develop that we’ve been looking for,” he said. “Let’s see how we get through this and then let’s see how we get midway through training camp. Then we’ll see, are those frustrating things diminishing, where you can accept them? Or are they staying at a level where they maybe are unacceptable?

“I think that’s a time issue. Let’s get through a certain amount of time.”