Tennessee Titans WR Robert Woods, CB Caleb Farley push each other in ACL recoveries

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Veteran wideout Robert Woods and second-year cornerback Caleb Farley are the Tennessee Titans' version of iron sharpens iron.

Each sustained a torn left ACL last year. Farley's injury happened Oct. 18, and Woods' injury occurred Nov. 13, so their recovery timelines are similar.

Woods and Farley started their offseason recovery process together soon after the Titans sent a 2023 sixth-round pick to the Los Angeles Rams for Woods in March. Their presence on each other's path back to the field has been a mutually beneficial experience.

"We’re both hungry," Farley said. "We got to push each other this offseason, working with each other. It’s kind of been cool to have somebody to go through the fire with."

Added Woods, "The timeline of our injury was kind of around the same point when I came in and rehabbed. So we were kind of always doing the same drills, and then even just challenging each other in the weight room."

Their work together didn't stop there. Woods had his eye on a ramp that connects the first and second level of the parking garage at Saint Thomas Sports Park, where the team is going through training camp.

Todd Toriscelli, the Titans' director of sports medicine, gave Woods the green light to run the hill, presenting another opportunity to compete with Farley. They ran the hill once a week, pushing each other and sharing feedback on what helped or hurt their knees in the process.

At 30 years old, Woods enjoys the opportunity to compete with a young teammate like the 23-year-old Farley. Having Farley around helps keep him young.

"Caleb is a resource for me," Woods said. "He's young, talented, strong, fast, quick. That's somebody I can work with and feed off of him. Being able to run hills, having somebody next to me, being able to compete."

Farley pointed to veteran guidance when asked how Woods has helped him.

"Just to have that guy there helping me through this offseason; talking football has been something huge for me," Farley said. "It's definitely a luxury. Robert Woods is a great teammate. It's been a blessing for me to be around a guy like him to watch and learn from."

Most of the guidance that Farley referred to has come since the two got back on the field for OTAs and minicamp. Both Farley and Woods were limited participants then and practiced with a knee brace, but now they're going against each other in training camp without them.

They're not yet taking part in one-on-one periods that pit receivers running full-speed routes against defensive backs, but they still find ways to get better by getting their own one-on-one work.

Woods works on his releases off the line of scrimmage and at the top of the route while Farley attempts to match his movements.

"There's some things that we're holding them out of," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said. "They've been able to, when we're doing those drills, to go over there and find ways to work for a few minutes with each other, which kind of makes it nice. They're both going through the same process, and they're mirrored positions."

Woods is known for his crisp route running, so it's a great learning experience for Farley. The 6-foot-3 Farley presents a height-and-speed combination that rivals any cornerback Woods will face this season.

So far, they've been matched up a few times during team and 7-on-7 periods. Farley showed sticky coverage on some routes, causing quarterback Ryan Tannehill to choose other options.

However, Woods used his savvy veteran ways to get the best of Farley when he hauled in a deep pass from Tannehill during a recent practice, despite Farley being in position to make a play on the ball.

The Titans are counting on Woods to make those kinds of plays on Sundays as he helps guide a young group of receivers in their quest to develop a potent passing attack without A.J. Brown, who was traded to the Philadelphia Eagles in April. They'll also be relying on Farley to step into a starting role at cornerback and help their pass defense.