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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – After the Titans practiced in pads Tuesday and Mike Mularkey got his first look in a long time at receivers Corey Davis and Eric Decker, the Titans coach said he wouldn’t yet rule them out for Thursday night 

in Kansas City.

But if they don’t play Davis (hamstring) and Decker (ankle) will have a very good chance of being 100 percent when the Titans kick off the regular season at Nissan Stadium against the Raiders on Sept. 10.

Decker is in his eighth season and there is no reason to worry about his readiness.

 

Davis got hurt in the Titans’ fourth practice of training camp and the missed time for the No. 5 pick in the draft was a giant deal. The team worked hard to keep him involved and upbeat, but there is no replacement for all those practices and preseason game experience for a rookie.

He wasn’t in the locker room Tuesday to discuss how things went and what he’s anticipating. But Mularkey has said a four-practice week next week should put Davis in good shape for the Oakland game but not ready for a full load.

“I think we would watch him,” Mularkey said. “I don’t think you’d see him play an entire game. Again, he’ll have this week to get ready mentally and physically, hopefully get more reps every day. But then next week, we get an extra Monday practice which helps. He’ll get four good days of practice next week, I’m almost sure of that.”

Offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie regularly checking in with Davis during his missed time.

“You just keep whispering in his ear, ‘Patience,’” Robiskie said before Davis returned to action. “It’s a long year. It’s not college, it’s not 11 games and go to a bowl game. When he gets to 11, we’ve usually got eight or nine more. Just patience.

“I know he’s nervous, I know he’s excited, I know he’s anxious. He wants to be in there, he wants to go. But at the end of the day, be patient.”

Quarterback Marcus Mariota also had regular chats with Davis. The two have not worked together that much at all.

Mariota was limited to mostly seven-on-seven work through the offseason, and Davis wasn’t cleared during some of that as he completed a comeback from ankle surgery after his final college season. When Mariota and his targets gathered, before camp Davis was at a wedding. And then Davis missed the first day of camp while his contract was ironed out and was on the field for only three padded practices.

“It's more just getting to see if he understands everything, making sure he's in the game plans, he's engaged, which he has been,” Mariota said of his interaction with Davis. “I think for him it's just going to be coming out here, getting healthy, getting ready to go. I think he'll hit the ground ready.

“I think having conversations as you go through the film, maybe there was a certain route adjustment that you wanted to see, certain things like that (you discuss) just so he understands what we're seeing as quarterbacks. I think we've been able to do that, I think it's been an open line of communication. I think he's done a great job of being engaged, being part of the team. Once he gets going again, I think he'll be ready to go.”

If the rest of the group is healthy, I would expect Davis to be a changeup against the Raiders with Rishard Matthews and Decker starting and Taywan Taylor working at the head of the line as the third receiver.

Early hamstring injuries and missed time for rookie receivers often slow development. I m not sure what a reasonable expectation is for him now for his first season. If everyone else plays to his potential, it'll make it a lot easier for Davis not to be pressed to make an impact.

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