IMG 3202NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Kenny Vaccaro watched practice, did some sprints and talked to reporters.

Then as his new teammates got ready for a day off, he got ready to head to the facility and get into the playbook.

Mike Vrabel said we can expect to see the team’s new safety, the replacement for the injured Johnathan Cyprien, get some action on Thursday night in Green Bay against the Packers.

He has multiple connections to the team.

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He’s draft-class friends with Cyprien, who showed him around when he arrived. He roomed with Logan Ryan at the combine. He shares an agent with Byard. He’s part of a Texas alum group that often gathers in Austin, Texas, of which Michael Griffin (now a DB coaching intern). He calls Griffin “my big brother.

Vrabel said he knows he will see stuff written about Kevin Byard and Vaccaro finding a chemistry, but the coach said Vaccaro needs to win over the whole defensive back room and he expects he will. Pros put their egos aside and earn a spot by doing whatever they can, Vrabel said.

“He had a great workout, that was an impressive safety workout that we had with those guys who were able to come in,” Vrabel said. “So what we expect is that he’s a pro and he comes in and learns what to do quickly. We will work him in there and see where he can help us. He’s played in this league before, he’d made plays in the National Football League and seems like he’s already started off with a great attitude.”

Vrabel said there were times last year that Vaccaro didn’t look like himself from earlier in his career but he did well with everything he was asked to do in the workout.

apple icon 144x144 precomposedVaccaro said waiting for a team to call was hard because he’s competitive and likes the grind of the offseason and camp.

The catching up isn’t just about the football, it’s about the people and he knows it’s a tight-knit group.

“It’s hard coming out here, these guys have all grinded together, they know each other’s names, they know each other’s families, wives, children,” he said. “Really not knowing anything about anybody, I’ve got to catch up quick and earn my respect.”

Demontre Hurst was among the Titans out on Saturday, so rookie Dane Cruikshank got a lot of snaps with the first team defense. Vrabel indicated Thursday that Cruikshank needs a lot more time to really be ready for the demands of the position.

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