NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Robert Woods’ first instruction from his new bosses was not to put a timetable on his return from the torn ACL he suffered in his left knee on Nov. 12 in a practice with the Rams.

The Titans could be waiting on him in training camp or even at the start of the regular season, and even if he’s playing they may not get the receiver they traded for until later on.Robert Woods

We saw Taylor Lewan, who suffered the injury in October, and Bud Dupree, whose came in early December, take some time to get back to themselves.

But once Woods is recovered and able, he intends to put a premium on practice.

That’s something the player he’s replacing was unable or unwilling to do in 2021.

The Titans traded for Julio Jones last summer fully aware of the aging receivers increasing injury troubles.

Jones battled a hamstring problem from early in camp and it limited him to 10 games. Several other times he missed series or couldn’t finish games because of it and I’ve heard he took himself out and put himself back into games in unpredictable ways.

Well after the trade, one report said an interested suitor backed off when it was made clear Jones wouldn’t be a regular practice participant the same way he was not in his final years with the Falcons.

Woods had dealt with other injuries in his career, but before the ACL tear, he played in 56 of 57 games in a row.

“I feel youthful, physically,” he said Wednesday. “I feel healthy, not having many injuries in the NFL. I train hard, I come in ready, stay in shape. I take pride in my work. I am at my midpoint in my career, and I am just trying to keep this thing going. I feel like I am just getting started. I feel like I am in my prime, in the best shape of my life.

Picking up on that, I asked him about the importance of regular practice once he’s healthy.

“It’s all about practice, it’s all about timing, you’ve got to be out there on the practice field, you’ve got to be out there getting reps, mental reps, physical reps,” he said. “Throughout practice, you’re not only out there running routes when the defense is on the field. You’re right next to your quarterback taking the mental reps, telling him, “This is how I would do it, did you see that play, I would have did this, I would have done that.’

“If we’re not in and the twos are going, whatever it is, we are always taking reps. And I think creating that relationship with Tannehill is very important, building that bond, being an open target. He has to be able to trust me and I have to be able to trust him and give that trust to him.”

Woods turns 30 on April 10 and said he believes he can be an ingredient that helps get the Titans over the hump.

Kuharsky megaphoneHe’s will be more outspoken than Jones was, at least in front of cameras and microphones, and it takes some consistent production and availability to really offer the sort of leadership the Titans needs from a weapon beyond A.J. Brown.

Jones’ hamstring issues prevented him from offering that.

The hope is Woods will be able to bring it.

“I am not trying to be anything that I wasn't before,” he said. “I am coming here to be myself, Robert Woods, a great teammate, a great receiver. I take pride in my work at practice, every single rep. In the weight room as well. Showing up to the meetings rooms, holding guys accountable is important.”

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