After opting out of the 2020 season due to COVID-19 concerns, and with his having back surgery in March, Tennessee Titans 2021 first-round pick and cornerback, Caleb Farley, is still getting back into the swing of things.
Farley made his practice debut when he was activated off the NFI list on Aug. 2, and since then the Titans have slowly ramped-up the rookie.
After sitting out preseason Week 1, Farley finally made his preseason debut on Saturday against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers — and while he didn’t look great on the field, it was a step in the right direction nonetheless.
When asked by The Tennessean’s Gentry Estes whether his struggles were related to learning to play in the NFL or rust, Farley said it was the latter.
“I think it’s rust,” Farley said. “I think it’s just coming back off of my injury and getting my feet back under me. … Just getting back comfortable and trusting my abilities again.”
Farley has shown flashes since being a full-go in practice, with his rep versus Bucs wide receiver Mike Evans being an example of that. But even then, the rookie didn’t appear to have his legs under him all the way, causing him to stumble before he recovered and made a nice play on the ball.
Caleb Farley vs Mike Evans pic.twitter.com/bfmOumCB1b
— TURRON DAVENPORT (@TDavenport_NFL) August 18, 2021
Titans defensive coordinator Shane Bowen is on the same page as Farley. He noted after practice on Monday that it will take time for the 22-year-old to return to form after such a long layoff.
“You can’t just go out there and do it when you haven’t done it for a long time,” Bowen said. “The game don’t work that way. It takes time. It’s a technical game. You don’t get by on just ability.”
Farley remains optimistic, though. After the game on Saturday, he said he believes he’ll be ready when its showtime.
“I’ve got my head down right now and I’m just working through everything I’m going to have to work through,” Farley explained. “I’m still confident I’m going to be where I need to be when it’s time.”
As things stand now, chances are Farley won’t be ready to be the starter when the 2021 campaign begins on Sept. 12 against the Arizona Cardinals. Instead, we expect to see Janoris Jenkins and Kristian Fulton on the outside, with either Elijah Molden or Chris Jackson in the slot.
If Farley can keep developing and shaking off the rust en route to becoming the kind of corner we think he’s capable of being, he could provide a huge boost to the defense at some point, and hopefully sooner rather than later.
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