On his sixth and final rushing attempt of the Titans’ exhibition loss at New Orleans on Friday, a handoff bounced off of rookie tailback Bishop Sankey and fell to the ground, where it was recovered by the defense.
The fumble was an unfortunate bookend to an otherwise promising night for Sankey, the Titans’ second-round pick from Washington. On his previous three carries, he had rushed for 13, 7 and 11 yards, respectively. On the final of those rushes, the 5-foot-10, 209-pound tailback finished with NFL-caliber power, lowering his shoulder and driving forward for extra yardage.
It’s clear Sankey has the run skills to play early and perhaps often for Tennessee, especially with veteran Shonn Greene again dealing with knee issues. But as Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt noted Sunday, the first-year tailback has some things to tighten up in his game.
“I’m impressed with a lot of the things about Bishop, but he’s a rookie, and a lot of things that are causing these problems are things that he needs time with and he’s got to get better at — whether it’s footwork, whether it’s how he’s taking the balls on handoffs, understanding the protections,” Whisenhunt said, according to John Glennon of the Nashville Tennessean.
According to Glennon, Sankey has to run laps around the club’s practice field after he fumbles, and that’s an occurrence that “has become too common for the team’s liking,” the Tennessean reporter noted.
With two preseason games and 20 days until the Titans’ regular season opener, Sankey has time to prove he’s ready for the big role that’s ready for the taking in the Tennessee backfield. Now, it’s on him to earn it. The good news? The talent is there.