The NFL’s dead period is upon us and for Tennessee Titans’ rookie Treylon Burks, it should serve as a much-needed break from the unrelenting pressure that has come with being a first-round draft pick.
It has been a tough couple of months for Burks, since he was selected by the Titans with the 18th overall pick in late April’s 2022 NFL Draft. Concerns surrounding his conditioning level and work ethic were constantly discussed throughout rookie minicamp after Burks was seen leaving practice early and struggling through individual drills.
It wasn’t until Titans’ WR coach Rob Moore finally revealed that Burks was struggling with asthma that Titans fans and media would give the rookie some room to breathe — pun intended.
Treylon Burks didn’t make it through the first WR drill. Was hunched over early. Went into new building with trainer. Was using an inhaler. Came back out, did a couple reps, later went in. #Titans. pic.twitter.com/mXSWMZnARR— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) May 13, 2022
A to Z Sports Nashville’s Titans reporter Sam Phalen joined the Titan Up Podcast to remind everybody that, while it’s alright to have concerns, it isn’t time to panic.
“I don’t think it’s time to panic, but I think it’s time to worry,” said Phalen. “I think anybody who is telling you not to worry about Treylon Burks is being a little bit naïve when it comes to the situation.”
It would be one thing if he was drafted to play alongside A.J. Brown and Robert Woods, but after Brown was dealt to the Eagles on draft night, Burks’ pressure to perform grew exponentially. Now, the Titans are relying on Burks to be a primary focus in the passing game, rather than beginning the season as the team’s No. 3 receiver.
“I think if we get to training camp and these issues are continuing, then it’s time to press the panic button,” Phalen reiterated. “But I do think worry is normal in this situation.”
As far as how the Titans will manage Burks’ asthma condition, Phalen wonders if that is something that can be kept in check once the regular season gets underway.
#Titans coach Mike Vrabel says DL Jeffery Simmons and WR Treylon Burks were unavailable today at the first day of the mandatory minicamp.— Teresa Walker (@TeresaMWalker) June 14, 2022
“Asthma is not really something that goes away. I’m not really sure how they train him out of that, how they get him back for full practices every day, and (how) they get him ready for an entire 17-game NFL slate.”
If you listen to the Titan Up Podcast, you have heard me say the same thing over and over again regarding Burks this offseason. It is still very early and there is plenty of time for the team to learn how to manage this issue.
Former Titans linebacker Daren Bates joined the Titan Up Podcast earlier in the offseason to give his perspective on the Titans’ dilemma.
With that being said, if this is something that continues to keep Burks off of the practice field in training camp, then my hand will start move closer to the panic button.
“I would hold off on the panic button,” stated Phalen. “But if these next 5-6 weeks go by and he’s not back to what you thought you might be seeing from him at the start of training camp, then panic would be warranted there.”
As with any rookie, time will always tell. But time is not a luxury that Burks has in this particular situation. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill needs all of the live reps that he can get with his new cast of pass catchers. In order for the team to open the season on a good note, Burks and Tannehill desperately need to develop a rapport once training camp kicks off on July 26th.
Featured image via George Walker IV / Tennessean.com / USA TODAY NETWORK