The Tennessee Titans will field an exciting group of pass catchers this season. The acquisition of Julio Jones sent shockwaves around the league. Other newcomers include Josh Reynolds and a pair of rookie receivers in Dez Fitzpatrick and Racey McMath, who have both flashed intriguing skill sets during the first few training camp practices. While the top of the depth chart is easy to figure out, there are plenty of names battling for a chance to round out the position. The Titans currently have 12 wideouts on the roster. One of those players that’s a familiar face is Cameron Batson, a former undrafted free agent that’s entering his fourth season with the Titans.
Batson was a surprise inclusion on the final roster in 2018, and earned playing time as a rookie. His sophomore campaign ended before it started due to an unfortunate season ending shoulder injury suffered in training camp. Batson fought back to get healthy in 2020, and continued to prove that counting him out is a mistake. Batson made the team once again and was active for 12 games last season. He caught 12 balls for a total of 100 yards while also playing a prominent role on special teams.
With training camp now underway, Batson is eager to reiterate his worth to the coaching staff over the next few weeks. In addition to his role as a receiver, Batson is currently engaged in a fierce battle at the punt returner position with a couple of other competitive players on the roster.
Batson recently spoke exclusively with Broadway Sports about his 2020 campaign, working with wide receivers coach Rob Moore, how the receiver position is stacking up for the Titans through his eyes, new offensive coordinator Todd Downing and more. Enjoy.
JM: Which area of your game do you think grew the most over the course of last season?
CB: I feel like I really developed my conceptual understanding of what we were trying to achieve as an offense. I understood the little things at a higher level. Okay, I can take a bit more time with this route. On this route, I have to get open immediately. I would point to those little things. I understood the different reads within our offense. I had an excellent grasp on the playbook. It allowed me to play fast. I was comfortable out there. The game slowed down for me. I didn’t get to play my sophomore season due to an injury. I hadn’t played football in a year. Being able to go out there and make plays, I got back to doing what I do. It was wonderful and refreshing. It’s a blessing.
JM: The last time we spoke, you were just getting back into the swing of things. You must feel pretty good about how you bounced back and contributed in 2020.
CB: I have to thank everybody who helped me get back to full strength. They’re the ones who helped me get back on the field. I’m just looking forward to hopefully expanding my role this season. I’m going to do what I can to earn a starting job on this team. We’re gonna make some things happen this year.
JM: You’ve been working with coach Rob Moore for a few years now. How do you like working with coach Moore?
CB: I love coach Moore. He’s not a rah-rah guy. He keeps a neutral tone and he’s even-keeled. He doesn’t get too high or low. He’s always willing to help you. He’s a personable coach. His door is always open. I love speaking about life in general with him. He always has great advice to offer. He’s full of life lessons. When it comes to the game, he was a former first round pick in the supplemental draft. Coach Moore was a baller, man (laughs). He played the game at a high level. I look forward to learning some more from him this year.
JM: That’s great stuff. The Titans have gone through a lot of changes at the receiver position over the past few months. Corey Davis, Kalif Raymond and Adam Humphries are gone. Julio Jones and Josh Reynolds are just two of the new faces. You’re one of the veteran guys on the team now being that this will be your fourth year with the Titans. What do you make of this new look receiver room?
CB: Obviously adding somebody like Julio is huge. He’s going to be a major asset for us. I’m learning so much from him. In my opinion, he’s one of the top five receivers to ever play this game. It’s very awesome to have him here. I’m looking forward to learning a lot from him this season.
As far as everything else goes, I’m looking forward to helping bring the younger guys along. I was in their shoes a few years ago. Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews and Delanie Walker took me under their wing when I needed that guidance. They showed me the ropes and helped me understand what it meant to play in the NFL. They showed me how to be a professional. I’m willing to share that wisdom with the younger guys now.
JM: It’s funny you say that. I was about to ask you, you’re entering Year 4 and you survived being an undrafted free agent in this league. Getting more specific, what are some of the lessons you’re aiming to teach the younger guys?
CB: The most important thing you can do is to take care of your body. Your availability is your best ability. That’s something that we have written down in our team training room. You have to take care of your body. That’s the most important thing. If you’re not healthy enough to be on the field, this is a “next man up” type of league. I always like to say that, availability is your best ability. I live by it. That’s what I’m trying to teach these young players. You also have to be a professional at all times. You’re not in college anymore. You always have a set of eyes on you. As an NFL player, you have people watching you every single day. You’ve always being evaluated. Every day is a grind. You have to understand that there aren’t any days off in this league.
JM: Those are some terrific lessons. You have a chance to win the job as the team’s punt returner, in addition to your role as a receiver. You’ve been auditioning for that role. Tell me a little about that and what you enjoy about returning punts.
CB: I love returning punts. Playing on special teams gives you a chance to swing the momentum of a game. It can happen on any given play. I feel like I’m an electric player with the ball in my hands. I can make things happen and make a big play in the third phase of the game for us. If things are going wrong, a big punt return can jumpstart the team and the offense. Special teams coach Craig Aukerman does a great job, and he has terrific help from his assistant Matt Edwards. They know how to put the right team out there. They want their playmakers to be just that, to go out there and make plays. I’m excited for the opportunity. I’m ready to go out there and win the [punt returner] job.
JM: We’re looking forward to monitoring your progress on special teams. Earlier, you talked about being comfortable in the offense last season. You have a new offensive coordinator now in Todd Downing. What’s your early impression of coach Downing?
CB: I don’t think we’re going to miss a beat offensively. Coach Downing has been with us for a few years as the tight ends coach. Everybody knows him and it’s great to be able to work with him. We’re learning how he views things. Every coach is a little bit different. That’s generally speaking. Every offensive coordinator has their own way of putting things out there, putting plays together and attacking a defense. I’m still trying to learn from coach Downing. His concepts of how he wants us to attack could be a little different. You’ll just have to wait and see. Getting to know him throughout this offseason has been great. I’m looking forward to having a great season with him.
JM: We love that. I’ve really appreciated your time today, Cam. In closing, what do your goals look like for these next few weeks?
CB: I’m looking to stay healthy and make plays. I’ve put in a lot of hard work preparing for this season. God will continue to open doors and create opportunities for me to go out there and showcase the talent and abilities he’s blessed me with.