Ranting about Tennessee Titans' Treylon Burks — and the misinformed takes I'm seeing | Estes
As someone who covers an NFL team, I try to not push back on every questionable take that goes viral in August.
That happens in training camps. By their nature, they are a breeding ground for rash judgments, as misguided as opinions might be on a such limited sample size. Criticism will always get the most attention. That’s our nature.
No sense screaming level-headedness into a howling wind when no one wants to listen.
But dang it, sometimes I just can’t help myself.
Here I was thinking Tennessee Titans rookie receiver Treylon Burks has had a pretty solid camp to this point. He has stayed on the field, for one. Looks like he’s in shape, which was a legit concern about him earlier this summer.
When I watch Burks now, he flashes with potential. He has size and speed and all the physical tools to be a handful for defenses – if he’s serious about becoming one. That Burks got in shape, to me, was a big deal. Because it suggested he is serious.
In advance of Burks perhaps appearing in the Titans’ first 2022 preseason game (at Baltimore) on Thursday night, I was scanning NFL.com’s latest power rankings (Titans were 16th, by the way) when I learned the following about him:
“Reports out of training camp have not been kind – the Arkansas product has made mental and physical mistakes playing mostly with the second-and-third-team offenses.”
Maybe I’ve just missed these unkind reports. I'd say local reporters who’ve been attending practice have been mostly positive about Burks. I’ve been at most practices, and I’m mostly positive about him.
Now I’m not saying he’s Jerry Rice. He’s not close to A.J. Brown yet. Burks is a rookie. He's learning. I’m sure he has had and will continue to have teachable moments. That's just part of the deal, but I can’t say I’ve been picking up on obvious “mental and physical mistakes” he is making.
He’s also not buried on the Titans’ depth chart. I’ve noticed him working plenty with quarterback Ryan Tannehill.
The Titans did release a depth chart this week with Burks on the second unit. But that’s common for coaching staffs – college and pro – to avoid publicly listing rookies or freshmen as starters so soon, lest anyone think they are being handed something without having to earn it.
But Burks is doing fine, y’all, from everything I can tell.
But, see, that’s a lukewarm take. The kind that doesn’t get noticed and retweeted.
The following take, however, did: “Treylon Burks is lining up wrong and running the wrong routes … (and) seems to be well behind Robert Woods, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and even fellow rookie Kyle Philips.”
That was from a tweet promoting an NBC Sports blurb for fantasy football purposes. Said blurb sourced an observant practice tweet by Mike Herndon – a local media member whose opinions on the Titans I’ve long respected – that had Logan Woodside correcting where Burks lined up on one play and a coach getting on Burks for not running through a route. Standard stuff at practice.
Herndon responded to NBC by clarifying that Burks “lined up wrong once," didn’t run the wrong route and that “he’s largely been good (sometimes very good) in camp.”
That didn’t matter, though.
Neither will it matter that ESPN's Jeremy Fowler, a national reporter who was at the Titans camp recently, wrote that Burks "has looked the part of a top pick so far."
It was the negative take from NBC's site that was shared widely on social media – in many cases by those objecting to it – to a larger audience and to non-local media who were eager to believe the worst and continue to amplify it … when in fact, no one was saying it from the beginning.
It's an example of how easily solid information from practice fields can get exaggerated and twisted into misinformation that makes its way around the rest of the NFL, fiction becoming fact: Burks is struggling, and the sky is falling, and so on.
Has happened before. It'll happen again.
But here's a little advice to reward those who've made it all the way to the end of my rant: If this silliness causes Burks to fall into the bottom half of your fantasy draft, I'd suggest taking advantage.
Reach Tennessean sports columnist Gentry Estes at email@example.com and on Twitter @Gentry_Estes.