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Titans' Mike Vrabel 'encouraged' by rookie WR Treylon Burks' play despite lone preseason catch

The Tennessee Titans have given first-round rookie receiver Treylon Burks a ton of preseason snaps through two weeks, but the wideout has seen only four targets, catching one pass for four yards.

Following Saturday's preseason win over Tampa Bay, head coach Mike Vrabel noted that Burks' lack of targets isn't indicative of how the rookie is progressing.

"The thing that I'm always trying to say in regard to receivers is they can't control when they get the ball," Vrabel said, via Ben Arthur of The Tennessean. "All they can control is that they get open and that we can review the film and say, 'Hey, this is where we'd like the ball to go.' I don't want to tell quarterbacks, 'Hey, throw it to this guy.' That's not the direction we really want to head."

The Titans starting rookie Malik Willis and handing off to little-used veteran Logan Woodside certainly plays a role in how other players are evaluated. Burks has gotten open, but the targets haven't been there due to pressure or the young QB not pulling the trigger.

Burks took 35 snaps in Saturday's preseason action, playing well into the fourth quarter.

"But I was really encouraged by some of the things, especially without the football trying to block," Vrabel said of Burks. "There were times that he was open, whether that be for a catch and run, and there were some other times that we'd like to see a better route. Just continue to progress and work on the conditioning in the game and all the things that are required of receivers."

Given Burks was selected with the draft pick traded for A.J. Brown, the spotlight was already on the rookie wideout. Then offseason struggles with asthma and conditioning put him behind. The lack of targets his way during preseason action hasn't helped get a grasp of the type of role the rookie could play once Ryan Tannehill is back under center.

Vrable's comments are a positive sign, and Burks wouldn't be the first rookie to struggle out of the gate before hitting his stride early in the season. But at this point, it's anyone's guess how much the rookie will contribute to open the Titans' AFC South title defense.

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