Sixth round pick Luke Falk was the first on the field today followed by none other than Marcus Mariota, once again without the knee brace. Mariota continued to exhibit progress without the knee brace by showing off his athleticism with multiple laser throws on the run while also continuing his mature pocket presence by standing in and spreading the ball around to a multiplicity of wide receivers. Falk also flashed solid arm strength during routes on air and later during 7 on 7, but still showed discontent after practice by being his own biggest critic. The only negative takeaway from the quarterback position was Blaine Gabbert struggling with the exchange from center to quarterback as he fumbled on two out of three plays during a mid practice period.
The young receivers stood out in particular today, namely Jordan Veasy, Deontay Burnett, and Darius Jennings. Deontay Burnett did a good job creating separation throughout practice, though he did have a few drops. Veasy had a number of good catches, with a great catch on a deep throw from Luke Falk in the 11v11 drills standing out as one of the highlights of the day. Jennings also saw a high volume of targets including one impressive deep ball from Mariota.
Corey Davis has continued to look strong, building off his momentum from the end of last season. His route running looks extremely sharp, and he connected with Mariota a number of times throughout the day.
Seemingly the only receiver not catching balls was Rishard Matthews who is still sidelined for undisclosed reasons. Matthews was present with is teammates though as he stood nearby on the practice field as a spectator. As a result of Matthews lack of participation, the workload for the free agent pick-up from Baltimore Michael Campanaro increased.
Jonnu Smith separated himself with some tough catches that gained some praise from Pro Bowl tight end Delanie Walker following practice.
The Titans have a surplus of speed in the backfield, with Dion Lewis, Akrum Wadley, and Dalvin Dawkins all taking some screen passes and bursting up field in the blink of an eye.
In a pre-practice press conference, defensive coordinator Dean Pees insisted that each player is starting with a clean slate and receiving plenty of reps as a result. This was later echoed by the defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs as he was clear in making sure that each player had gotten their shot during individual drills. Later in his time with the media, Pees was asked about the continuing absence of linebacker Kevin Dodd to which Pees seemed to uncomfortably brush the question to the side and move on to the next one.
The defense as a whole was looking “explosive,” to quote Delanie Walker. Adoreé Jackson and [enter name] combined to force a fumble on Darius Jennings, one of the defensive highlights of the day. As a unit, linebackers and defensive backs were flying around the field, looking fast and showing a lot of energy. After chasing Mariota out of bounds, Jayon Brown even did a little dance for the crowd, capturing the intensity and swagger the defense showed all day long.
Extra Curriculars: The intensity reached a boiling point at one point during the practice, as Coach Vrabel had to step in to break up a scuffle that broke out between two interior linemen. Vrabel followed his own protocol and removed the players from practice immediately.