“Once we got here, we became brothers. This is a family here.” These are the words of rookie offensive lineman Nico Falah, talking about his relationship with rookie defensive lineman Matt Dickerson. The two played opposite each other in college at USC and UCLA, but the past is the past and the two are excited about their time in Nashville. The “family” feeling is one that is not just shared between these two, but one that can be felt throughout the team. This group of guys has seemed to gel nicely so far, and a number of players have echoed Falah’s feeling of a family atmosphere. That being said, there’s still a strong sense of competitiveness, and that showed at today’s minicamp.
Most of the practice was spent running 11 vs 11, unscripted play. With the offense on the tail end of the instillation period, it’s no surprise that the defense won the day. Having said that, there were still a lot of bright spots from an offensive standpoint on the day. With Rishard Matthews still out and Corey Davis limited again, the opportunity for some younger guys to stand out was there. Devin Ross was one rookie that looked great today, with his highlight play being a great deep catch up the middle.
Jack Conklin was out and about on the practice field today. Of course he was not participating, but was able to spend time with his teammates as well as soak everything in that he could from his new offensive line coach, Keith Carter.
Quarterbacks were constantly under heavy pressure from the defense which gave Marcus Mariota a chance to show off the wheels which Titans fans love. Luke Falk also stepped up and ran down the sideline for a nice gain.
Drops were common throughout the say from an array of wide receivers including notable drops from Darius Jennings, and Jonnu Smith, and Deontay Burnett.
Deontay Burnett made up for his few early drops though by making back to back catches right up the middle from Blaine Gabbert during the two-minute drill. Gabbert showed off his arm strength today with some lasers up the middle, and he unleashed a few beautiful deep balls.
Derrick Henry was about a step away from ripping off a sixty yard touchdown, but was downed after picking up about twenty. Once he made that turn downhill, he was flying, and I would hate to be the guy tasked with tackling that freight train.
The defense impressed all day long and it started with what has become a team favorite open-field tackling drill that coach Vrabel says still doesn’t have a name. A couple standouts from that drill include Malcolm Butler not being fooled by some nifty moves from Tajae Sharpe and undrafted rookie free agent Robert Spillane who has really taken a liking to that unnamed drill in particular.
After individual drills, the rest of practice was just playing football with nothing special added. The defense won most series which coach Vrabel said is to be expected at this point as the offense is still working on the installation.
The defense excelled in pass rush today really applying the pressure to all three quarterbacks and picking up a handful of sacks along the way. When the defense wasn’t picking up sacks, they were still able to rush the passers all day long. Jayon Brown was the most excited about the defense’s success and his excitement was contagious to the rest of the group.
The secondary also played well with Adoree Jackson leading the way and really showing that he is a corner that can be left on an island and excel against any type of receiver. Leshaun Sims nearly had a pick-6, but the play was called back for a penalty. Throughout the day, the defensive backs were flying around the field making plays.
A surprise no show to minicamp today was Ryan Succop who joins other notable absentees Taylor Lewan, Phillip Supernaw and Michael Campanaro.