It was a scorcher today as the Titans returned to St. Thomas Sports Park, fresh off a weekend of Friday Night Lights at Centennial High School and a Saturday afternoon practice at Nissan Stadium. Playing at Nissan Stadium might have gotten some players thinking about Thursday’s preseason opener a bit prematurely, as a sloppy beginning to practice forced Coach Vrabel to circle the team up and get them refocused. After that short intervention, the play picked up, and it was back to business as usual.
The new signing Kenny Vaccaro got a lot of work in with the 1’s and 2’s today, and he looked fast and physical. After practice, he was asked about his high level of intensity, and said he knew Johnathan Cyprien had an enforcer-esque role, and he wanted to carry that on. Vaccaro was able to make a couple plays, getting in the backfield to blow up a run play, and he nearly picked off Marcus Mariota in the back of the endzone.
That near interception wasn’t the only bad throw from Marcus, who had a bit of a shaky day. He was just a half-second late on a number of throws, and that led to at least one interception. Consistently, we saw Mariota throwing behind wide receivers including missing targets Taywan Taylor and Dion Lewis. The 8 to 82 combo wasn’t even connecting like we are used to. Mariota missed Walker a couple of of passes and on one pass where he was on target, the ball trickled through the hands of the tight end and was intercepted by Logan Ryan. Following some of his struggles, we even saw some rare negative emotion from the QB1. This was the first practice we saw Mariota without a sweatshirt on under his pads, so the optimist can chalk the rough day up to the outfit change.
As the quarterbacks continue to work on timing and release, we should see fewer of those plays. It wasn’t all bad for Mariota, as he linked up with Tajae Sharpe on a perfect 50 yard dime, putting it right in Sharpe’s numbers. Mariota also found Taywan Taylor for a great catch with Kalan Reed covering, and Mariota’s other highlight was a crisp throw to Jonnu Smith on an out route to the sideline.
Blaine Gabbert tossed a few TDs today, one being a fade to Tim Semsich in goal-line situational drills, and another one finding Deontay Burnett in that same drill.
Derrick Henry had multiple good runs, and we saw early that he was ready to get at it. After messing up in an early individual drill, he went faster than anyone by far on the very next turn, showing how much he really wants to work. That transitioned over to team drills, as he was hitting holes hard and often, and I don’t know many people that would want to step in front of him once he starts heading downfield.
Ethan Wolf got the crowd going with a big pancake block that earned him a few more reps with the second team. That seems to be the sentiment of the rest of the team… everybody is ready to hit someone wearing a different jersey.
On the offensive line, Kevin Pamphile missed his second straight practice after splitting time with Quintin Spain during the practice on Friday night. Another noticeable absence was Sharif Finch who missed his second consecutive practice as well. Corey Davis did not participate either after leaving practice early on Saturday which might concern some Titans fans. Also, Nate Palmer had to exit practice early as he left the field with trainers. We will have you covered on more training camp practices as well as injury news right here tomorrow, before the Titans head up to Lambeau Field, where they’ll take on the Packers Thursdays night.