Coach Vrabel took the team inside the bubble today for practice to help get them out of the sun a little before Tampa Bay comes to town for two joint practices on Wednesday and Thursday and then the preseason game vs. the Buccaneers on Saturday.
The offense got off to a rocky start today with a couple of dropped balls from Delanie Walker and Taywan Taylor. Newcomer in the secondary Steven Terrell was a cause for a little of the offenses trouble by showing impressive ball skills especially while covering tight ends. However, they got it together, and the offense won the day. Mariota had his best day in a while, and his timing was as good as we’ve seen all camp. The drops were on target and catchable, and we only saw a few really errant throws from #8 on the day.
During special teams, everyone wanted to see who was returning punts and kicks. The punt returners did not come as a surprise with Adoree Jackson, Rico Gafford, and Nick Williams doing the work. On kickoff return, we saw a heavy dose of Gafford again as well as Deontay Burnette. Cameron Batson and Akrum Wadley (who both had returns last Thursday in Green Bay) did not catch any kickoffs.
After special teams, the Titans moved into the most fun drill to spectate- red zone 7 on 7. Mariota started this period hot with a pair of touchdowns to Corey Davis and Jonnu Smith. Blaine Gabbert came in with the 2’s and looked equally as impressive with a TD toss to Darius Jennings and a wide open Deontay Burnette.
The next period consisted of 11 on 11 play in the middle of the field. Derrick Henry started the session with a couple of speedy runs to the outside. Often, when the offense went into two back sets, we would see tight ends such as Luke Stocker line up behind the quarterback as the fullback.
Late in practice, we saw an array of passing plays from both the first and the second team offense. Adoree Jackson held his own against the high flying attack and was the most impressive member of the secondary today. LeShaun Sims picked off Blaine Gabbert in the endzone which built nicely on top of praise he received from secondary coach Kerry Coombs before practice. Coombs said he likes to remind Sims that “he belongs here.”
Even with the good play by the secondary, the offense did score touchdowns on both of their final drives. Mariota found Tajae Sharpe for 6 while Blaine Gabbert threw a pass to the side of the end zone that Darius Jennings went upstairs to grab for the catch of the day. Jennings made a number of nice catches on the day, going up against Adoree Jackson continuously throughout the day, one of the best matchups of the day.
Corey Davis stuck out as having the best offensive practice on the day. He had a handful of catches for big gains throughout the day no matter who was covering him. On one play in particular, he ran a beautiful route up the sideline and burnt defender Malcolm Butler. Mariota put the pass right into his hands as Davis walked into the end zone.
The Titans have a day off tomorrow before the joint practices with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers begin at 9:50 am on Wednesday.