On day 5 of Titans training camp, Coach Vrabel just put the ball down and let the boys play. Corey Davis was back in action after a day off yesterday, but Brian Orakpo, Luke Stocker, Rashaan Evans, and new signing Claude Pelon all remained sidelined for the day.
Malcolm Butler had his first day of training camp without an interception, but the defense showed up yet again. The defense dominated the vast majority of the simulated scrimmage style of practice until the very end. Darren Bates and Nate Palmer were electric as a linebacker pairing today, bursting into the backfield and blowing up plays time and again. The two were even able to sack Blaine Gabbert for a safety. For the final portion of practice, the team went into two minute drill scenarios where the offense needed a field goal. The first and second team offenses were both successful in their drives down into field goal range. The first team did rely on a little Mariota Magic though. On a fourth and 2 play play, Mariota sailed a ball deep down the field to Taywan Taylor. The receiver came down with the catch inside of field goal range for Ryan Succop to drive home the field goal near the end of practice.
There were a few bright spots for the offense today, primarily coming by way of screen plays. On a few occasions we saw Dion Lewis and Anthony Firkser both catch the ball with a lot of room to run ahead of them. Screen plays are a staple of Matt LeFleur’s offense so early training camp success is a strong sign for the coming season.
With primarily the first and second team on the field today, we did not get to see a ton from undrafted rookie free agents. A few players that did find themselves in the mix today were wide receivers Jordan Veasy and Deontay Burnette. On the defensive side of the ball, we saw more from lineman Matt Dickerson from UCLA who has played well so far and earned himself more and more reps as camp continues. Julius Warmsley was able to get some reps in with the first team today, and he is starting to establish himself as a solid back up behind the likes of Daquan Jones and company. Darius Jennings is continuing to impress, and he had an excellent 30 yard catch up the middle.
One area of interest this season is going to be kickoffs. With the new kickoff rules, Voice of the Titans Mike Keith thinks the plays will tend to benefit quicker players more than in the past. Today we saw Adoree Jackson, Michael Campanaro, Akrum Wadley, Dion Lewis, and Rico Gafford all taking reps as the kickoff returner. Because of the need for speed on those plays, Keith says also be on the lookout for David Fluelen to get in the returner mix as well.
After practice, a number of players were able to meet, take photos, and talk to a group of veterans from the Walking with the Wounded foundation. The group was comprised of American and UK veterans, and they shared stories with some of the players, as well as getting a few autographs.
The Titans will also meet with James Shaw Jr., the hero from the Waffle House shooting earlier this year. He will be speaking to the team during meetings tonight.
Tomorrow is an off day for the Titans, and they’ll be back at it again on Wednesday at 9:50 am.