By Christian Kaposy and Anna Glenn Grove
Titans fans showed up today at Saint Thomas Sports Park in large numbers for the first open practice of training camp this year. While there were families, jerseys, children and autographs galore, all eyes were on the field. It was a very red-zone heavy practice and many young receivers had an opportunity to prove themselves during those 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 drills.
Marcus Mariota still consistent:
Two days in and it is still good news for the starting quarterback, as it should be. Mariota has looked sharp, showing off his accuracy during the first two days of camp. Although his last pass of the day was intercepted by Malcolm Butler as he was looking for Anthony Firkser in the end zone, Mariota is trending in the right direction heading into the first padded practice of training camp.
Anthony Firkser making plays:
Firsker had the play of the day at training came coming up with a one-handed catch as he landed on the pylon during red zone 7-on-7 drills. Kevin Byard was on the coverage. Firkser jumped into the air horizontally as Mariota completed the pass in the right corner of the end zone. Along with this, Firkser made several other plays throughout practice, looking especially sharp in his cuts.
Tajaé looked Sharpe:
With Adam Humphries and others being added to the receivers core and heading into the final year of his rookie deal, this is an important training camp for Sharpe. He started the day with a couple of scores in the 7-on-7 red zone period, including a toe tapping grab near the sideline with cornerback Malcolm Butler in tight coverage. Sharpe continued his production in the team periods with several catches throughout practice. A good start for Sharpe in a critical training camp.
Derrick Henry and A.J. Brown still missing:
Neither Henry nor Brown participated in team or group work during today’s open training camp practice. Brown, however, was seen working on the Jugs machine with Corey Davis post-practice.
“No update, I appreciate the conversation about injuries, but as it relates to specific players we are going to remain consistent in our stance,” Vrabel said. “Those are all the things that we talk about when we try to figure out what guys are going to do at practice and where their activity level will be.”
Defense Responds in Final Team Period:
Mariota and the offense had a field day during the 7-on-7 red zone period, which defensive coordinator Dean Pees did not take to kindly. Following the 7-on-7 portion, Pees gathered the defense and walked through some concepts before the final team period of the day. Although the offense scored twice to begin the period, the defense made a significant improvement in coverage, not allowing another score and intercepting a Mariota pass in the end zone.
Opportunities for Younger Backs:
With Henry not practicing after leaving yesterday’s practice early, several second year running backs were given more reps in Day 2 of training camp. Dion Lewis handled the majority of snaps, but Dalyn Dawkins and Jeremy McNichols were both mixed in with the 1st and 2nd teams throughout practice. It is an interesting battle for that third running back spot after David Fluellen has added some weight to increase his versatility. Extra snaps for Dawkins and McNichols during training camp could help their case for making the Titans roster.
“This is always about opportunity and we know going into it that we’re not going to have 90 guys out there,” Vrabel said. “All that does is give opportunities to other guys to step up in there and if they can take more reps and they move up a group and they stand out, that’s how this league is created.”