By Anna Glenn Grove and Christian Kaposy
Day four of training camp has come to a close and the team will receive a break tomorrow. The pads were on again today and they even participated in some live one on one tackling drills at the start of practice. Many rookies had a chance to prove themselves, getting in some reps with the ones.
Play highlights of day four:
Once again during team play today, Corey Davis showed up. His impressive one-handed snag over the middle against Malcolm Butler was one that made everyone look. It was a dominant day as well for rookie Amani Hooker who has continued to make plays and find himself a spot. His main highlight today featured an interception by Hooker off a terrible pass by Marcus Mariota intended for Tajae Sharpe. Butler tipped the ball prior to the pick.
Nate Davis gets his chance:
After spending the first three days of camp playing right guard on the second string offensive line, Davis was moved to the first team today. The third round pick out of Charlotte held his own throughout practice, staying at right guard from start to finish. Through four days of camp, the offensive line has been the most heavily rotated position, especially at right guard. Kevin Pamphile played right guard with the first team the first two days, followed by Aaron Stinnie and Davis the next two. Although we are weeks out from a final decision at right guard, today was promising for the rookie.
“We have identified him as someone we’d like to have and work with in our scheme,” Mike Vrabel said.
Anthony Firkser taking advantage:
During the final weeks of the 2018 season, Firkser suddenly found himself in a prominent role in the Titans after injuries to Delanie Walker and Jonnu Smith. With Smith starting training camp on the PUP list and Walker slowly returning from last year’s injury, there have been plenty of opportunities for Firkser in the first four days. During a team period, Firkser hauled in three passes that all resulted in first downs. During a 7-on-7 period on Saturday, he hauled in a pass one-handed for a score. Firkser has taken advantage of his opportunities during his second training camp with the Titans.
“I think Firk (Anthony Firkser) obviously in his transition as a tight end having been a wide receiver, we’re always going to continue to try to get him to improve his blocking. That’s how it goes. We’re going to try to throw the football to him and make him proficient in the run game,” said Mike Vrabel following practice.
Vrabel remains hands on with Simmons, Casey, Smith:
Coach Vrabel is typically seen bouncing from group to group during practice, but today he made it a point to specifically spend some extra one on one time on the side with players on the PUP and non-football injury list. Jonnu Smith, Jurrell Casey and Jeffery Simmons each got a chance to work with their head coach and go head to head against him- they were even able to push him around a little bit.
“I have the ability to kind of get over there a little bit and start to see what they’re doing or try to help out with whatever rehab that may be,” Vrabel said.
“Finish” as a training camp motto:
You can hear the coaches yelling “finish” throughout practice and drills, but the word was very prominent in today’s training camp. Vrabel said when his players do finish each play, it makes the coaches job a lot easier. He added that when he was a player, offensive linemen that would push him through each play were the hardest to go up against as a defensive player. He hopes his team will continue this strength and force once the season begins and wants to engrain “finish” into their heads early on.
“It’s not natural I think,” Vrabel said. “Some guys just naturally have it. They’re just born like that or they’re raised like that. Then, some players and people don’t.”
Cross-training and the importance of versatility:
During the press conference, Vrabel mentioned that versatility was a trait the coaching staff was really looking for in their players. He went on to add that it would not be fair to put a player on the field during a game who hasn’t worked in a certain position or drill in practice. Therefore, the team is working on the players who can make plays in more than one spot. A good example of this is Logan Ryan who was seen cross-training with the safety position group.
“[We] make sure that they know what to do in their one spot and then once they do that, we can kind of transition them on to what they’re next job may or may not be,” Vrabel said.
No practice tomorrow for the Titans:
The team will have a day off tomorrow before heading back into practices on Wednesday in front of more fans. Vrabel said he hopes the group will use the day to go over plays and drills they have done well, but pinpoint the areas in which players may need more work. He said it is about looking at the players that have had some mental errors and deciding whether or not they occurred once and were fixed or continue to be an issue.
“We’ll have a coaches meeting and have each guy kind of talk about their position. What each guy at the position has done in four days, what kind of improvement, what kind of mistakes, how many mistakes they’ve made,” Vrabel said.