NASHVILLE – The Titans hit the field at Saint Thomas Sports Park – this time with the New England Patriots — on Wednesday at training camp.
Here’s a look at what stood out in the joint practice between the Titans and Patriots:
-The Titans offense worked against the Patriots defense on one field, and the Titans defense worked against the Patriots offense, and quarterback Tom Brady, on another. I spent most of my day watching the Titans offense, which explains why most of these observations focus on the offensive side of the ball.
-The Titans had their moments — both good and bad — on offense. Receiver Taywan Taylor made several really nice catches, including a pair downfield, and rookie receiver A.J. Brown made the best catch of his training camp during the session. We’ll detail those plays and more in this report.
-In 1-on-1 drills early, receiver Tajae Sharpe made a beautiful one-handed catch on a ball thrown by quarterback Marcus Mariota. Receiver Cody Hollister also had a pair of catches in the period, and receiver Anthony Ratliff-Williams, tight end MyCole Pruitt, tight end Cole Wick, and running back Alex Barnes all had catches. But it wasn’t all smooth sailing here, as Patriots defensive back J.C. Jackson intercepted quarterback Logan Woodside when the 3s worked, and the Patriots defended several throws well.
-In a 7-on-7 period, running back Dion Lewis made a pair of short catches, and Pruitt also had a catch.
-When the Titans worked on Run/Play Action Pass in a period midway through practice, Mariota connected with Sharpe on a pair of completions, including a nice one for a 15-yard gain, and tight end Anthony Firkser had a catch. Lewis also took handoffs and bounced outside and into the clear. But the Patriots stuffed the Titans some plays here, including one where linebacker Don’t’a Hightower was waiting for running back Dalyn Dawkins in the hole.
-The Titans first team offensive line looked like this at the start: Dennis Kelly (LT), Rodger Saffold (LG), Ben Jones (C), Kevin Pamphile (G) and Jack Conklin (RT). Taylor Lewan also got some snaps with the first team at left tackle.
-Receiver Adam Humphries left practice late with a trainer and did not return. Titans coach Mike Vrabel did not give an update on his condition after the session. Receiver Corey Davis practiced, although he was somewhat limited in team periods.
-Perhaps the best offensive period of the day for the Titans was a 7-on-7 period, when Mariota competed 5-of-6 passes, including a pass across the middle to Davis. Firkser and Lewis had catches for short gains in the period, and Sharpe and Pruitt also had catches.
-Back to Brown, who I mentioned earlier. The rookie receiver got behind Patriots cornerback Jason McCourty and caught a 25-yard pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill on an over-the-shoulder catch on the sideline.
-Taylor, Hollister, Pruitt, Wick and Raymond had catches on passes from Tannehill.
-Receiver Papi White made a really nice spinning catch while working against Patriots defensive back Duke Dawson.
-Patriots coach Bill Belichick oversaw the New England defense in a blitz period vs. the Titans offense, which again featured some good and bad moments for the Titans. Mariota was sacked right out of the gate by Hightower, but things improved. This is the period where Taylor made his highlight-reel catch, a 30-yarder while working against McCourty. Mariota connected with Humphries on a short pattern, and he also connected with Sharpe here.
-Tannehill was intercepted by Patriots defensive lineman Chase Winovich on a pass deflected at the line of scrimmage.
-Teammates gave tight end Ryan Hewitt props for a nice block on a run by Barnes.
-The Titans struggled during a third down period, where Mariota went 1-of-6, with the completion going to Taylor. Humphries let a well thrown ball by Mariota slip through his hands, and he was seen walking off the field with a trainer after a hard fall.
-Tannehill was intercepted by defensive back J.C. Jackson on a sideline throw.
-The session finished with both teams on the same field, with the Titans offense working against the New England defense, and the Patriots offense working against Tennessee’s defense. Mariota connected with Sharpe for a 10-yard gain, but he underthrew receiver Darius Jennings in the same period. Mariota stepped up in the pocket and found Taylor on a nice play.
-Titans linebacker Rashaan Evans was very active on defense. He stopped running back Sony Michel for short gains on back-to-back plays, and he blew up a screen pass from Brady to running back Rex Burkhead.
-Taylor showed up once again while working with the 2s, as he caught a 50-yard bomb from Tannehill. This period also featured a Firkser drop, and a Hollister catch.
-Outside linebacker Sharif Finch and inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard made nice plays when the defense worked against New England’s 2s, but the defense did allow an explosive run by Brandon Bolden.
-I asked reporters who spent most the time watching the Titans defense: Who stood out/made plays? The names provided were cornerback Adoree’ Jackson, cornerback Kareem Orr, linebacker Cameron Wake and linebacker Harold Landry.
-Patriots players serenaded Vrabel with a “Happy Birthday” song at the start of practice, which brought a big smile to the coach’s face.
-Vrabel gave Brady an earful when the three-time league MVP walked onto the practice field to start the day. Brady gave it right back, telling Vrabel to “Why don’t you pay attention to your own (expletive)?”
-Titans running back Derrick Henry did not practice, but he continues to do a lot of work on a side field. With a football in his hands, Henry did some light running while making cuts.
-Tight end Delanie Walker, running back David Fluellen and guard Nate Davis did not practice. Defensive lineman Frank Herron returned to practice.
-Titans receiver Cameron Batson, placed on Injured Reserve earlier in training camp, watched practice.
Next practice: Thursday, 9:50 a.m. (Joint practice with Patriots, open to fans).