-- Increased Intensity: What's training camp without a few skirmishes? Remember the play involving tight end Phillip Supernaw I told you about here a few days ago? Well, I think it set the stage for a fight-filled practice on Monday night at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Three separate skirmishes broke out, two of them involving safety Daimion Stafford. Stafford claimed he was trying to break one of the fights up and just got caught up in it.
None of the fights were full blown melees, but they sure got the crowd excited. Receiver Deon Long and cornerback Cody Riggs were involved in one skirmish that safety Michael Griffin jumped in. Stafford hit tight end Chase Coffman hard in the back leading to another scrap, and later Stafford was in it with tight end Craig Stevens. Props to defensive lineman Karl Klug for hesitating to get in the mix, although he sure thought about it while locked up with tackle Taylor Lewan. Coaches and players downplayed the extracurricular activity afterward, saying it's just football.
-- Staying Sharp: Quarterback Marcus Mariota completed his first four passes of the night and once again played mistake-free football. He hasn't thrown an interception in his first four practices, and hasn't really come close. Mariota connected with receiver Harry Douglas on a beauty of a pass early, and he continues to develop his connection with receiver Kendall Wright. Mariota and Wright have hooked up on a ton of quick-hit passes over the first week of camp. In one drill near the goal line, Mariota hit Douglas and Wright for touchdowns, although the defense claimed receiver Justin Hunter was guilty of an illegal pick on the throw to Wright. Tight end Delanie Walker went up high and hauled in a pass from Mariota late in practice, and it qualified as the catch of the night.
-- Mr. Manners:** Sticking with Mariota, the guy is going out of his way to make friends. On a play when he scrambled toward the sideline, he knocked over Titans scout Marv Sunderland, who helped scout Mariota out of Oregon. With smile, Mariota helped Sunderland up. After practice, Mariota signed autographs for over a half-dozen kids just two days after he stood in the sun and signed autographs for nearly an hour for fans. Then in the locker room Monday night, Mariota went out of his way to find ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky to apologize for nearly hitting him with a throw during practice. I'm thinking that was a first.
-- Sturdy Runner: Running back Bishop Sankey has been the most impressive back the first week of camp. He's looked quick, and is hitting the hole with a purpose. But on Monday night I began to see a lot more of what the team sees in rookie back David Cobb. In run drills, Cobb lowered his shoulder and moved the pile. He also looked physical in a run period later in practice. Cobb got extra work with running back Antonio Andrews sidelined for the night with a foot injury.
-- Looking for Plays:** The defense has had its share of impressive moments early in camp. Linebacker Brian Orakpo has looked good, and defensive lineman DaQuan Jones got some attention with his brute strength on Monday night. Across the board, guys have been making some solid plays. But defenders haven't gotten as many hands on the football as they'd like. Cornerback Curtis Riley had an interception on Monday night on a ball thrown by quarterback Zach Mettenberger. But the defense is looking to make more flash plays. Give Mariota some credit, of course, for playing a pretty good game of keep-away so far.