NASHVILLE – The Titans hit the field at Saint Thomas Sports Park on Friday for the first practice of training camp open to media.
Here's a look at what stood out:
-The practice was more of an OTA-like format, with no pads and slight contact. The team is going through a ramp-up period at the start of camp.
-Running back Derrick Henry picked up where he left off. He was back to stiff-arming, and he looked like his old self. Henry ripped off several nice runs during practice, and he also looked good catching the football. On one play in particular, he caught a screen pass from quarterback Ryan Tannehill, and center Ben Jones put his arms up, signaling touchdown, as Henry sprinted down the sideline.
-Henry is a leader on the team, even when he's not talking. At one point in practice he stopped to do push-ups, and running backs Cameron Scarlett and Senorise Perry joined him.
-I thought rookie running back Darrynton Evans looked fast and shifty. He took several handoffs during the session, and found his way into the open field.
-Receiver Kalif Raymond was among the day's standouts. He caught a deep ball in one-on-one drills, and made a nice catch going across the middle in another one-on-one period. Raymond was also busy when the offense moved into 7-on-7 and team drills.
-A.J. Brown looks even thicker than last season, and he hasn't lost his speed. Brown made several nice catches on the day, and he kicked it into another gear downfield. But he'll beat himself up for a drop he had early.
-Cornerback Adoree' Jackson looked scrappy, and he kept Brown from catching a deep ball on him with some physical coverage all the way down the field.
-Cornerback Malcolm Butler made a nice read on Tannehill's first pass intended for Brown in one-on-one drills, but he wasn't able to get the INT. Butler clearly wasn't happy about his missed opportunity.
-Defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons said earlier this week he's dropped 10 pounds from a year ago, and physically, he looks good. He looked really good from a movement standpoint as well.
-Tannehill was sharp. In an early team period, he completed passes to Henry, tight end Anthony Firkser, and receiver Adam Humphries. In a later team period, he connected with Brown on a sideline pass. He threw a beauty of a screen pass to tight end Jonnu Smith. Tannehill's best pass was a bullet to Brown, in between defenders Kevin Byard and Rashaan Evans.
-Quarterback Logan Woodside had a solid day. He threw a bullet to fullback Khari Blasingame, and connected with receiver Cody Hollister in one period. Hollister made a diving catch on this play, and he showed up several times on the day.
-I thought quarterback Cole McDonald threw the ball pretty well. McDonald, the team's seventh-round pick out of Hawaii, misfired on some throws early, and he had a mishandled snap. But he settled down and made several nice throws, including a beauty to Nick Westbrooke-Ikhine.
-Titans coach Mike Vrabel appears to already be in midseason form. With some colorful language, he got his point across several times, right through his mask.
-It was good to see receiver Cameron Batson back out there, and he made several nice catches.
-Westbrook-Ikhine got open and caught a deep ball on one-on-one drills.
-Receiver Kyle Williams also caught a deep ball in one-on-one drills.
-Jonnu Smith is a name I wrote down several times on Friday. He looked fast, and he got past Jackson in the middle of the field for a big-gainer on a ball thrown by Tannehill.
-Safety Kevin Byard was right there on a short pass to Blasingame.
-Kicker Greg Joseph was a perfect 5-for-5 in a kicking period, making kicks of 33, 38, 42, 47 and 51 yards.
-Kicker Tucker McCann was 4-of-5 in the period, making kicks of 33, 38, 47 and 51 while misfiring on the 42-yard attempt.
-When the Titans fielded punts, receivers Adam Humphries, Cameron Batson, Kalif Raymond, Rashard Davis and Mason Kinsey took turns.
-Safety Kenny Vaccaro left practice midway through with a trainer by his side.
-Running back Dalyn Dawkins, safety Dane Cruiskshank and linebacker Kamalei Correa weren't spotted at practice. Receiver Corey Davis, linebacker Vic Beasley, defensive lineman Jack Crawford and linebacker Josh Smith aren't practicing either. Davis remains on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list, and Beasley in on the Non-Football injury list. Crawford and Smith remain in the team's Reserve-COVID 19 list.
-Things looked different the COVID-19 days. Coaches wore masks, and so did members of the equipment staff, video staff, and members of the media. Footballs had numbers written on them for running backs to use during individual drills. The team used small water and Gatorade bottles to hydrate players, and everyone used a different towel.
Next practice: Sunday, 11:00 am-12:15 p.m.
Titans players take the field for training camp on Friday at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Donald Page)