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Observations from Thursday's Titans OTA, When QB Marcus Mariota Looked Sharp


NASHVILLE – The Titans hit the field for OTA No.5 on Thursday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

Some observations …

-Tackle Jack Conklin, tight end Jonnu Smith, defensive tackle Jeffery Simmons, kicker Ryan Succop and tackle Cody Conway were among those not practicing.

-Cornerback Adoree' Jackson and defensive lineman Jurrell Casey were on the field, and in uniform, but their work was limited in some portions.

-Titans tight end Delanie Walker practiced once again, and appeared to do even more than during the previous open OTA last week.

-The Titans have put in a new sandpit just off one of the practice field, adjacent to the indoor practice facility. Casey and Jackson both spent time working in the sand on Thursday.

-A rain shower delivered some steady rain for a stretch during the early portion of practice, and created some slipping and sliding.

-Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota and the offense were considerably sharper than last week's open OTA practice. While he wasn't perfect, Mariota was mostly accurate and the offense dominated some periods.

-Mariota connected with receiver Taywan Taylor on a beautiful pass downfield. Cornerback LeShaun Sims slipped at the start of the play, allowing Taylor to get by him. Taylor then caught a pass in stride roughly 30-35 yards downfield.

-Sims got his revenge later. Mariota was high on a ball intended for tight end MyCole Pruitt, and Sims was there to pick it off.

-Running back Derrick Henry made it into the open field on some runs early, and looked good.

-Linebacker Kamalei Correa busted into the backfield and stopped running back David Fluellen before he got going after one handoff.

-Cornerback Tye Smith showed up on a few plays, breaking up one Mariota throw on the sideline on a nice play.

-Back-up quarterback Ryan Tannehill, who spoke to reporters after practice, threw a strike to rookie receiver A.J. Brown, and was praised for it. Later, Tannehill threw low on the run, and the ball bounced in front of Taylor.

-Cornerback D'Andre Payne, an undrafted free agent from Iowa State, picked off Tannehill when he wrestled the ball away from Brown.

-In a 7-of-7 drill by the goal line, the offense dominated. Mariota connected on touchdown tosses to Tajae Sharpe, Corey Davis, Dion Lewis, Brown and Pruitt in the drill. Mariota was high on a ball intended for tight end Anthony Firkser, but it looked like he was held.

-Later, in the same red zone drill, Tannehill completed TD tosses to Taylor and running back David Fluellen, who looks noticeably bigger and stronger this offseason.

-The offense kept the momentum going in a 7-on-7 drills later. Mariota connected with Cameron Batson, Pruitt, Walker and Brown in the session, but had one pass intended for Davis broken up by cornerback Malcolm Butler.

-Linebacker Daren Bates made a nice play after Sharpe caught a ball, knocking it out and causing a fumble.

-The defense stood up with nice coverage late, causing Tannehill to hold the ball.

-Batson made one of the practice's best catches late despite being well defended by Smith.

-Receiver Adam Humphries made a number of grabs, including one across the middle on a ball thrown by Mariota.

-Ohio State's baseball team dropped by to watch the end of Thursday's session. Ohio State faces Vanderbilt in the NCAA tournament on Friday night. Titans coach Mike Vrabel, of course, played at Ohio State.

-The next open OTA for the Titans will be Tuesday, June 4.

The Titans take the field for Thursday's organized team activities (OTA) at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)

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