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Observations From Titans Training Camp on Monday


NASHVILLE – The Titans took the field for their eighth open practice of training camp on Monday at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park.

Here's a look at what stood out:

-Titans coach Mike Vrabel dropped a pretty big nugget after practice when he announced assistant head coach/defensive line coach Terrell Williams will serve as the team's head coach for Saturday's preseason opener against the Chicago Bears.

Vrabel will be with the team as well, but he wants to give Williams an opportunity.

-DeAndre Hopkins had an eye-opening day on Monday, going up high to make a number of catches in tight coverage. In an early 7-on-7 red zone period, Hopkins caught a pass in the back of the end zone for a score. Later he made an impressive sideline grab. Hopkins has been making these catches for years with the Texans and Cardinals, so it's cool to see him do this in a Titans uniform. Titans running back Derrick Henry clearly likes the look of it. After an early catch, Henry left his spot behind the action to track down Hopkins and give him a pat on the chest.

-I thought rookie Colton Dowell had a nice day as well. Dowell made some tough catches in 1-on-1s, and he also showed up in other periods as well.

-The 1-on-1s were competitive as usual. I got to the side of the field they were doing them on a little late, but this is what I saw when I got there: Mason Kinsey, Tyjae Spears, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine, Reggie Roberson Jr., Kearis Jackson, Hassan Haskins and Kevin Rader all had catches. Amani Hooker and Anthony Kendall had nice break-ups.

-In the 2-on-2s, Hopkins had his first catch of the day. Then, Tre'Shaun Harrison, Jonathan Ward, Treylon Burks, Chig Okonkwo, Kyle Philips, Spears and Kinsey had catches. Dowell had two catches in this period – one in the back of the end zone, and one in the front corner. Hooker also made a nice break-up here, and Eric Garror and Anthony Kendall had break-ups as well.

-The Titans ran two-minute periods for all three quarterbacks at the end of practice, and the defense kept the offense off the scoreboard each time. The first-team defense was especially effective, forcing Ryan Tannehill into four straight incompletions. On fourth down, defensive back Elijah Molden made a nice break-up on a ball intended for Okonkwo.

-Tannehill was hot early, completing 2-3 in the first team period and 2-3 in the 7-on-7 red zone as well. He followed that up by going 3-3 in a team period with two completions to Hopkins and one to Okonkwo. But the defense rose to the occasion late. Before the two-minute period, the defense forced Tannehill into three straight incompletions in a red zone period, which resulted in Tannehill ending the session with seven straight incompletions. I had Tannehill at 7-of-16 for the day, and I have him at 69-of-112 in 7-on-7 and team periods combined in camp.

-Quarterback Malik Willis drove the Titans into field goal position in his two-minute period, with completions to Chris Moore, Dowell, Spears, and Kinsey, but he needed encouragement from his coaches to speed things up on several occasions. Willis finished the day 8-of-15, and I now have him at 48-of-84 in 7-on-7 and team periods combined.

-Quarterback Will Levis might've had the most efficient two-minute period, as he connected with Dowell, Kearis Jackson, Gavin Holmes and Ward on a drive that covered some ground. But the drive ended with another missed field goal. Levis threw a touchdown pass to Dowell in a 7-on-7 red zone period, but he also missed on some throws. Levis was 9-of-16 on the day, and I have him at 47-of-80 in the 7-on-7 and team periods so far in camp.

-Receiver Kyle Philips caught a bullet from Tannehill in the back of the end zone in a 7-on-7 red zone period.

-Safety Amani Hooker made several nice break-ups on Monday. I've been noticing Hooker more and more of late.

-Cornerback Kristian Fulton broke up a Tannehill pass intended for Treylon Burks.

-Spears showed some nice burst on several runs, and Henry exploded through the middle of the fray on a number of runs inside the 10-yard line.

-Defensive back Tre Avery had a solid day, breaking up a Willis pass intended for Westbrook-Ikhine early.

-Defensive back Steven Jones Jr. had a nice break-up on a Levis pass intended for Racey McMath.

-I noticed Sean Murphy-Bunting around the football several times on Monday, getting his hand on footballs.

-Kendall had a break-up late in the session on a Levis pass intended for Roberson.

-Kicker Caleb Shudak was a perfect 9-of-9 in a kicking period, but he missed both of his field goal attempts to close out two-minutes drives – from 51 and 54 yards – to finish 9-of-11 for the day. I have Shudak at 36-of-40 in camp. Kicker Trey Wolff did not kick on Monday and he's 32-of-36 in camp.

-Kinsey, Philips, Jackson, Ward and Garror all caught punts in a special teams period.

-Game officials were on hand for today's practice, with Scott Novak and his crew, and Walt Anderson from the league.

-New offensive lineman Justin Murray practiced with the team for the first time on Monday, after signing over the weekend. Vrabel said the Titans plugged Murray in at guard. Murray was in No. 73.

-Defensive back Chris Jackson, offensive lineman John Ojukwu, defensive lineman Naquan Jones, offensive lineman Corey Levin and tight end Alize Mack did not practice on Monday.

-Linebacker Azeez Al-Shaair left practice early with a trainer.

-Analyst Greg Cosell, a regular on Nashville radio and a long-time producer for NFL Films, was on hand for today's practice.

-Former Titans linebacker Tim Shaw was on hand for today's practice.

-Former Oilers linebacker Al Smith was on hand for today's practice.

Next open practice: Tuesday, 9:15-11:15 a.m.

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