Thursday's Training Camp Observations

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans kicked off training camp on Thursday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

Here's a look at what stood out:

  • Cornerback Malcolm Butler made the play of the day on defense, and I'm going to write more about it in a separate piece on Titans Online. Butler stepped in front of receiver Corey Davis on a ball thrown by quarterback Marcus Mariota, and picked it off.
  • Davis made a big play of his own late, snagging a pass thrown by Mariota with one hand in the corner of the end zone while working against cornerback Adoree' Jackson. Davis will have better days in camp than the one he had Thursday, when he left a few catchable passes escape his grasp.
  • Mariota had his moments, making some nice throws on Day One. He also took off running on several occasions, and looked fast, especially when linebacker Brian Orakpo was chasing him.
  • If I had to pick a side, I think the defense won the day. Aside from Butler's play, cornerback Logan Ryan and safety Dane Cruikshank also picked off passes on the secondary. The pass rush was impressive.
  • Every time I looked up it seemed like defensive lineman Jurrell Casey was busting into the backfield. He had company on a day when Orakpo also stood out.
  • The Titans rotated Will Compton and Rashaan Evans in with the first team at inside linebacker. Evans is a talented rookie and a first-round pick, but Compton won't go down without a fight.
  • Defensive lineman DaQuan Jones was back in the action in team drills after being limited this offseason.
  • Cornerback Rico Gafford is an underdog to keep an eye on, and he made some nice plays on the first day of camp.
  • Linebacker Wesley Woodyard busted into the backfield to greet running back Derrick Henry. Titans inside linebackers coach Tyrone McKenzie loved it, and let Woodyard know about it.
  • Receiver Darius Jennings caught a nice pass thrown by Mariota, and he later hauled in a bullet thrown by quarterback Blaine Gabbert.
  • Cornerback Tye Smith was aggressive while on the attack, and bumped helmets with running back David Fluellen.
  • Gabbert had a good day, and he continues to show off his strong arm. He connected with Tajae Sharpe on a ball across the middle, and made a number of nice throws. One of them was a red zone pass to tight end Anthony Firkser.
  • Undrafted receiver Deontay Burnett made a really nice sideline catch on a ball thrown by quarterback Luke Falk.
  • Jordan Veasy, another undrafted receiver, made a tough catch across the middle on a ball thrown by Gabbert.
  • Linebacker Daren Bates and Gafford combined to make a nice breakup on a ball intended for receiver Devin Ross.
  • Tight end Delanie Walker and receiver Taywan Taylor hauled in passes thrown by Mariota in a red zone period. Walker later hauled in a touchdown pass thrown by Mariota.
  • Kevin Pamphile and Dennis Kelly worked with the first group offensive tackles on Thursday. Taylor Lewan was on the practice field and took part in portions of practice, but he was limited. Titans coach Mike Vrabel said Lewan will do more in time.
  • Receiver Rishard Matthews was on the field as a spectator, but he didn't practice on Thursday. Vrabel said he'll return when cleared, and talked about the importance of remaining patient.
  • Vrabel was in the middle of the action early. He grabbed a blocking pad and took on linebackers during drills. The guy is intense.
  • Tackle Jack Conklin, who began camp on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list, also didn't practice but watched in uniform.
  • Former Titans safety Michael Griffin is working with the team as a coaching intern during the first part of training camp. He was on the field on Thursday, and even ran sprints after practice.

Next practice: Friday, 9:50 am-noon.

The Titans take the field for the opening day of training camp on Thursday, July 26, 2018 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Donn Jones, Gary Glenn, AP)

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