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Observations From Titans Training Camp on Thursday


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

Here's a look at what stood out:

-The defense, once again. The defense picked off three passes in Thursday's session, including safety Amani Hooker's INT of quarterback Ryan Tannehill on the very first play of 7-on-7s. It was a sign of things to come. While the offense made its share of plays as well on a misty, rainy day, the defense came up with a lot of stops near the end zone to frustrate the offense.

-I mentioned Hooker's interception, which came on a Tannehill pass intended for Chris Moore. Defensive back Kristian Fulton got his hand on the football, knocking it into the air, and Hooker came down with it. It was a great defensive play from both players. Hooker posted interceptions in back-to-back practices to close out the week, and, as mentioned previously, he's having a nice camp.

-Before I get into more highlights, I should probably touch on a few questions a lot of folks want to know answers to about playing time: Will the starters play in the preseason opener in Chicago? And, who will start at quarterback? Titans coach Mike Vrabel said before practice some of the starters will play, but not all of them. He didn't name names. Vrabel also didn't name the starting quarterback, but I suspect Malik Willis and Will Levis will play the entire game.

-DeAndre Hopkins, who got the day off on Tuesday, was back at practice on Thursday, although he didn't come out until later in the session.

-Tannehill connected with Nick Westbrook-Ikhine on a touchdown strike across the middle on a 7-on-7 red zone period, and he ended up connecting with NWI several times in the session. Westbrook-Ikhine dropped one in the end zone, however, that should have been a score.

-Cornerback Roger McCreary intercepted Tannehill late when he was trying to connect with receiver Kyle Philips. I had Tannehill at 7-of-16 on the day, and I have him at 89-of-145 in 7-on-7 and team periods combined in the ten open practices of camp.

-Philips had a busy day. He was on the receiving end of a sideline strike from Tannehill, and he had another catch in a team period.

-Quarterback Malik Willis threw a beautiful, deep touchdown pass to receiver Chris Moore late in practice, not long after connecting with tight end Josh Whyle for a score in a separate team period. I had Willis at 7-of-12 on the day, and I now have him at 63-of-111 in 7-on-7 and team periods combined.

-Quarterback Will Levis came out firing, connecting on 3 of his first 4 passes, including a touchdown to receiver Mason Kinsey in a 7-on-7 red zone period. Willis was intercepted by defensive back Alonzo Davis midway through practice, but he settled down and threw some strikes in the last period. I also had Levis at 7-of-12 on the day, and I have him at 65-of-107 in the 7-on-7 and team periods so far in camp.

-Receiver Racey McMath had a good day, coming down with a couple of tough catches across the middle.

-Edge rusher Caleb Murphy was credited with a sack, and it took an interception away from defensive back Matthew Jackson.

-I noticed Whyle more on Thursday than any other day during camp. Whyle caught two touchdown passes from Willis today.

-Outside linebacker Arden Key had a nice rush on Tannehill to force an incompletion.

-Tight end Chig Okonkwo dropped a Tannehill pass across the middle that he should've been able to catch.

-Defensive Kristian Fulton continues to make plays, and McCreary was especially active Thursday. Aside from his INT, McCreary had two more PBUs on Thursday, including another near INT.

-Defensive back Sean Murphy-Bunting also had a break-up.

-Running back Tajae Spears showed some burst on a couple of runs, including a red zone carry that resulted in him finishing in the end zone. In so many words, I heard offensive lineman Corey Levin say he liked it.

-Kicker Trey Wolff was 4-of-4 on the day, with makes from 26, 38, 34 and 44, and I have him a 46-of-51 in camp. Kicker Caleb Shudak was also 4-of-4, and I have him at 40-of-44 in camp. Both kickers lined up to kick field goals from 64 yards, but they kicked them short by design – as the Titans had Treylon Burks back deep to work on a field goal return play.

-Defensive lineman Teair Tart returned to practice.

-Defensive back Chris Jackson, defensive back A.J. Moore, offensive lineman John Ojukwu, defensive lineman Naquan Jones, and tight end Alize Mack did not practice on Thursday.

-I saw offensive lineman Dillon Radunz, who remains on PUP, working on a side field with a trainer.

-Yahoo senior NFL reporter Charles Robinson, a regular on 102.5 The Game in Nashville, was on hand for today's practice.

-The Titans will travel to Chicago on Friday for Saturday's game against the Bears.

Next open practice: Monday, 9:30-11:15 a.m.

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