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Observations from Tuesday's Titans Practice


NASHVILLE – The Titans returned to the practice field on Tuesday to continue preparations for Saturday's preseason game against the Chicago Bears.

Here's a look at what stood out:

-The biggest news of the day was the return of receiver Julio Jones, who was on the practice field in full uniform for the first time since early this month. Jones participated in a jog-through late after conditioning work and spending time working with receivers coach Rob Moore. After the session, Jones caught passes from the JUGS machine. No, it wasn't extensive, full-speed work. But it was the start of a return for Jones.

-Receiver A.J. Brown was out there, too, and his day started off with a hug from offensive coordinator Todd Downing. Brown's work was limited to the early stretch, individual drills, and the walk-through, but he has moved around nicely while on the practice field.

-The best play of the day on defense came right out of the gate, as rookie cornerback Elijah Molden went up and got the ball for an interception on a pass thrown by quarterback Ryan Tannehill. On the play, receiver Cameron Batson was streaking down the middle of the field, but Molden showed a lot of desire and fight to grab it, and he held on to the ball as he fell to the ground. It was a heck of a play for sure.

-The defense made some nice plays early, as linebacker David Long Jr. tipped a pass at the line of scrimmage, and cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins and safety Kevin Byard were in good coverage on a deep ball intended for receiver Marcus Johnson.

-But the offense struck back with a big play of its own, this one from rookie Dez Fitzpatrick. Tannehill hit Fitzpatrick in stride as he ran past cornerback Kristian Fulton for a score. Fitzpatrick seems to be coming on of late, as he made another play later in the session.

-Kicker Sam Ficken was harassed by left tackle Taylor Lewan as he kicked in Tuesday's field goal period, and it reminded me of the way former Titans Bernard Pollard and Shaun Smith used to heckle kicker Rob Bironas back in the day. Lewan's teasing seemed to work, at least on two tries, as Ficken missed badly on a kick from 51 yards after an earlier miss from 42. Ficken, who is now the only kicker on the roster after Tucker McCann was waived-injured on Monday, was 5-of-7 on the day. Ficken is now 53-of-60 in practices since being claimed off waivers from the Jets.

-In a team 7-on-7 period in the red zone, the Titans offense got hot, as quarterback Logan Woodside connected with receivers Mason Kinsey and Fred Brown for back-to-back scores.

-In the same 7-on-7 period, quarterback Matt Barkley also connected with Kinsey, and then tight end Jared Pinkney, for touchdowns.

-Cornerback Caleb Farley made two nice plays on Tuesday – he broke up a pass intended for receiver Racey McMath in the red zone, and he later broke up a pass intended for Batson.

-Safety Amani Hooker made a nice break-up on a Tannehill pass intended for tight end Tommy Hudson.

-Tannehill connected with Batson for a touchdown in the 7-on-7 period.

-Things got a little feisty when tight end Geoff Swaim and linebacker Monty Rice exchanged words and shoves during a period late in practice

-The most intense period of practice came late in a team 1st/2nd/3rd down period, and that's when running back Derrick Henry ripped off some nice runs while showing a burst.

-Kinsey made another catch from Tannehill, with Jenkins and Molden defending, to cap off another productive day for him.

-DL Freedom Akinmoladun, claimed off waivers from the Bengals on Monday, was on the practice field, and he made his presence known. Akinmoladun teamed with linebacker Justin March-Lillard on a stop of running back Brian Hill on the hole.

-Linebacker Rashaan Evans also showed up in this period, and he flexed after being in the right place on a handoff to Henry.

-After practice, the Titans placed LB Nick Dzubnar and RB Jeremy McNichols on the team's Reserve/COVID-19 list.

-The Titans also waived DB Kevin Peterson on Tuesday.

-Not practicing on Tuesday for the Titans: WR Josh Reynolds, S Dane Cruikshank, RB Darrynton Evans, S Brady Breeze, DB Chris Jackson, TE Anthony Firkser, DL Larrell Murchison, WR Chester Rogers, OL Chandon Herring, DL Kyle Peko.

-Linebacker Jayon Brown went down at some point in practice, and he appeared to be hurt. In fact, he slammed his helmet down in disgust. But Brown returned, and laughed it off, saying he had a little too much Hollywood in him.

Next practice: Thursday, 12:15-2 p.m.

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