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Observations From Wednesday's Titans-Buccaneers Practice


NASHVILLE – The Titans took the field for the first of two joint practices against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park.

Here's a look at what stood out:

-It was an action-packed day, as the two teams did battle on all three fields. I spent most of my day watching the Titans offense vs the Buccaneers defense, but I positioned myself in the middle of the two fields so I could see as much of the action on both sides as possible. Here's what Titans coach Mike Vrabel said about what he saw: "I thought we got off to a good start defensively on some of those 1-on-1s. I thought we were challenging and were in tight coverage without fouling. We made some plays on the football. (OC) Todd Downing wanted to spend time with our offense, so I went to the other side and was with our defense and their offense. There were some good things I thought we did. We had a good string of third downs. … There were some competitive parts and some things that obviously we are going to have to do a little better."

-The Titans receivers got going after a slow start in 1-on-1s, as Cody Hollister, Racey McMath, Terry Godwin, Reggie Roberson Jr. (2), Robert Woods (2), Kyle Philips (2), Mason Kinsey (2) and Nick Westbrook-Ikhine all had at least one catch. Treylon Burks ended the period by catching a deep ball with a one-handed snag.

-Things started out promising for Burks, who followed up his catch in 1-on-1s with a catch of 50-plus yards in a team period, as quarterback Ryan Tannehill found him downfield. But Burks ended up leaving practice early with a trainer, and he did not return to action.

-Guard Nate Davis, tackle Christian DiLauro and running back Trenton Cannon also left practice early.

-Quarterback Ryan Tannehill and the offense had a good day in a number of periods. Tannehill finished the session 21-of-29 in 7-on-7 and team periods combined. He was 6-of-7 in a two-minute period that ended with a field goal by kicker Randy Bullock. Tannehill was intercepted by Buccaneers linebacker Devin White, however, on a throw across the middle of the field and he had two passes during an early team period batted down at the line of scrimmage. (The INT looked to be some miscommunication with Philips). In 14 training camp practices – including today's work vs the Buccaneers – Tannehill is now 146-of-211 in 7-on-7 and team periods combined, with three interceptions.

-Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady didn't make the trip, so Blaine Gabbert got a lot of work. I didn't chart all of Gabbert's throws, but Jared Stillman of 102.5-FM 'The Game' did, and he shared his notes. Stillman had Gabbert going 14-of-29 in team periods. Titans safety Kevin Byard sacked him once, and Ola Adeniyi batted down one of his passes.

-Bud Dupree and David Anenih also pressured on rushes.

-Even without running back Derrick Henry taking part in the contact periods, I thought the Titans gashed the Buccaneers in the run game early with Julius Chestnut and Hassan Haskins ripping off some nice runs. I didn't notice as much running room later in the session, as it appeared the Buccaneers stiffened up.

-Tannehill struggled to connect with receiver Racey McMath on deep passes in Monday's session, but the two connected for one against the Buccaneers in an early team period.

-Tight end Austin Hooper had a busy day. Hooper caught three straight passes during a two-minute period, and by my count he caught seven passes on the day.

-Veteran receiver Robert Woods took another positive step on Wednesday, and he was happy about it. Woods caught a 20-yard strike from Tannehill in a late two-minute period.

-Shifty receiver Kyle Philips proved again and again and again he knows how to get open.

-Big defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons was beastly, and disruptive. It seemed like every time I looked over, I saw Simmons breaking into the backfield. Simmons had a sack of Gabbert on the very first play on defense.

-By most accounts, the Titans defense dominated in the trenches.

-I noticed cornerback Kristian Fulton making several plays on the football, and knocking balls away from Tampa Bay receivers. Fulton made back-to-back break-ups on passes intended for Jaelon Darden.

-I saw cornerback Caleb Farley break-up a pass intended for former Titans receiver Julio Jones, but it seemed like Farley struggled at times on Wednesday, and Coach Vrabel said so himself after the practice.

-David Long, Josh Kalu and Roger McCreary were among those with PBUs on the day.

-Malik Willis got a whole bunch of reps with the 2s, and once again there was some good, some not-so-good. Willis threw behind Roberson on one play, and he was victimized by at least three drops. Also, in a two-minute period, Willis couldn't end a drive with points. But he connected with Westbrook-Ikhine on a nice throw while running to his right, and he also connected with Philips on a bullet across the middle.

-Quarterback Logan Woodside was intercepted by Buccaneers defensive back Chris Cooper on an overthrown ball, and he was fortunate he didn't get picked again late.

-I noticed outside linebacker Rashad Weaver busting into the backfield to make a stop.

-Cornerback Lonnie Johnson Jr., claimed off waivers on Tuesday, had an interception on his first day at practice. Johnson, who is wearing No.39, caught the ball out of the air after it was deflected by teammate Shyheim Carter.

-Titans defensive back Shakur Brown had an interception on Kyle Trask in 7-on-7s.

-Linebacker Chance Campbell punched out a fumble in 7-on-7s.

-Kicker Randy Bullock had a good day. Bullock made 8 of his 9 kicks during a field goal period, with makes from 27, 32, 33, 33, 37, 44, 50 and 54 yards, his only miss from 41 yards. Later, Bullock nailed a 53-yard field goal, which made it 9-of-10 on the day. Bullock is now 67-of-73 in training camp.

-Safety Kevin Byard was happy with the defense's work on Wednesday. After practice, he was the victim of a baby powder shower, courtesy of Titans center Ben Jones. (It's Byard's birthday).

-Defensive lineman Denico Autry, guard Jamarco Jones, defensive back Chris Jackson, safety Theo Jackson, linebacker Dylan Cole, offensive lineman Xavier Newman and tight end Briley Moore did not practice.

-Safety Amani Hooker was back at practice.

-Kicker Caleb Shudak and linebacker Monty Rice did not practice, as they're on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list at the start of camp. Rice once again worked on a side field.

-Former Titans linebacker Wesley Woodyard, now with the NFLPA, attended Wednesday's session and spent some time with Vrabel before the session.

-Former Titans linebacker Tim Shaw also took in today's session.

-Former Titans center Kevin Long, a member of the franchise's Super Bowl team, attended today's session.

-Referees were on hand to work today's Titans-Buccaneers practice.

-Roughly 200 fans attended Wednesday's session, including sponsors and friends and family members of coaches and players.

Next practice: Thursday, 9:30 a.m., with the Buccaneers.

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