NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans won a game last Sunday when quarterback Marcus Mariota's longest completion went for just 22 yards, and most of that yardage came after receiver Corey Davis made the catch.
On the day, Mariota threw one ball roughly 35 yards downfield on a play that drew a defensive pass interference penalty. Most of his throws, however, were short distance.
Because of Mariota's elbow injury, the Titans haven't taken many shots downfield during the first three games. Tight end Luke Stocker's 31-yard catch vs. Miami stands as the longest completion – unless you count the 66-yard completion on a throw from safety Kevin Byard to safety Dane Cruikshank on a fake punt.
Even Blaine Gabbert's longest completion this season went for just 18 yards -- on a catch and run by Taywan Taylor in a win over Houston.
So, with Mariota showing improvement, will the Titans take more chances downfield, beginning on Sunday vs. the Eagles?
"I think certainly you'd like to, to try and soften up that box a little bit, because people are probably barreling down in on us," offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur said. "Any time you can open it up and make the defense defend both the width and the length of the field, you are going to be better off as an offense.
"So as we progress, really it depends on how we feel we can best attack a defense. Some defenses don't present that opportunity, so it is truly on a game-by-game basis, but certainly that is something that we would like to do moving forward."
Vrabel on Matthews, WRs
Titans head coach Mike Vrabel deferred to general manager Jon Robinson's press conference earlier in the day when asked about receiver Rishard Matthews.
The Titans released Matthews on Thursday after he asked to be released or traded earlier in the week.
"I think Jon has touched on everything about Rishard," Vrabel said. "I want to talk about the guys that are on our team, talk about the Eagles and the challenge that they present. I think Jon has pretty much touched on everything as it relates to Rishard."
Vrabel was asked if he needed a leader to emerge in the receiving corps.
"Leadership comes from a lot of places, whether that be the players, the position coach, the coordinator, the head coach," Vrabel said. "I think Corey (Davis) has done a good job of that. Corey has helped us win a couple of ball games, and I think he'll continue to do that."
Mariota (elbow) practiced again on Thursday, and remains a go for Sunday vs. the Eagles. On Wednesday, Vrabel said the plan is for Mariota to start.
Gabbert (concussion), tackle Dennis Kelly (illness), and running back David Fluellen (groin) did not practice again on Thursday.
Kicker Ryan Succop (tendinitis) returned after being held out on Wednesday.
Right tackle Jack Conklin (knee) was a full participant for the second day on a row, and linebacker Kamalei Correa (back) practiced in full after being limited on Wednesday.
Cornerback Adoree' Jackson (concussion) practiced once again, and Vrabel sounded optimistic about his outlook moving forward.
The Tennessee Titans practice inside the bubble on Thursday, Sept. 27, 2018 at Saint Thomas Sports Park. (Photos: Gary Glenn)