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Titans See Positives in Day One of Joint Practices With the Buccaneers


TAMPA – Day One of joint practices between the Titans and Buccaneers is in the books.

On both sides of the football, there were some highlights, and some things to clean up.

But in the Florida heat, it was meaningful work

"I wouldn't necessarily say there's winners and losers, but I would definitely say we wanted to see who was going to come out here and compete," Titans safety Kevin Byard said. "That was the main thing, seeing who was going to compete, especially for guys who are fighting for roster spots, guys who are trying to elevate their game.

"But it was great to go up against a great team, the Super Bowl champs."

On offense, the Titans made some plays, even without receivers Julio Jones and A.J. Brown not practicing.

Their absences allowed players like receivers Marcus Johnson, Nick Westbrook-Ikhine and Chester Rogers to shine, along with others.

Veteran receiver Josh Reynolds made a number of plays as well. He got open deep in 1-on-1s, made a nice catch in a team period, and then he caught a short pass for a score in a 2-point period near the goal line. Reynolds spun the football while celebrating the score, only to have a Buccaneer defender kick it away.

"Guys competed," Titans quarterback Ryan Tannehill said. "It was a good day overall. Definitely some things we have to clean up. Got to be better on third down, I don't think we played well on third down really at any point today. Guys came out, they competed, its hot out here, no excuses, guys dug deep and found a way to make plays, some big plays early on. Nick made a big one down the field, Marcus made some plays, Chester made some plays, competing. Even in one-on-ones it started off a little slow, but once guys started going, built some confidence and start making plays. Looking forward to building on it tomorrow."

On the defensive side of the ball, the Titans held their own against quarterback Tom Brady and some talented receivers.

Three different Titans intercepted Brady on Tuesday, including rookie cornerback Elijah Molden. Veteran cornerback Jackrabbit Jenkins also picked off Brady, and so did safety Amani Hooker.

Brady, of course, also made a lot of good things happen. He found receiver Mike Evans on some plays, and tight end Rob Gronkowski on others. Buccaneers receivers Chris Godwin and Antonio Brown made catches in the secondary.

Still, the Titans made plays as well, from linebacker Jayon Brown in coverage, to guys on the back end.

And while Molden made some nice plays, he was also victimized on a few as well. The same could be said for first-round pick Caleb Farley, who held his own in coverage on some plays, but got beat on others.

"There's still some stuff we need to clean up," Byard said. "Some learning moments for some of the young guys as well, but as a whole entire group I felt we played pretty good. I saw (Caleb) make some plays, so that is definitely a good sign. I thought we had a great competitive day, going against some great receivers. It is a good measuring stick."

The Titans and Buccaneers are scheduled to practice again on Thursday before taking Friday off.

The two teams will play preseason game No.2 on Saturday at Raymond James Stadium.

"(The Buccaneers) have a quarterback that is going to be in the Hall of Fame, (and) guys that are All-Pro receivers with speed and size and quickness, so they throw a lot at you. Not to mention the tight ends that they have. Any chance that we get a good receiving back, a good receiving running back, I am sure it was a huge challenge over there and I look forward to seeing how we stood up," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said.

"It is great (work), it is great to get different looks. We see the same looks, our defense sees what we do, we see what they do, but now you get to go out against some different guys with different skillsets. Very limited looks on tape of what we are going to go up against, so we get to go out and compete and test ourselves. Really proud of our guys and the way we competed. Obviously, a lot of things we need to cleanup but looking forward to that tomorrow."

See the Top Images from the Titans Joint Practice with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Wednesday at AdventHealth Training Center. (Donald Page)

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