Titans See Room For Improvement in Day 2 of Joint Practices with the Buccaneers


TAMPA – Titans guard Rodger Saffold is 33 years old, and in his 12th NFL season.

On a daily basis, he's involved in physical confrontations on the football field again and again and again.

In his world, in the trenches, it's every play.

Here on Thursday, when the Titans and Buccaneers held their second day of joint practices, things got lively.

At one point, four skirmishes broke out between the two teams in a roughly 30-minute stretch.

With a smile, Saffold said it was almost too much.

"I am too old, man, I am too old," Saffold said, smiling. "I look at it and like, 'I'll get in there!' And then when I see it's 50 yards away and I am like, "Maybe I'll just chill and rest.' But it's part of the sport.

"(The Buccaneers) came out today on fire. We had a really good day of practice yesterday, and that is what you want to see – people competing. A lot of pushing, but no punches thrown, and as long as no punches are thrown, we're good."

One day after the Titans set the tone in practices with the Buccaneers, Titans coach Mike Vrabel wasn't too happy with what he saw from his squad on Thursday.

Tennessee's offense, competing without receivers A.J. Brown and Julio Jones for the second day in a row, was inconsistent, and had trouble getting into a rhythm. But also keep in mind running back Derrick Henry and several of the team's starting offensive linemen also didn't take part in team drills.

Tennessee's defense, which intercepted Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady three times on Wednesday, didn't get a single pick on Thursday.

Vrabel didn't mince words when asked his assessment after practice.

"I thought it sucked," Vrabel said. "I thought it sucked. From what I saw, we didn't do well offensively. I don't think we competed like we did (Wednesday). Probably a lot of reasons but just not good enough. They (Buccaneers) were clearly better today. We will see how we respond and take the coaching and play on Saturday.

"I don't know (why), this isn't like we alternate days. We want to come out every day and compete, make adjustments. Same guys going against the same guys. I am sure there were some good things but just not enough positive, just not getting into the flow of drives offensively, and I don't think it was very good defensively either."

The Titans, who were without 12 players, including four starters on offense, did have some bright spots on both sides.

Receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine caught touchdowns in two different periods, and he was hard to cover in 1 on 1s and 7 on 7s. Receiver Josh Reynolds made some nice catches in 1 on 1s, but he did fail to haul in a catchable deep ball thrown by quarterback Ryan Tannehill late in practice. Receiver Fred Brown was good for the second day in a row.

Tannehill was intercepted twice on the day, however, and back-up quarterback Logan Woodside was also picked off two times.

Defensively, the Titans gave up several deep balls for scores, including Brady throws to receiver Mike Evans and tight end Rob Gronkowski in the same period.

Defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons knows the defense wasn't perfect over the past two days, but he likes the attitude, and the fight.

"I have been loving it, man," Simmons said. "The energy, the flying around, the communicating. Of course, each and every day we have something we can get better at, either communicating a little better, whatever it may be. But just the attitude that we have been enforcing on defense, coming from KB (Kevin Byard), myself, just trying to bring everybody together, to the ball. Just that mindset that everybody came into camp with, to today, the attitude that when we take the field, let's get off the field, three and out. I think the mindset has been great so far.

"We have a lot to work on, a lot we need to fix. We have a lot to take coaching on, especially today. I know we had a couple of touchdowns caught on us. The thing about this game – be better than we were yesterday, and today we'll go in, make corrections, and move on from it. Practicing against (the Buccaneers), the world champs last year, they've got a great team and it's helping us build off our foundation."

The Titans and Buccaneers will butt heads once again on Saturday in preseason game No.2.

In two days of work, Saffold believes the Titans got better.

"It was kind of like a heavyweight bout, especially in the trenches, man," Saffold said. "And you kind of want that, you want to see where you stand as a team. I thought we really played for each other, we played hard. In this type of weather and humidity guys were out there fighting.

"This was a great opportunity to play against a Super Bowl champion team. … We just have to continue to give ourselves a chance to be able to get to that level."

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

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