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Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Defense big again at Titans' OTA

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Paul Kuharsky

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The defense won practice for the second OTA session in a row Wednesday, and seems determined to finish the week strong before the Titans enjoy some down time.

Nickelback Vincent Fuller said after the offense had a big day last Friday, the defense was driven to return with a vengeance for the final three practices this week. The first two they've swarmed, cut things off, grabbed interceptions and scooped up fumbles.

Fullback Ahmard Hall conceded the defense has gotten the better of the practices, but also provided a bit of context and perspective.

"They turned it up and were pretty much giving it to us," Hall said. "Yesterday and today we had a lot of young guys that are trying to learn the offense and they're questioning themselves, [Mike Heimerdinger] is putting pressure on them. We all know what the situation is, we only have a few practices before we're out there in prime time so he's giving the load to them and seeing how they're going to respond. But the defense is definitely playing well right now."

Some practice highlights and observations:

In red zone seven-on-seven: Rookie running back Rodney Ferguson II owes Vince Young one. He flubbed a short pass near the goal line, it popped in the air and Nick Harper grabbed it for what would have been a 100-yard TD return.

In team: Cortland Finnegan picked off a bad pass from Kerry Collins intended for Justin Gage. Finnegan sliced in front of Gage in a blur.

Interior offensive lineman Fernando Velasco and defensive tackle Derrick Jones had a slugfest of a fight, but quickly settled down. One picked up the other's helmet to return and they slapped hands.

In more red zone seven-on-seven: Collins flicked a ball to Chris Johnson on his left in the backfield and Johnson dropped it but recovered it in time to get to the sideline with a short gain. A play or two later Johnson fumbled after a good gain. He told Keith Bulluck later that it didn't count because the play was over, but everyone knows the play is never over at practice and a ball on the ground is never OK.

Finnegan had a second pick of Collins on a ball up the left side intended for Nate Washington.

Bulluck jawed at an SEC official who was helping monitor practice over the lack of holding a call on a Johnson TD run to the left corner.

White started right, and reversed course, cutting up the middle and getting to the end zone. It was a nice play that seemed to combine White's whole potential package: his vision and good feet benefiting from him carrying less weight.

In team red zone: A large section of the period was devoted to plays that put Vince Young on the move. A smothering defense didn't allow him to do much even on the run. Fuller got up close and personal to bat down one pass attempt.

More seven-on-seven: White caught a short pass on the right side from Collins and wasn't very careful about the boundary, stepping on the line and he turned to run up the sideline.

In seven-on-seven 2-minute drill: Young ran the first team, which was given 55 seconds, one timeout and told it needed a field goal. They moved well into range thanks to the best ball I saw Young throw in two practices: up the right side, it fit nicely between defenders Chris Hope and Nick Harper to Washington for a gain of about 35 yards.

In the locker room: White held court and further discussed Chris Johnson's declaration that Smash and Dash were getting divorced. Johnson's nicknamed himself Every Coach's Dream. White pointed out that dreams are not real.