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Wednesday, August 3, 2011
Titans in red zone: Locker and DBs

By Paul Kuharsky
ESPN.com

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Jake Locker and the Titans' offense paid their first visit to the red zone at practice Wednesday, and Locker threw the ball with great accuracy into tight spots during seven-on-seven work.

Here are some highlights of that period, all from when Locker was throwing to receivers:
That last throw was just excellent.

Offensive coordinator Chris Palmer said he thought it looked like the fourth or fifth time the offense has been working inside the 20, not the first.

I watched defensive coordinator Jerry Gray talk to the defensive backs, urging them to slow it down, telling them to force the quarterback to make the perfect throw. After Williams’ great catch, secondary coach Marcus Robertson indicated he was fine with it.

“They’ll hit that one out of 10 times,” he said.

After practice, I asked Gray about slowing it down.

“Be ready to break,” Gray explained. “If you run cover-2 in the middle of the field, it’s different than in the red zone. But a lot of times, a young guy doesn’t know that. What they don’t understand is the game changes...”

“Now the game breaks down to shorter increments, so you have to be a whole lot faster breaking.”

The temptation closer to the goal line can be to break faster, so what Gray and Robertson is coaching can seem counterintuitive.

The practice was like a Friday in a game week, when team’s work on red zone. Gray said you can’t fake it in tight quarters, so guys really reveal themselves.

In seven-on-seven, it's a period that favors the offense and gives Gray and Robertson plenty to review with their guys.