AFC South: Titans Camp Report

Titans Camp Report: Day 19

August, 13, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:

  • Receiver Justin Hunter continued to make things difficult on cornerbacks on jump balls. He went up and got one over Coty Sensabaugh from Jake Locker. He jumped over rookie Marqueston Huff for another. He skied to the crossbar in the back of the end zone to pluck another with Sensabaugh nearby.
  • Charlie Whitehurst had to call “ball” on one throw up the right side for Michael Preston, who turned but wasn’t ready and watched it sail through his hands, though he had some room on Micah Pellerin.
  • Locker threw a duck that found the ground quickly when it looked like he was aiming for Nate Washington with Blidi Wreh-Wilson in coverage. Locker seemed to be trying to stop himself from throwing it, but the motion was well underway and it came out of his hand. Wound up harmless.
  • Other red-zone TD catches besides Hunter’s: Marc Mariani from Whitehurst and Chase Coffman stretching at the back line from Zach Mettenberger.
  • Linebacker Zaviar Gooden didn’t get his head around on a Whitehurst throw for Taylor Thompson, but Gooden got his arm up to hit the ball for a breakup.
  • While the Titans have been very reserved with their kickers, Brett Kern punted for the second day in a row.
  • Whitehurst was "sacked" when the he dashed left and ended up swallowing the ball. It looked like the play was supposed to be a handoff to Bishop Sankey but was unclear who made the mistake. Sankey made some nifty moves on a couple of carries.
  • Whitehurst threw an interception to Huff in a ball intended for Isaiah Williams.
  • DaQuan Jones is working as the second nose tackle, and Al Woods is also in the loop there behind starter Sammie Hill. Antonio Johnson has been out for a while in recovering from a knee scope. Jones and Woods can play inside or out, while Johnson doesn’t bring the same versatility. He’s likely in trouble.
  • Travis Coons hit field goals of 38 and 44 yards at the conclusion of two-minute drill work by the offense. Whisenhunt said Maikon Bonani's groin was bothering him a little bit. Coons hit both field goals on a better trajectory with room to spare. He told me he was hitting the ball a bit lower than usual as he worked with snapper Beau Brinkley and holder Kern to speed up the snap, hold, kick process. Now that they’ve made progress on that he’s getting his natural swing back and getting more height on his kicks.
  • Whisenhunt said he will allow players to go home after they return from their trip to New Orleans for Friday night’s game. That ends camp in one way. But Whisenhunt said while the Titans will structure next week like a normal practice week, that they will still work ones against ones and rotate people in competitions. For him, camp really ends when the first round of cuts come and as the team focuses on planning for an opponent.
  • That likely means the practice rules change next week and you won’t be seeing any more of these practice reports. Hope you enjoyed them and they gave you some insight.

Titans Camp Report: Day 18

August, 12, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:

  • The offense played a lot better than it did on Monday, with Jake Locker throwing three red-zone TD passes a day after he was shut out. There was still some sloppiness. Jackie Battle dropped two passes, and Taylor Thompson dropped one. Shonn Greene had a fumble, though he didn’t run the customary punishment lap which may have been because it was ruled to happen after the whistle (though there isn’t really a whistle).
  • In seven-on-seven work Charlie Whitehurst connected with Michael Preston on a deep ball over cornerback Ri'Shard Anderson. I’ve noted before that Whitehurst has put a lot of air under a lot of his deep stuff. This one was more of a line drive.
  • Kendall Wright continues to look amazing. It looks as if his confidence is as high as possible, and anything thrown near him is practically a sure thing. I hit him several times on Instagram.
  • Justin Hunter also had several good catches, beating Jason McCourty on a go route and going up easily over Tommie Campbell in the back right corner of the end zone in red zone 1-on-1s.
  • Bishop Sankey ran more authoritatively than he did a day earlier, when he fumbled a couple times. He had two live goal-line chances from the 2-yard line. The first was debatable -- I wasn’t sure he got in, he said he’s biased but admitted it needed a tape review. He was stuffed pretty quickly on a second snap.
  • Both sides were feisty. Bernard Pollard and Nate Washington had an extened back-and-forth hollering at each other, as did Daimion Stafford and Leon Washintgon. Washington told Stafford, “You can’t hit me” to which Stafford replied “You’re too little.” That exchange was repeated several times. Linebacker David Gilbert, back after a stretch out with a shoulder injury, flung tight end Chase Coffman to the ground to start a fight that spilled over. The Gilbert-Coffman dustup wasn’t anything beyond ordinary but leaked into a couple different shoving matches.
  • Right after that scrap, Anderson picked off Zach Mettenberger in the back right corner of the end zone. Anderson's been making some plays, but also gets beat. He seems like an all-or-nothing type at this point.
  • Derek Hagan caught a mid-range pass near the numbers on the right side in between a lot of defenders. I feel like he’s consistently good at finding that space on that play or ones similar to it.

Titans Camp Report: Day 17

August, 11, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • It was a horrific day for the offense, which came out flat and had mistakes in every area you can think of. There were multiple drops, fumbles, interceptions and bad snaps. Ken Whisenhunt downplayed it as one bad day, and of course it was, but the degree of badness was alarming. Said receiver Derek Hagan, who dropped a pass near the end of practice “It was bad, we didn’t get anything going at all. It was a crazy day. Nobody was catching the ball, bad blocking, missed assignments. Just an overall bad day.”
  • Shonn Greene had a fumble that Zach Brown recovered. Bishop Sankey fumbled twice, the first recovered by Brandon Copeland and the second bounced back to Sankey.
  • Kendall Wright streaked across the middle to collect a Locker pass, beating Jason McCourty. Michael Preston made a nice catch over Coty Sensabaugh up the left side from Charlie Whitehurst. Taylor Thompson had a couple more nice plays.
  • Jake Locker made a bad throw for Nate Washington in the right side of the end zone in red zone work. Tommie Campbell may have pushed off, but he easily collected the bad throw.
  • Whitehurst threw a terrible pick as he looked for Marc Mariani to his right. The line drive throw was easily caught by Blidi Wreh-Wilson who was practically halfway between quarterback and his target. Perhaps the worst play of all on a terrible day.
  • Daimion Stafford had a nice breakup of a throw for Mariani, whose helmet popped off in the process. Ri'Shard Anderson broke up a Zach Mettenberger dart for Hagan. Wreh-Wilson had a too-easy breakup of a Locker pass for Dexter McCluster. The defense made some plays, for sure. But more of the offensive failures were self-inflicted.
  • Justin Hunter wore a jersey that said “J A G” across the back instead of “Hunter.” He said Whisenhunt and receivers coach Shawn Jefferson talked to him after he forgot to convert a route Saturday night. Hunter didn’t know they’d follow through with the jersey, but they did. He said he’ll continue to work to be more than “just a guy.”
  • Hunter made a nice play in the middle of the field, winning a contested ball from Locker by taking it away from safety Michael Griffin.
  • Among the targets with drops: Delanie Walker, Preston, Washington (who had a chance to recollect the ball on the sideline but bobbled it until his feet were out), Thompson, Hagan.
  • Guard Andy Levitre said he played one game at center for the Bills against Miami and was bad at it. Whisenhunt reminded a questioner that he’d said in the past he intended to work Levitre a little at center to prepare a contingency. Now with Chris Spencer (ankle) out, it was the right time. Levitre said he lost focus and snapped as if the quarterback was under center a couple times when he wound up rolling balls past Zach Mettenberger. Ultimately, they put starting center Brian Schwenke in with the third team to settle things down.
  • Kickoffs: Maikon Bonani put one 9 yards deep and another 4 yards deep into the end zone. With less hang time, Travis Coons put one kickoff 4 yards deep. Coons also punted some.

Titans Camp Report: Day 12

August, 6, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • Defensive linemen Mike Martin (hamstring) and Antonio Johnson (knee) remain out. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said Martin could miss Saturday’s preseason opener against Green Bay and that Johnson has more of a chance to play.
  • Taylor Lewan's No. 77 jersey was missing his last name. He said he was not in trouble or anything. Fifteen minutes before practice he discovered his jersey was missing.
  • Cornerback Tommie Campbell has struggled throughout camp, but he had a much better day. He ran deep with receiver Nate Washington on one play and was close enough to cause an incompletion. He batted away another pass by Jake Locker for Washington in the end zone during red-zone work.
  • Tight end Craig Stevens does a lot of unnoticed dirty work as a blocker. He had some nice opportunities in the passing game and took advantage. He caught a throw in the red zone from Locker at the goalpost and had a leaping catch in the end zone.
  • I watched Locker closely in one red-zone period. He hit Washington, dropped a snap for a fumble that killed a play, hit Washington in the end zone, hit Stevens for that leaping touchdown and saw Campbell bat that pass away from Washington.
  • The Titans went live (with tackling) for a goal-line snap and running back Shonn Greene plowed forward and got into the end zone from the 2-yard line. On the next snap, not live, Bishop Sankey was going straight ahead, made a sharp cut right and slid around the one guy with a chance of keeping him out of the end zone. Very nice.
  • We saw some kickoffs. Maikon Bonani put one through the end zone and had another high one come down halfway into the end zone. Travis Coons took one and hit a liner that landed at the goal line and looked like a long squib kick.
  • All 2-minute drive work ended with field goals: Bonani hit from 40, Coons hit from 49 (with a low liner), Bonani hit from 48.
  • Whisenhunt missed Ri'Shard Anderson swinging his helmet at a member of the Falcons during a scrap Monday. The coach said if he had seen it, Anderson would have been pulled.
  • The Titans practice at 2:50 local time Thursday. It is closed to the public.

Titans Camp Report: Day 10

August, 4, 2014
FLOWERY BRANCH, Ga. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • The Titans got no one injured Monday in a joint practice with the Falcons at their facility, always the best development to come out of a preseason practice. Defensive linemen Antonio Johnson and Mike Martin and tight end Dorin Dickerson came in with injuries and didn’t practice.
  • The first fight turned out to be the only big fight. It came as the Titans and Falcons worked on punt returns and Coty Sensabaugh swiped a helmet off Robert McClain and a lot of players from both teams came onto the scene to get involved. It may have settled itself down, but Tommie Campbell came flying in to shove two Falcons, Bernard Pollard got involved and Ri’Shard Anderson came in with helmet in hand and swung it into Atlanta’s Ricardo Allen “We got it over and out of the way and moved on,” coach Ken Whisenhunt said. “We thought it might come, it came early and we settled down.” Whisenhunt doesn’t fine players for practice fights, but Anderson should be fined for a foolhardy and dangerous move.
  • Later, Falcons center Joe Hawley got tossed by officials for his role in a smaller scrap with Michael Griffin.
  • Whisenhunt was audibly upset when Falcons defensive end Osi Umenyiora hit Jake Locker’s arm on a pass. “He grabbed his arm, he hit his hand,” Whisenhunt said. “Osi apologized. He knows he can’t do that.”
  • Marqueston Huff looked like he’s got the potential to be a quality gunner on punt returns. I saw him quickly burst between Kimario McFadden and Jordan Mabin to get en route in a hurry.
  • On a very early snap in one-on-ones matching Titans defensive backs against Falcons receivers, Jason McCourty was right with Roddy White on a quick throw from Matt Ryan, got an arm in and watched the ball pop loose. Another pass for White with McCourty on him was overthrown. McCourty was very solid in that period. The rest of the defensive backs were not as good. Griffin drew two flags for contact. (Khalid Wooten made a nice play and had a near pick of a Jeff Matthews pass for Tramaine Thompson. I think Wooten is steadily improving though he's not playing against the high-caliber guys.)
  • In one-on-ones, the Titans' offense connected on a big play early as Justin Hunter ran away from corner Robert McClain, collecting a throw from Charlie Whitehurst. Hunter caught another deep one from Zach Mettenberger.
  • Locker didn’t throw deep much, as the Falcons seemed to be offering open stuff underneath far more often. Some plays worked great against it. Locker hit Kendall Wright out of the slot and Wright ran away from Josh Wilson for what would have been a touchdown. On another play, Dexter McCluster worked into open space in the short middle and had a ton of space from there. Whitehurst found room for some shots. One of them connected up the right side with Derek Hagan over corner Javier Arenas and safety Sean Baker.
  • In many practices Locker still seems to have one moment that could be deadly. He held the ball and shuffled left as the pocket began to collapse and threw for Delanie Walker. But Desmond Trufant got to it and dropped what should have been a pick. “For any quarterback, there is always at least one you wish you could have back,” he said when I asked him about that specific play.
  • Both of the Titans' kickers attempted field goals against the Falcons field goal defense from 33, 36, 39, 42 and 46 yards. Travis Coons made them all, Maikon Bonani missed his attempt from 46 wide right.
  • Andy Levitre took three snaps in each team period before rookie Taylor Lewan replaced him. Levitre had his appendix removed on July 24. He still didn’t participate in the high contact one-on-one pass-rush drills.
  • In one team period, the offense worked exclusively in “penny,” its three-cornerback, one-safety package.
  • Falcons receiver Harry Douglas made a catch over Sensabaugh after the Falcons had the Titans jumping around before the snap. Derrick Morgan started with his hand down at left end, stood up and backed out, then returned to his initial position while multiple defenders shouted out multiple signals and waved each other around in what appeared to be confusion.
  • Akeem Ayers made a couple plays, including batting down a pass from Sean Renfree. In one-on-ones he made a great spin move against tackle Lamar Holmes that got him to the quarterback. But in a seven-on-seven period, T.J. Yates threw to running back Devonta Freeman and Ayers had no chance against him in space.
  • Avery Williamson impressively ran step for step with running back Josh Vaughan on a deep route and the pass glanced on the rookie linebacker’s helmet.
  • Moise Fokou worked as high in the linebacker rotation as I can remember, pairing with Zaviar Gooden as the inside tandem with the second team at least some.
  • On a snap where DaQuan Jones and Al Woods were the two defensive linemen, neither put a hand on the ground. The Titans played that one with everyone starting off standing up.
  • On one snap of nickel where nose tackle Sammie Hill came off the field, the standing up, off-the-line outside linebacker Kamerion Wimbley actually lined up inside of right end Jurrell Casey.
  • There were a bunch of penalty flags on both sides. The most popular offense was illegal contact by defensive backs. The second biggest was offside. More to come on that
  • It’s always amazing to see how many guys know each other when two rosters of 90 and their coaching staffs combine. Titans linebacker Zach Brown saw Yates and exclaimed, “T.J, what’s up buddy?” Atlanta offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter chatted with Hagan. Falcons owner Arthur Blank got off his cart to hug Titans tight ends coach Mike Mularkey, who used to be Atlanta’s offensive coordinator. A lot of it was pre-practice, a lot was during the kicking period when non-special teamers had time to chat. I watched Chris Spencer and Griffin talk with Devin Hester as Pollard shouted to the Titans, “Y'all be careful with making friends right now.”
  • Find pictures at pkuharsky on Instagram.
  • The Titans are off Tuesday, then have an open practice at 9:20 a.m. CT Wednesday.

Titans Camp Report: Day 9

August, 3, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:

Titans Camp Report: Day 8

August, 2, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:

  • The Titans were at LP Field tonight, with a small audience of fans connected to one sponsor.
  • Backup center/guard Chris Spencer was excused to be in Canton, Ohio, to be on hand at the induction of old teammate Walter Jones into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
  • Guard Andy Levitre (appendix) and three defensive lineman Mike Martin (tight hamstring), Antonio Johnson (leg) and Marcus Dixon (calf) were out.
  • Between the end of offensive drives in team period and additional kicks in full team work, Travis Coons hit from 41, 39, 42 and 47 yards and missed left from 49. Maikon Bonani made from 33, 39 and 47, pulling a kick from 43 badly left and also missing slightly left from 42. It’s early to panic, but it was not a great kicking evening.
  • Punts from a machine were caught by Leon Washington, Marc Mariani and Dexter McCluster, in that order. Beyond that, a sore McCluster was given the night off.
  • In one-on-one offensive line vs. defensive line work, I saw Taylor Lewan handle Akeem Ayers and play a strong snap against DaQuan Jones. But Karl Klug had a nice swim move that got him free of Lewan. I thought Klug and Lavar Edwards rushed better than in some other practices. Klug had what amounted to a sack on the first play of the team period matching the second offense against the second defense. Chance Warmack blocked Edwards around the neck once snap and they re-played it. The guard yielded little on the second try.
  • Inside linebacker Wesley Woodyard had a interception of Zach Mettenberger in seven-on-seven. The pass was meant for Michael Preston. Jake Locker overshot Delanie Walker in that period, but completed his four other throws to four different targets.
  • The remainder of practice was four drives of about 12 plays each matching first-team offense vs. first-team defense and on down the line. The offense and defense each took a timeout along the way, and Ken Whisenhunt wasn’t happy about that. It was the team’s first in-stadium work sorting out coaching communication. Whisenhunt communicated with QBs, while defensive coordinator Ray Horton relayed calls from the booth to linebackers coach Lou Spanos. Spanos passed them on to a player, with Woodyard passing them onto the first team. “We had some mistakes on the call sheet, I blew it,” Whisenhunt said. “I gave the wrong play or we had the wrong personnel. The defense had the wrong matchup a couple times.” The Titans expect any kinks to be worked out before they are back in a week to play Green Bay in the preseason opener.
  • Locker threw a bad ball for Walker at the goal post and Zach Brown dropped an easy pick. Michael Griffin was also in close range. The defense was called for offside, but it still was a poor play. “He went through his progressions and as he came off he said, ‘The play was there, I missed the throw,’" Whisenhunt said. “He needed more air under it to get it over the top.”
  • Zach Mettenberger threw a deep ball for Preston and rookie corner Marqueston Huff got called for illegal contact. But the officials ultimately concluded the pass, which Preston had to turn around to find, was uncatchable.

Titans Camp Report: Day 7

August, 1, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • A crew of officials, headed by referee Clete Blakeman, was on the field working practice.
  • One of my favorite receiver drills has them changing direction five times running through garbage cans, then turning their head quickly to catch fast passes. When I looked over today, the throws weren’t as hard, but I saw Justin Hunter, Brian Robiskie, Marc Mariani and Derek Hagan all go five-for-five before Isaiah Williams broke the streak when he dropped a high one.
  • I have watched and written about Shawn Jefferson’s work with his receivers but failed to mention his snap call for a guy to start something isn’t hike or anything like it. It’s “WORK.”
  • Tackles and tight ends worked together on combination stuff, blocking defensive ends. The ends didn’t really get a chance to win as after early contact, they fought but didn’t churn their legs.
  • Running backs worked on route-running during their individual period.
  • Hunter caught a deep ball over Tommie Campbell up the right side from Charlie Whitehurst in seven-on-seven, and another over Campbell in one-on-ones. Later in team, Michael Preston got behind Campbell. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt said the bad plays get noticed and the good ones don’t. But Campbell has struggled a great deal in camp so far.
  • In one-on-one passing, Jason McCourty broke up a short, quick Locker pass intended for Kendall Wright.
  • Zach Mettenberger overthrew Julian Horton and got intercepted by Khalid Wooten.
  • Derrick Morgan made a big play against Locker at the start of a team period. Locker faked a toss and rolled to his right, but Morgan charged at him and batted down his intended short pass.
  • Chris Spencer had exchange problems with Whitehurst on two occasions.
  • In two-minute drill work, the first-team offense moved to a Maikon Bonani field goal. He also missed one from the 35-yardish range. Another drive ended with a Coty Sensabaugh pick of a Locker pass aimed for Wright.
  • In two-minute drill work, the second unit needed a fourth-and-long conversion and there was debate about whether the last play was a sack. That will be resolved by film review.
  • Fullback Collin Mooney got popped by safety Hakeem Smith and dropped the pass on a short ball that was way late and rated a hospital ball from Tyler Wilson.

Titans Camp Report: Day 6

July, 31, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh, left guard Taylor Lewan and center Chris Spencer worked with the starters today. Brian Schwenke was out with a leg injury that head coach Ken Whisenhunt categorized as day-today. Antonio Johnson was also out with a leg injury and is day-to-day. Delanie Walker (shoulder) and Michael Preston (fear of a concussion) were both back to work after getting hurt Tuesday.
  • Left tackle Michael Roos jumped offside in a team period and Jurrell Casey, the rusher trying to get around him said, “It’s you.”
  • Nice catches: Nate Washington plucked a low dart from Jake Locker; Rico Richardson reached over Ri'Shad Anderson to collect a deep pass up the right side from Locker; Marc Mariani made a lovely over-the-shoulder catch from Locker.
  • Locker targets in seven-on-seven period: Complete to Craig Stevens, incomplete to Washington broken up by Jason McCourty, complete to Kendall Wright, complete to Preston, complete deep to Derek Hagan. Hagan later had a nice fingertip catch while going full speed out of bounds and a drop from Charlie Whitehurst with Tommie Campbell well off.
  • In seven-on-seven, playing as the nickel, Sensabaugh worked in front of Mariani to pick off Zach Mettenberger. Bernard Pollard dropped what should have been an interception of Locker intended for Walker.
  • Struggling quarterback Tyler Wilson threw an interception to Moise Fokou, a player who has been completely invisible in camp until that moment.
  • Justin Hunter dropped a ball from Locker that he got got both hands on, but Hunter also caught a bomb over cornerback Marc Anthony from Mattenberger.
  • Crowd noise from four speakers during a team period was deafening. Michael Griffin said it was Seattle-level noise. Neither side seemed to struggle with it. Offensive coordinator Jason Michael said quarterback and linemen will use different things at different times when they have to use a silent count, so the defense can’t predict if the center, or a guard helping the center is signaling for the snap or if they are doing something else.
  • On third-and-short work, coaches called for one live snap where Bishop Sankey or Jackie Battle (sorry I don’t know which) was tackled. They went back to thudding the back, but Whisenhunt said there will be some occasions where there are some live snaps.
  • Maikon Bonani and Travis Coons each got three field goal chances in a period. They each hit from 33 and 38, and each missed from 46. Bonani said his miss was an aiming error based on the breeze.
  • The Titans practice at 2:50 CT on Friday and it’s open to the public.

Titans Camp Report: Day 4

July, 29, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • Receivers coach Shawn Jefferson is 45 and last played in 2003. That didn’t stop him from putting on pads and banging into his receivers for a blocking drill on Tuesday. They absolutely loved it, and two knocked him on his butt. More to come on that in a separate post.
  • Receiver Michael Preston was on the ground after a collision with cornerback Winston Wright. He eventually got back on his feet but was later being checked out for a concussion. Receivers were going against defensive backs, looking to make room for a guy carrying the ball behind them. It amounted to a skill-position Oklahoma drill, though, Ken Whisenhunt didn’t jump on board with that characterization.
  • I watched some one-on-ones between offensive line and defensive line. I saw bigger named defensive linemen largely having their way with lesser offensive linemen. While Jeff Adams had one snap where he was able to steer Jurrell Casey, Casey told me he was working purely on speed stuff to get around the edge. Mike Martin beat Tyler Horn, Karl Klug won against Kevin Danser, Lavar Edwards bulled Justin McCray backwards, DaQuan Jones gained ground on Gabe Ikard. I also thought linebacker Patrick Bailey beat Michael Oher.
  • Dexter McCluster didn’t get popped as much today as he did in the first padded practice, but he took at least one good shot. Casey knocked him off his feet at the end of a run on the first nine-on-seven period snap. Shonn Greene had the day off, so McCluster was first, Bishop Sankey was second, Leon Washington was third and Antonio Andrews was fourth. Sankey and Leon Washington both lost fumbles, but Washington’s looked to be the fault of quarterback Tyler Wilson. Mike Martin recovered the first and David Gilbert the second.
  • There was a stretch where I felt like both lines were jumpy and false starts or offside could have been called.
  • During some periods they were not involved in, Bernard Pollard and Wesley Woodyard did some running together on the side.
  • Michael Griffin and Justin Hunter had a lively scrap that turned into a big pushing match with a lot of players involved but it was not a big deal. They kidded about it in the locker room after. Told that Hunter made reference to his stature, Griffin searched him out in the locker room to see how they measured up. (Photo here.)
  • Fullback Collin Mooney had to reach for it but dropped the first pass I can remember thrown his way in four days of work.
  • Casey burst through and “sacked” Locker on the first play of the final team period.
  • Passes of note in red zone work: Cornerback Micah Pellerin knocked away a ball intended for Derel Walker and thrown by Tyler Wilson; Charlie Whitehurst threw a dart to Derek Hagan between George Wilson and Daimion Stafford at the goalpost; Locker found an opening on a similar play but the ball went through the hands of Dorin Dickerson; Akeem Ayers dropped an interception of a Locker pass intended for Nate Washington; Whitehurst placed a nice pass to Brian Robiskie over Micah Pellerin.

Titans Camp Report: Day 3

July, 28, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • Late in the pre-practice walk-through when the offense and defense work independent of each other, offensive assistant Luke Steckel, who was running the scout team, shouted that he needed a nickelback. Dexter McCluster, the team’s new veteran running back, was ready and willing and started to head out to play the role. Michael Preston then jumped in and did the job. But McCluster certainly doesn’t think of himself as above it.
  • Wide receiver drills can be a real gauntlet under position coach Shawn Jefferson. Monday’s was a furious pace with one very tough segment. Players change direction running between tightly spaced upside-down garbage cans, needing to get their head around super-fast each time they turned to catch a close-range dart being whistled right at them.
  • The linebackers fared well overall in the one-on-one period against running backs and tight ends. Zach Brown did well to cover Shonn Greene in the flat. Akeem Ayers prevented a completion to McCluster. Moise Fokou laid a big hit on Jackie Battle. Battle recovered and made a catch, but Fokou announced in a game situation that Battle never would have regained a visual connection with his quarterback. Patrick Bailey had a very good coverage snap against Delanie Walker. When the drill moved to pass protection, the linebackers also rushed well. Kamerion Wimbley was particularly good. Rookie running back Bishop Sankey stood out as a positive on offense to me, particularly on one snap when he stood up Colin McCarthy.
  • Cornerback Coty Sensabaugh was the starter Monday, as the Titans continued to rotate him with Blidi Wreh-Wilson. Taylor Lewan continued to get the bulk of the work at left guard, where Andy Levitre is recovering from having his appendix removed.
  • Second offensive line, left to right: Byron Stingily, Eric Olsen, Chris Spencer, Tyler Horn and Jeff Adams.
  • To illustrate something small I’ve written for ESPN The Magazine, I’ve been on the lookout for a Jake Locker-to-McCluster dump-off pass. Perhaps because I needed it, I haven’t seen it. But Charlie Whitehurst has connected with Leon Washington in a second-team version.
  • Linebacker Tig Willard laid the first giant hit of camp in a team period, popping Sankey with a loud and attention-getting run stop. Wesley Woodyard put a good pop on Delanie Walker, separating him from the ball on a pass over the middle. Mike Martin delivered one of several big hits on McCluster.
  • In a one-on-one pass-rush period, Lewan did some nice work, showing strength versus the mammoth Ropati Pitoitua and handling Karl Klug. But Jurrell Casey pretty much flew by Lewan. Sammie Hill tipped Chance Warmack over at one point. Coaches blew the whistle pretty quickly to end each snap.
  • Whitehurst floated a pretty pass over rookie Marqueston Huff into the arms of Marc Mariani, who continues to play well. Whitehurst looks to loft most of his deep stuff on that high arc where a ball can drop in.
  • Taylor Thompson had a lesser day than the first two days, with a drop of a Zach Mettenberger pass with Daimion Stafford in coverage.
  • Veteran receiver Derek Hagan has been solid and looks like he can get into the mix with Mariani and Michael Preston for the fourth and fifth spots in the receiving corps.
  • Nate Washington showed good burst on a pretty reverse and coach Ken Whisenhunt joked they brought the elder statesman out of the archives for the play.
  • Former Titans linebacker Keith Bulluck watched practice and could not talk highly enough about Jackie Battle, who’s working at the front-line fullback. “He played like you are supposed to play on the first day in pads,” Bulluck said.

Titans Camp Report: Day 2

July, 27, 2014
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- A daily review of the hot topics coming out of Tennessee Titans training camp:
  • In one-on-ones with receivers against defensive backs, undrafted rookie wideout Julian Horton matched up against undrafted rookie corner Ri'Shard Anderson. Jake Locker's pass sailed further downfield than where Horton had broken to the sideline. As Anderson looked back after the ball went incomplete, Locker pointed to where he should have been. That’s not vocal, but it did illustrate the sort of ownership and willingness to be heard that Locker said he’s been more reluctant to show in the past.
  • There was a stiff wind that had a bearing on a lot of passes. Charlie Whitehurst looked most affected by it to me, particularly on some deep balls in one-on-ones where he chose to put a lot of air under passes. Even Zach Mettenberger, the strongest-armed quarterback on the team, threw some wobblers. Ken Whisenhunt said he was happy with the wind, because the Titans were sure to get something like it on a game day at some point. Long-time assistant equipment man Matt Thompson has always shown a big arm. He made one of the day’s best throws when Leon Washington needed a ball in the end zone to bring out as the team worked on return positioning. It was over 40 yards in the air, a rope with a nice arc and plenty of zip.
  • Whisenhunt said more cover-2 was as big a reason for the reduction in deep completions from Day 1 to Day 2 as the wind. Defensive coordinator Ray Horton said no deep balls have been a theme since he joined the team and he was glad the offense hit them on the first day so he could say “this is what we’re talking about” to the defense.
  • There were some big mismatches where the matchups got out of sync. I guess the lesser player in Justin Hunter vs. Anderson and Rico Richardson vs. Coty Sensabaugh has a lot to learn from such a snap. But I liked when Tommie Campbell stepped on the field, replacing Khalid Wooten, for a snap against Justin Hunter. Campbell struggled against Marc Mariani on Saturday and had a tough time again, particularly in some snaps against Hunter.
  • Blidi Wreh-Wilson got the second day work as the second starting cornerback, after Sensabaugh had it on Saturday. Wreh-Wilson stuck with Hunter on a deep route early in seven-on-seven and Locker looked to want to go there, but ended up checking down.
  • Taylor Lewan got the bulk of the work as the starting left guard with Andy Levitre (appendix) out and Byron Stingily heading inside to deal with sickness.
  • Michael Preston worked higher in the receiver pecking order on Day 2, and Mariani was lower.
  • Whisenhunt said at the start that competitive positions wouldn’t see the same guy at the front of the line for multiple days. That bodes well for the status of Jackie Battle, who was the front-liner at fullback ahead of Collin Mooney again on Sunday.
  • Locker was running comfortably and without any hesitation. In one team period, he pulled it down after seeing nothing to his liking and ran up the middle, threw a completion along the right sideline to Nate Washington after rolling right and also rolled left and took off that direction. There was nothing to suggest his surgically repaired foot was any sort of issue.
  • Nate Washington returned to the receiver group jawing hard at cornerback Micah Pellerin, telling him not to do that and “if you’re beat, you’re beat.” Pellerin dropped a pick of Whitehurst on a throw Whitehurst didn’t seem to step into as strongly as he could have.
  • Second team defense: LE Al Woods, NT Antonio Johnson, RE Mike Martin, LOLB Shaun Phillips, ILB Zaviar Gooden, ILB Colin McCarthy, ROLB Akeem Ayers, LCB Tommie Campbell, S George Wilson, S Daimion Stafford, RCB Sensabaugh.
  • Washington, Dexter McCluster, Bishop Sankey and Mariani didn’t field balls, but each brought balls out of the end zone in a kickoff return period.
  • Kendall Wright made a nice sliding catch in traffic in front of Sensabaugh.
  • Stafford picked off a Tyler Wilson pass for tight end Jason Schepler.
  • Bernard Pollard was busting on Zach Mettenberger from the sideline as Mettenberger led the offense, shouting "Roll Tide." That's what someone said to Metenberger recently before sucker punching the former LSU player at a Nashville bar.