The Titans were in shoulder pads and shorts once again today, but that didn't keep things from getting quite physical, both before and after the whistle. By my count, the Titans have only been in full pads once in two weeks. It's hard to see how our tackling, which was pretty bad against Buffalo, is going to get any better if they don't at least go through hits at full speed every now and then. I know they want to avoid any injuries, but I would at least like to see a couple of tackling drills out there. More thoughts after the jump.
Kerry Collins looked sharp. Vince Young and Patrick Ramsey did not. Vince threw a short swing pass that hit Lendale White in the foot. Lendale showed off his soccer skills, kicking the ball away. Vince did make some nice throws, including a pretty corner route to Dominique Edison.
- Cortland Finnegan was given the day off. He ran through a few exercises early on, but sat out all of the contact drills. I was told by one of the Titans staff that there was no cause for concern and that it was just a routine day off that coaches grant from time to time. DT Jason Jones was still in a walking boot and WR Chris Davis and LB Steven Tulloch were also still out.
- When a starter misses a day, that means a back up gets a chance to show his worth with the first team. With Finnegan taking it easy, CB DeMarcus Faggins took advantage and made a couple of really nice pass break-ups. CB is one of the positions that I worry about most in terms of depth, so it's great to see Faggins step up like that.
- Nick Harper showed no signs of aging today. He stayed right with some of the younger receivers during one on one CB/WR drills. He also broke up 2 passes, one against Justin Gage and another against Jared Cook in the red zone passing drill.
- This Hawk update is brought to you by Pinoy Titan: WR Lavelle Hawkins looked great today. He made one fantastic grab with Michael Griffin draped all over him. In Chris Davis's absence he even got some reps out of the slot with the first team offense. He caught every ball that it came his way, and didn't have any noticeable mental errors. He showed again today that he has all of the physical tools to be a weapon out of the slot if he can just get his head straight.
- Paul Williams had really bad day. From the very beginning in routes practice (no defender) he was dropping balls that hit him in the hands. That trend continued throughout practice in 7 on 7s. I counted at least 4 truly unforgivable drops. For a guy who hasn't shown squat in his first two seasons, days like today could lead to him being shown the door in favor of rookies like Dudley Guice and Dominique Edison. Both Guice and Edison continue to improve and probably have more raw physical skills. I'm all for keeping guys who show early promise over a guy who has done less than nothing with his first two seasons.
- TE Jared Cook is a monster. He can beat people down the field with his speed, and even when guys do stay with him he knows how to use his huge frame to shield off the defender. He ran a go route and Michael Griffin was with him all the way, but Cook still made the catch because Griffin simply couldn't wrestle the ball away.
- At one point during the full team scrimmage, the 2nd string secondary was going against the first string offense. Not a fair fight. Nate Washington torched CB Cary Williams and S Tuff Harris and caught a beautiful bomb from Kerry Collins. Nate also burned CB Tanard Davis on a triple move during 1 on 1 practice. Not only is Nate quite fast, he's probably even quicker.
- When they practiced kick off returns, they had a trio of young guys taking reps at returner. Corner backs Ryan Mouton and Jason McCourty, who have done this previously in camp and RB Javon Ringer all took their turn and looked pretty good, though the focus of the drill was on blocking schemes so it wasn't close enough to full speed to make any judgements.
- Rookie Sen'Derrick Marks was unblockable at times during the pass rush drill. He flat out whipped back up players Doug Datish and Fernando Velasco. Tony Brown go the best of Eugene Amano and rookie Mitch King showed some of his first flashes in camp against Jason Murphy.
- Michael Griffin jacked up rookie WR Dominique Edison over the middle after a catch.
- DE Larry Birdine appeared to injure his right knee but he came back after the trainers looked him over for about 10 minutes. Birdine has been one of the best no-namers in camp and I think perhaps a darkhorse to make the roster on our crowded d-line. I was glad to see him get back on the field.
- TE Craig Stevens is a brawler. We had 3 scuffles after the play today and he was involved in all 3. He threw down with DE Dave Ball, LB Stanford Keglar, and DE Kyle Vanden Bosch. I don't know who in their right mind would try to fight with KVB, but TE Alge Crumpler apparently sensed the danger Stevens was putting himself in, as he sprinted across the field to try and pull him out of the fray.