This morning I had a media credential for the Titans joint practice with the Buccaneers. If you aren’t familiar with St. Thomas Sports Park (where the Titans practice), there are 3 fields out there. The Titans offense worked against the Bucs defense on one field (the one closest to the gate where you come in) and the Titans defense worked against the Bucs offense on the far field. The special teams periods took place on the middle field.
There was no way to watch both the Titans offense and the Titans defense. I chose to watch the defense today because so much of the talk early in camp has been about how good the Titans defensive backs have been. I wanted to see them go up against the Bucaneers receivers- which is a pretty talented group.
The biggest thing I noticed was Mike Evans is a stud. The Titans defensive backs had absolutely no answer for him- and all of the big three in Adoree Jackson, Malcolm Butler and Logan Ryan had their chances. To be fair, I am not sure there are many corners in the league who have much of a chance against the 6’5 250 pound wideout.
The Tampa receivers won pretty consistently in the one on ones, but again to be fair, that is to be expected. The receiver has a pretty big advantage when there is no pass rush against the quarterback. You can see quite a few of the one on one battles from Paul Kuharsky here.
When it moved to 7 on 7 the Titans DBs faired much better. There still weren’t many balls that hit the ground, but the Buccaneers weren’t able to hit any plays over the top. There were multiple times where the Tampa QBs had to double clutch before finding an open guy. That is a great sign in a 7 on 7 period that is also slanted toward offensive success.
The Titans D looked good in 11 on 11 as well. Again, a lot of completions but Jameis Winston and company were not able to really hit anything down the field. He could, however, throw it to Evans whenever he wanted and the Titans weren’t stopping it.
There was pretty cool exchange where one of the Buccaneers QBs overthrew Evans down the field but the ref threw a flag for holding on Malcolm Butler. Evans told the ref it wasn’t holding and told Butler he made a nice play.
There was one period where everyone from both teams was on the same field. That series opened with Marcus Mariota finding Corey Davis on a big play that looked like a deep in. It was a great throw delivered on time. There was a lot of buzz out there about the day that Davis had, but I just didn’t get to see much of that because I was watching the defense.
There was a play where Jason Pierre-Paul beat Taylor Lewan and got to Mariota. Mariota went down, which is not something to want to see in a practice. Lewan took exception to it and was in JPP’s face after the next play. Mariota said after practice that it wasn’t his finest moment because he tripped over his own feet.
The heated discussion between Lewan and JPP was the only thing that even resembled a skirmish. Every player that was asked about the chances of a fight during practice said they weren’t out there for that. They were out there to be professional and get their work done.
The Titans and Bucs will be back on the field against each other tomorrow morning at 9:50 at St. Thomas Sport Park. Unfortunately I will not be able to be out there because I have a meeting at my real job that I can’t miss.
Tomorrow night we are going to have Rhett Bryan from Titans Radio on to discuss both days of practice. I talked to him out there today and he said he has spent most of training camp watching practice with Dave McGinnis, so he will have an interesting perspective.