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Titans Training Camp: Practice Five Positional Breakdown

Photo credit: Travis May

The Titans entered day five of training camp practices coming off a day of rest. Well, at least a day of rest from practice field action. Today started off slower, easing players back into full speed physical scrimmage reps. But once things got rolling, the intensity picked up right where the Titans left it.

After the last positional breakdown there were several questions on the defensive side of the ball. So, per your request, we’ll kick things off with defense today. Enjoy!


Many wondered how the Titans would look this year at outside linebacker without Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan. After today’s practice there shouldn’t be as much concern.

Harold Landry and Sharif Finch anchored first team reps to open walk through and the first 11v11 session. Both forced a few solid pressures on Mariota throughout practice. Cameron Wake was the first sub in the OLB rotation, with Kamalei Correa following shortly thereafter. It looks like Landry and Correa are the one-two at ROLB. Finch and Wake are one-two at LOLB. Beyond that Derick Roberson and Gimel President round out the likely edge rushers competing for active roster spots as of today. President actually knocked down a pass at the line of scrimmage. Roberson was noticeably pushing offensive lineman around throughout practice, and actually looked like he broke up a little scuffle early. The depth on the edge certainly looks promising.

The inside linebacker depth looks like a lot of fun too. Rashaan Evans and Jayon Brown saw the bulk of early first team reps on the day. However, Woodyard jumped into the rotation quickly. Darren Bates hopped in alongside Woodyard for early second team reps, with Nigel Harris hopping in as the fifth inside linebacker. In fact, Harris even saw some significant work in 7v7 with the backups, which was atypical.

The team may just be limiting Woodyard’s snaps (like they are with Delanie right now), but we may see more of Evans and Jayon on the inside this season. Either way, Jayon is certainly not coming off the field in nickel and dime packages. He’s certainly the most gifted cover linebacker the Titans have right now. That showed up today in scrimmage and RB vs LB coverage drills.

Defensive Line

Without Jurrell Casey and Jeffery Simmons the Titans defensive front certainly looks different, but the next four options on the line are no scrubs.

DaQuan Jones and Matt Dickerson logged the most snaps with the first team defense today. But Austin Johnson and Brent Urban saw a healthy amount of work as well. These four may not be the best pass rushing linemen, but they have dominated the trenches every single day. The only time the offense gains any yards on the ground it’s done bouncing the ball outside. The average height and weight of the current Titans top four lineman is 6’5”, 307 pounds. There’s a reason they stuffing the middle.

Urban still sees the most action when the Titans go nickel. Johnson saw significant run in red zone 11v11. Braxton Hoyett came in on the goal line to add another 302 pounds to the front. The Titans are clearly still trying a few things up front, but there’s a clear top four without Casey and Simmons on the field.

Defensive Backs

Right now there’s a clear top five at both corner and safety:

Safety: First Team (Kevin Byard, Kenny Vaccaro), Second Team (Amani Hooker, Dane Cruikshank, LaDarius Wiley)

Corner: First Team (Logan Ryan, Adoree’ Jackson, Malcolm Butler), Second Team (LeShaun Sims, Tye Smith)

Adoree’ Jackson had been inconsistent at other practices leading into today, but had a solid performance today. He almost made a diving interception in the end zone covering Taywan Taylor perfectly in one-on-ones. Later he made a diving stop over the middle in coverage against Corey Davis. His ability to diagnose and close quickly is incredible when he’s in the right position.

Amani Hooker is filling in as the swiss army knife the Titans drafted him to be. He was always first safety on with the second team, but got some work with the ones again. He also slid into the box and slot to cover receivers, tight ends, and running backs today as well. Hooker’s going to have an active rookie year.

Cruikshank and Wiley are looking like the four and five on the back end, with Wiley looking more comfortable every days. He definitely doesn’t look like a rookie.


There isn’t really much to say about this position. Mariota logged a nearly mistake free day once again. He overthrew Corey Davis and Anthony Firkser on a couple different plays, but made some really nice throws. Mariota’s best connections came on corner and deep in routes today. He found Davis, Sharpe, and Jennings on impressive 20-yard corner route throws today.

Tannehill almost threw a pick in end zone drills and overthrew Taywan later in practice, but he looks to be in firm control of the offense already. Second year player, Logan Woodside, got an extended look at the end of practice and found Anthony Ratliff-Williams deep down the left sideline, but then immediately overthrew Kalif Raymond on a post by more than a yard.

Running Backs

It sounds like Derrick Henry’s going to be out for another week or two (at least), but let’s talk running back.

First off, after fully charting three practices or running back reps, the Titans are in huge trouble without Derrick Henry.

Dion Lewis isn’t bad, and he might not be the entire problem, but the Titans ground game hasn’t had a single truly exciting carry to this point in 11v11. The defensive front is either going to be a top five group or the running game is struggling mightily so far. However, it’s not all been bad.

Jeremy McNichols has been a pleasant surprise. He’s shown well as a receiving back and continues to earn more first team snaps.

David Fluellen is showing versatility splitting reps at halfback and fullback. When the Titans go with two backs on the field Fluellen is usually in the mix. The one exception was when the Titans went 20 personnel (two RBs, 3 WRs) and put Lewis and McNichols on the field. That spread things out with a ton of speed.

Dalyn Dawkins found the end zone in red zone 11v11 today.

As for Alex Barnes, he got an extended look with the third team to round out practice today, but unless something changes he looks like the most confident cut at the position right now.

Let’s take a look at how the running backs snaps were distributed today.

Running Back Usage

RB Snaps 1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team Total Snaps
RB Snaps 1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team Total Snaps
Dion Lewis 16 1 0 17
Jeremy McNichols 11 7 0 18
David Fluellen 8 6 1 15
Dalyn Dawkins 2 9 2 13
Alex Barnes 0 0 16 16
Derrick Henry (OUT) 0 0 0 0

Wide Receiver

Cameron Batson was placed on injured reserve, so the Titans decided to bring in a couple new faces. Tanner McEvoy (former Wisconsin product, NFL vet) and Papi White (rookie from Ohio) joined the Titans for their first practice. The team also cut slot receiver and potential returner, Joseph Parker. He only logged five scrimmage snaps on Sunday so that’s no surprise.

Corey Davis (again) showed out all day catching more receptions than any other Titan. He also had the catch of the day, leaping over Malcolm Butler on a corner route by the left sideline. Mariota clearly trusts Corey to go up and make a play this season.

Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor both had some decent success in end zone one-on-ones. Tajae pulled a Randy Moss on Adoree’ on one of the first reps in practice for a score.

And to the surprise of absolutely no one there still isn’t a defender who can stay with Adam Humphries. He started off end zone one-on-ones with three touchdowns in a row. Humphries short area quickness is going to drive opposing defenses crazy this year.

The Titans top five receivers seem pretty clear: Corey Davis, Tajae Sharpe, Adam Humphries, Taywan Taylor, AJ Brown (when he’s back). What they do after that is the question.

Darius Jennings caught the second most receptions among all Titans receivers today (behind only Corey). He’s clearly a savvy veteran that the team likes and can add some value on special teams. Jennings is the likely favorite to make the team (if the Titans keep six) at this point. However, Kalif Raymond and Anthony Ratliff-Williams have separated themselves from the rest of the pack. Raymond had a diving catch over the middle. Ratliff-Williams had the most impressive catch among backups today clutching the ball by his finger tips and toe-tapping on the left side line 30 yards downfield.

But let’s look at the exact snap count and alignment data for the receivers from today.

Wide Receiver Usage

WR Snaps 1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team Total Snaps
WR Snaps 1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team Total Snaps
Corey Davis 21 0 0 21
Tajae Sharpe 22 0 0 22
Adam Humphries 17 0 0 17
Taywan Taylor 13 15 0 28
Cameron Batson (IR) 0 0 0 0
Darius Jennings 6 14 0 20
Kalif Raymond 0 12 7 19
Anthony Ratliff-Williams 0 8 12 20
Cody Hollister 0 6 7 13
Jalen Tolliver 0 1 11 12
Tanner McEvoy 0 0 6 6
Papi White 0 0 7 7
AJ Brown (OUT) 0 0 0 0
Joseph Parker (CUT) 0 0 0 0

Wide Receiver Alignment

WR Alignment Left WR Slot Left Slot Right Right WR
WR Alignment Left WR Slot Left Slot Right Right WR
Corey Davis 7 2 3 9
Tajae Sharpe 10 5 1 6
Adam Humphries 1 7 7 2
Taywan Taylor 19 1 0 8
Cameron Batson (OUT) 0 0 0 0
Darius Jennings 5 2 0 13
Kalif Raymond 2 6 8 3
Anthony Ratliff-Williams 7 0 3 10
Cody Hollister 8 1 1 3
Jalen Tolliver 5 0 0 7
Tanner McEvoy 4 0 0 2
Papi White 0 5 2 0
AJ Brown (OUT) 0 0 0 0
Joseph Parker (CUT) 0 0 0 0

Tight Ends

Last but not least, the tight ends for the Titans are all looking pretty solid. Yes, Jonnu Smith is still out, but the rest haven’t missed a beat.

Delanie Walker’s reps are still being limited right now, but he’s looked smooth and quick when active.

Mycole Pruitt has established himself as the primary blocking tight end and is currently outsnapping all Titans tight ends.

Anthony Firkser is clearly the best true receiver of the bunch right now. He scored a touchdown on a quick out route and just missed another (overthrown by Mariota).

Ryan Hewitt seems to have climbed the depth chart today as well, logging three snaps with the first team. But let’s see the exact snap breakdown from today.

Tight End Usage

TE Snaps 1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team Total Snaps
TE Snaps 1st Team 2nd Team 3rd Team Total Snaps
Delanie Walker 14 0 0 14
Mycole Pruitt 15 1 0 16
Anthony Firkser 9 8 0 17
Ryan Hewitt 3 6 3 12
Parker Hesse 1 4 8 13
Cole Wick 0 8 10 18
Jonnu Smith (OUT) 0 0 0 0

I hope you’re enjoying these breakdowns! If you have any suggestions for future Titans practices, just leave a comment!