TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt gives his observations from Tuesday’s OTA at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans were on the field Tuesday for their eighth day of organized team activities.
Here’s a look at what stood out:
• Secondary coach Kerry Coombs got worked up during a one-on-one drill with skill players and defensive backs, but anyone who has observed practices this offseason knows that’s nothing new. When asked about Coombs after practice, Titans coach Mike Vrabel delivered the line of the day.
“We let the little hyena out of his cage for practice and then we put him back in once he goes inside,” a smiling Vrabel said of Coombs. “I think everybody is starting to appreciate and realize that’s what he is. He loves waking up in the morning and being a football coach. That’s who he is. He’ll die coaching hard, I’m pretty sure of it.”
• Running back Dion Lewisis a tough guy to corral. The lightning-quick back proved that in the aforementioned movement drill when he put a move on cornerback Malcolm Butler, which drew oohs and aahs from teammates.
• Cornerbacks Joseph Esteand Rico Gafford, a pair of undrafted free agents, were in a good position to make plays on back-to-back snaps in the one-on-one drills. Later, Gafford later had a nice breakup on practice on a ball thrown his way.
• Quarterback Marcus Mariota once again had an overall solid day. He put the ball into some tight windows, and showed a nice touch on other passes. He did sail one over the head of receiver Tajae Sharpe, but cornerback Adoree’ Jackson was on Sharpe stride for stride. Mariota showed off his speed late in practice when he couldn’t find an open receiver. He tucked the ball, and sprinted into the open field for a nice gain.
• Tight end Jonnu Smith made a nice grab across the middle on a ball thrown by Mariota. The pass went just over the fingertips of linebacker Nate Palmer.
• In a red zone period, safety Kevin Byard made a nice breakup on a ball intended for receiver Darius Jennings, and he nearly picked it off.
• Later in the red zone period, Mariota connected with tight end Delanie Walker, with linebacker Jayon Brown in coverage. Walker made another nice catch across the middle in team drills.
• Cornerback LeShaun Sims made a nice breakup near the goal line on a pass intended for Walker, just moments after Demontre Hurst made a nice play on a ball intended for Lewis.
• Receiver Jordan Veasy continues to make himself known in practices. Veasy went up high in the end zone to haul in a pass thrown by Mariota. The ball popped out when Veasy landed hard on the ground, but the athletic play showed off his athleticism and playmaking ability.
• Linebacker Harold Landryhas looked good coming off the edge. On one play in particular, he beat tackle Matthew Diaz at the snap and was in quarterback Luke Falk’s face for what would’ve been a sack.
• Linebackers Rashaan Evans and Brown were in a great position to stuff Lewis on a running play.
• Running back David Fluellen isn’t going down without a fight in his competition to land the No.3 spot behind running backs Derrick Henry and Lewis. He made a nice grab on a ball thrown by Blaine Gabbert, and raced past would-be tacklers.
• Gabbert connected with undrafted rookie receiver Deontay Burnett on a nice connection across the middle of the field. Later, he found Jennings, who has been busy in OTAs.
• Linebacker Brian Orakpo nearly picked off a Mariota pass intended for receiver Taywan Taylor. The ball deflected into a group of players before landing on the ground.
• Henry has caught the ball well during the offseason work, and he’s looked like a locomotive on the open field with the ball in his hands.
• Receiver Corey Davis and tackle Taylor Lewan were not present at Tuesday’s OTA, but Vrabel said they have both been in contact with the team and position coaches. Tackle Dennis Kelly, tight end Phillip Supernaw, receiver Rishard Matthews, defensive lineman David King and receiver Michael Campanaro also did not practice on Tuesday.
• Vrabel was asked about the whereabouts of outside linebacker Kevin Dodd during his media session. “Dodd is not here,” Vrabel said. “Dodd is not here, so we can end that mystery. Dodd is not (here).”