Buck Reising, Tennessee Titans reporter and host of Tackling Music City, provides four items of note from the team’s Tuesday voluntary organized team activities (OTAs).
— Buck Reising (@BuckReising) May 22, 2018
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Offseason conditioning is in full swing at St. Thomas Sports Park and the 2018 Tennessee Titans are beginning to take shape. Here are four takeaways from Day 2 of the team’s OTAs:
- Back to Base-ics
- When last we had a chance to speak to with quarterback Marcus Mariota in April, an area he said he was focusing on heading into the 2018 campaign was to widen the base from which he throws to improve his overall mechanics.
- “(The process of improving my base) really stared back in February, just working out,” Mariota said. “It’s something that I had worked on in California and was really kind of focusing on that. It’s gotten better, I think, being out (at practice). I’m fortunate that (offensive coordinator) Matt (LaFleur) and (quarterbacks coach) Pat (O’Hara) and the rest of the offensive staff continue to incorporate those principles of having a base and being able to throw from that platform.”
- A narrow base affects a quarterback’s balance (especially, in a muddy pocket) and accuracy. With Mariota throwing more interceptions last season than in either of his first two, any improvements on his throwing mechanics the Heisman trophy winner can make heading into Year 4 will be a welcome sight for Tennessee.
- The four-man Titans draft class and 22 undrafted rookie free agents have been integrating in with the team’s veteran players over the course of the last week.
- “I think all the rookies are trying to get caught up to speed with how the veterans work, how they prepare and what there routine is,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “We only had four draft picks so I think it’s a big group of rookies that are going to be making up that class this year.”
- Without the ability to practice in pads at this point in the offseason, it’s difficult to get a full measure of the four picks or undrafted players on the roster. Rashaan Evans (1st round) and Harold Landry (2nd round) have the best chance to make an immediate impact on the field and received praise, to an extent. Vrabel made it clear, though, that all rookies are adjusting to the speed of the game at the professional level and have a good ways yet to go.
- Notable Absences
- Two players of note were missing from Tuesday’s practices: outside linebackers Brian Orakpo and Kevin Dodd.
- “What we’ve tried to do is we’ve tried to coach the guys that are out there,” said Vrabel when asked about the two defenders. “For whatever reason, guys aren’t here but they have done a great job. They’ve reached out. They don’t have to be here, we all understand that this is voluntary. So, if they can be here, usually they’re here. They’ve done a great job of reaching out to me, the position coaches and the coordinators about what’s going on. I would anticipate hearing from those guys if they don’t plan on being here (Wednesday).”
- Additionally, wide receiver Rishard Matthews and right tackle Jack Conklin were present but not participating Tuesday. Of Matthews, Vrabel said that he is not dealing with an injury but was held out anyway.
- “I think right now, we’re just waiting to get him back,” said Vrabel. “Whether that be through conditioning or whatever his situation may be, we’re just trying to make sure that he’s ready to go when we get out there 11-on-11.”
- Conklin suffered a torn left ACL in the Titans 35-14 postseason loss to the New England Patriots in January. Vrabel said he’s progressing as planned but does not anticipate him being ready this spring.