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).
NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The third and final week of OTAs is underway for the Tennessee Titans as we inch closer and closer to actual football. Here are four takeaways from Day 8 of the team’s 10 voluntary practices:
- Defensive Efficiency
- While it is difficult to get a full measure of the Titans offensive and defensive proficiency as both sides work towards installing concepts brought in with the new coaching staff, the Dean Pees’s unit has looked swift and sharp.
- “At this time of year, new defense and new offense, I think new defense is going to win day in and day out,” said coach Mike Vrabel of the various installations and how players were adapting to it. “We’re making plays, we’re hitting plays. Not that the defense is perfect all the time, but I think that there is a tempo, there is a competitiveness, there is a style in which we want to practice and if we can kind of stay that course, hopefully, we’ll be OK.”
- A couple of plays in particular made by the defense stood out to me today. Outside linebacker Brian Orakpo got a paw on a pass from quarterback Marcus Mariota to tip it up for a near-interception. A few plays later, Logan Ryan came screaming off of the edge on a corner blitz and “sacked” (in parentheses because of the non-contact limitations) Mariota for what would have been a substantial loss.
- The Little Hyena
- Defensive backs coach Kerry Coombs has developed quite the reputation for his expressive style. Head coach Mike Vrabel was intimately familiar with Coombs’s outspokenness during their time together on Ohio State’s coaching staff and has cited it was one of many reasons for bringing Coombs to Nashville.
- “We let the little hyena out of his cage for practice and then we put him back in once he goes inside,” Vrabel joked when asked about Coombs. “I think everybody’s starting to appreciate and realize that that’s what he is. He loves waking up in the morning every day and being a football coach. That’s who he is and he’ll die coaching hard, I’m pretty sure of it.”
- In The Open Field
- One of the new wrinkles to OTAs under Vrabel and his staff is an non-contact, open-field tackling drill designed to pit receivers and running backs against defensive backs one-on-one. The two players competing would begin the exercise in the middle of the square-shaped drill marked by cones with their backs to each other.
- When the signal was given, the two players would take off towards the cone they were facing and turn to square up with each other. The ball-carrier would then attempt to evade the defender while the defender attempted to use the “sideline” as leverage and force the offensive player out of bounds before he reached his objective.
- Missing In Action
- A number of players were not seen on the practice field on Tuesday. Corey Davis, Philip Supernaw, Michael Campanaro, Taylor Lewan, Kevin Dodd and David King did not make appearances.
- Rishard Matthews, Dennis Kelly and Jack Conklin were all spotted at various points in practice but were not participants.
- Vrabel said that everyone who was not there had informed the necessary parties but he did, when pressed say that “(Kevin) Dodd is not here. Dodd is not here. He is not. So we can end that mystery. Dodd is not.”