Jim Wyatt, SENIOR WRITER/EDITOR
NASHVILLE – The Titans hit the field for a minicamp practice on Tuesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.
Some observations …
-Tight end Jonnu Smith, tackle Jack Conklin, guard Rodger Saffold, tight end Delanie Walker, defensive lineman Jeffery Simmons and kicker Ryan Succop did not practice on Tuesday.
-Receiver A.J. Brown was back on the practice field after leaving early during last week’s OTA.
-The defense won the day, especially early as quarterback Marcus Mariota and the offense struggled. Mariota was off target on several throws in the first team period, as the defense applied pressure. Mariota fared better in later periods, especially in the red zone on shorter throws. Already I’ve seen a lot of overreaction tweets on my timeline following practice about the performance of the offense on Tuesday. I’m not going to sit here and write it was a good day for the offense when it clearly wasn’t. But let’s keep it in perspective: It was one day (1-2 periods really) and it followed a stretch of OTA practices last week when the offense dominated a lot of sessions. So yes, it was a shaky start in shorts, t-shirts and a helmet for the offense, but hardly anything to get worked up over in June.
-Cornerback Malcolm Butler made several nice plays in the session, including a near interception of Mariota on a ball across the middle of the field.
-On several occasions, Mariota and quarterback Ryan Tannehill were forced to tuck the ball and run with it because of pressure, and solid coverage from the secondary.
-Titans coach Mike Vrabel gave the defense credit for causing the offense to struggle early. The Titans blitzed often in the first team period, forcing Mariota to get rid of the football on several plays.
-Safety Dane Cruikshank had a near interception on a ball thrown by Tannehill.
-Defensive back Mike Jordan had an interception of quarterback Logan Woodside in a drill that featured back-ups, and he made a nice break-up earlier.
-Vanderbilt safety LaDarius Wiley also made a nice play while defending a ball thrown by Woodside.
-In a red zone period, Mariota connected with receivers Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor on some short tosses before a well-thrown touchdown toss to receiver Corey Davis. Later, Mariota connected with Taylor on another short touchdown toss.
-On back-to-back plays, Tannehill connected with Adam Humphries on a touchdown toss, before overthrowing Sharpe on a ball defended by LeShaun Sims.
-At the end of the session, the Titans worked a lot on screens, as Mariota and Tannehill dumped off passes to running backs Derrick Henry, Dion Lewis and Jeremy McNichols.
-In another period with back-ups, receiver Jalen Tolliver got behind the defense and caught a long pass.
-Christion Abercrombine of Tennessee State University was a guest of the Titans on Tuesday. He spent time with several players, including quarterback Marcus Mariota and safety Kevin Byard.
-Luke Conger, a Father Ryan student who is battling cancer, also toured the facility with his family and met with players after practice.
-The Titans are scheduled for another minicamp practice on Wednesday.