The Titans first day in pads wound up being a better day for the defense than it was the offense.
The offense had at least four penalties on the day, including some on back-to-back plays in a red zone period.
“A lot of mistakes—rookies. We had some drops. More offensively than defensively,” Titans coach Mike Mularkey said. “I’ve been really pleased with our defense the last three days. We’ve got three good days of work in, we’ve gotten better every day.
“Offensively, we struggled a little bit early. Really, not until the last period did we have a good practice when things looked clean. Again, some of that’s the norm when you get the pads on and you’re in this environment as a rookie.”
Mularkey praised the group’s communication throughout the first three days, saying that it extends to all levels of the defense.
“The communication is outstanding. We’re doing a lot, we’re in a lot of places—we’ve got a lot of people in different places and we’ve got a lot of new guys in different places. I think the communication has been great, you can see the value of the offseason workout—what it does for you,” he said.
The defense’s superiority on day one was given an exclamation point when Da’Norris Searcy had a red zone interception of Marcus Mariota, certainly a rarity for the Titans’ QB. According to Mularkey, the celebration of Searcy’s pick was not its rareness, but instead the result of a contest that allows the defense to end meetings 30 minutes early Monday night.
The Titans are limiting the number of throws veteran backup Matt Cassel is getting behind Marcus Mariota in camp. Cassel is still coming back from a thumb injury that required surgery in OTA work, giving Alex Tanney lots of extra work in camp.
“We’re doing a lot out here with him, and when we get in preseason, he’ll have his opportunities,” Mularkey said of Tanney.
Ups and downs
After an impressive first day, Corey Davis’ second day had some inconsistencies, according to Mularkey.
“Probably not as good as yesterday,” the coach said when asked about the first-round pick’s play Monday. “As I was walking over here I talked to him. I asked him to give me a number from one to 10. It was better yesterday than it was today. I like that he’s hard on himself, that’s a good sign.”
Trickery for Taylor
The Titans other rookie wide receiver Taywan Taylor got some work on some misdirection plays during practice, showing his speed and ability to run with the football. Taylor also had another nice deep ball catch in one-on-one period.
“I think he’s got some ability to make plays and be an explosive player, I think we have a number of those guys. Again, Taylor had a couple plays that we designed today for him,” Mularkey said of the third-round pick from Western Kentucky.
In the battle for a backup cornerback job, free agent pickup Demontre Hurst, formerly of the Bears, has been garnering some attention with his play. He had an interception Sunday of Matt Cassel and has been around the football frequently in the early going.