The Tennessee Titans will do their best to make Saturday night’s Kickoff Party scrimmage at Nissan Stadium have a game-type feel.
Coach Mike Vrabel announced Wednesday that the Titans have chosen captains based on their awards for off-season work, and those four players will draft up the roster and the team will play an intrasquad scrimmage that will be full-on football except in the kicking game.
Quarterback Marcus Mariota and defensive lineman DaQuan Jones will captain one team. Jones will be filling in for Cameron Batson, who was an award winner, but went on injured reserve Wednesday.
The other squad will be chosen by running back David Fluellen and defensive lineman Matt Dickerson.
Mariota said he had not decided on who is No. 1 pick would be, but definitely wants to come out on top in the scrimmage.
“It’s going to be interesting. First of all, it’s going to be a lot of fun. I’m very excited. It’s going to be a good atmosphere for our fans,” Mariota said. “Really, when it comes down to it, I want to win. Really, I’m just trying to find advantages and creative matchups, but I think kind of across the board, it’s going to be very interesting to split up the team.”
Vrabel said it was an idea he toyed with last year, but did not follow through on.
“It’s going to be a real game. It’s going to be a real game without the kickoffs and without the tackling but we’re going to put the ball down. They drafted coaches, they drafted players and we’re excited,” the coach said. “I wanted to do it last year but I probably talked myself out of it. So now, guys that were in the second group or the third group could be playing next to guys in the first group. We’ll see how guys respond. It’s pretty much like a game day roster. One team has eight linemen and the other team has eight, so it’s kind of how you operate in a game.”
After the game, country singer Jake Owen will perform a concert and there will be fireworks. Admission is free.
Offensive line shuffle
The Titans again shuffled their offensive line once again on Wednesday, starting a new right guard for the fourth straight day. This time, however, the right guard was normal starting center Ben Jones, who slid over to play next to right tackle Jack Conklin, while third-year pro Corey Levin manned the center position.
Levin found out he would be running with the ones not long before practice began.
“They just let you know when you go in the morning meetings, Hey, here’s depth chart for the day. We’re just trying to find a combination that works. That’s what training camp is for, and I think we’re doing a great job of getting guys in different spots and seeing what works,” Levin said.
In order of appearance at right guard with the first team, the Titans have used Kevin Pamphile, Aaron Stinnie, rookie Nate Davis and Jones at the position.
Play of the day
Corey Davis has been having a strong training camp, making highlight catches almost daily, including another on Wednesday. But it was the catch that he didn’t make in practice that turned out to be the play of the day – on the defensive side of the football.
Davis went over the middle to catch a ball from Marcus Mariota, and Adoree’ Jackson, who has been victimized a couple of times in those matchups, came from the back side and raked the ball out of Davis’ grasp, causing a drop.
The Titans offense as a whole had a bit of a sluggish feel to it in the heat on Wednesday. Ryan Tannehill had a pass intercepted by Gimel President, and another Tannehill pass was batted near the line of scrimmage by LeShaun Sims.
Marcus Mariota completed a long ball to Corey Davis, but the ball had a bit of float to it.
Overall, it appeared that the defense won the day on Wednesday.