It was a better day for the Tennessee Titans defensive backs against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers wide receivers in their second day of joint practices together.
After many accounts on Wednesday had the Titans defensive backs struggling against the likes of Mike Evans and Desean Jackson, Tennessee’s corners and safeties seemed to fare better on Thursday as I spent the morning watching the defense go against the Bucs offense.
Adoree’ Jackson, in particular, had a nice day that included not only an acrobatic interception, plus a second pick in one-on-ones, but also added in some back flips. He did one during-one-on-one drills and then later when the two teams came together to scrimmage over the final 30 minutes or so of practice.
“I did it in one-on-ones earlier, and I was just in the mood to do another one, because didn’t nobody see it on this side,” Jackson said.
Titans coach Mike Vrabel said he did not see either back flip from Jackson, but he is fine with it, if it comes about from good results.
“If he wants to back flip after he intercepts the ball or bats it down, I’m all for it,” Vrabel said.
Play of the day: It was from Jackson, but it wasn’t his back flip. Instead it was another athletic play that came in 7-on-7 work in the back corner of the end zone. Working against Evans, Jackson leaped at the last moment and tipped the ball into the air. Then, seeing the ball moving in a slightly different direction because of his deflection, Jackson made dive onto the ground and picked the pass off.
He was shaken up on the play and did not go back in for the remainder of the period, but then returned to practice when the next series of drills began. And obviously whatever it was didn’t bother him too much, as he repeated his back flip with an encore in combined team drills at the end.
Long shot of the day: Not many are longer long shots than guys coming in in the middle of camp as a street free agent and trying to catch up on the fly to guys who have had months in the system. But Kenneth Durden, who is in his second stint with the Titans after spending time on the practice squad last year, made a couple of nice plays on Thursday.
In one-on-one work, Durden drew Evans, and won the battle, knocking a pass away for the Bucs’ tall and talented receiver. Later on, he deflected another pass in the combined team drills. Those are things that could get Durden noticed even as he comes late to the party in search of roster spot.
Dinged up: Tight end Delanie Walker suffered some sort of injury, like to his left ankle or foot, after he was clipped a bit by a Bucs defender following a pass reception. Walker stayed on the Titans sideline for a little bit, according to reports, before heading in to be checked out by the Titans’ medical staff.
As usual, Vrabel was intentionally vague about a player’s injury status.
“He’s being looked at. I’ll let you know after – I probably won’t let you know, but hopefully, he’ll be ok,” Vrabel said.
Working on getting back: Speaking of injuries, Rashaan Evans has been a little more visible as he continues his rehab from a leg injury.
“I think he’s doing everything he can to get better, and you can see that that’s part of it. When he’s ready, he’ll be back out there,” Vrabel said of the team’s top draft pick.
Give and take: Thanks to injuries, Will Compton and Jayon Brown have been getting most of the first-team work at inside linebacker in these two practices. Wesley Woodyard was held out for a second straight day, and Evans and Nate Palmer (injured reserve) are both out, which has thinned the ranks a bit.\
Brown, in particular, had a tough assignment, covering massive Bucs tight end O.J. Howard for much of the day in passing situations. Brown gave up a couple of catches, but also held his own pretty well to break up one pass and keep Howard in check.