Mon, 04 Jul 2022

Jim Wyatt

NASHVILLE - The Titans hit the field for practice on Tuesday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

It was the team's second OTA this week (Monday's session was closed).

Here's a look at what stood out on Tuesday ...

-I'm not going to do full attendance at OTAs every session because they are voluntary and players aren't taking part for different reasons. But I'll give the rundown of absences today since they're already out there from other reports, and because you might wonder why some guys aren't mentioned in this piece. Those not present on Tuesday included Derrick Henry, Kevin Byard, Zach Cunningham, Bud Dupree, Harold Landry, Nate Davis, Geoff Swaim, Denico Autry, and Jeffery Simmons.

-Veteran receiver Robert Woods, the team's prized offseason acquisition who played last year with the Rams, practiced for the second day in a row. Woods was wearing a knee brace on his left knee after suffering a torn ACL in November, but he moved well in individual drills and caught a number of passes in other periods in a somewhat limited practice. I thought it was encouraging to see Woods out there.

-In addition to Woods, several players took part in the session in yellow non-contact jerseys, including cornerback Caleb Farley, cornerback Kristian Fulton, receiver Racey McMath and tight end Briley Moore. Cornerback Elijah Molden and linebacker Monty Rice have been involved to some degree, but limited.

-Rookie receiver Treylon Burks took part in the session, but he left the field on a few occasions before returning. It was an overall quiet day for the team's first-round pick.

-I thought quarterback Ryan Tannehill was especially sharp, connecting on a lot of short to middle-range throws before throwing some strikes downfield later in the session. His best ball was a deep middle completion to receiver Nick Westbrook-Ikhine in a team period that went for plus-40 at least. I'm going to mention Westbrook-Ikhine several times in this piece and I realized later it's because he caught at least six passes from Tannehill on the day.

-After practice, Tannehill did a nice job sharing his feelings on his relationship with rookie quarterback Malik Willis, and his plans to help him. Tannehill made it clear he thinks some of his previous comments on mentorship were misunderstood and blown out of proportion.

-Tight end Austin Hooper, who played last season with the Browns, was active as well. He caught three passes from Tannehill in one period. Hooper moves well, and he looks to have soft hands. He spent some extra time with all three quarterbacks during a break in the action.

-Rookie quarterback Malik Willis seems to be settling in, and he made some nice throws on Tuesday. Willis also sailed a sideline throw to fullback Tory Carter and he was part of a mishandled exchange. Like most rookies, he'll have plenty of ups and downs along the way.

-Speaking of Carter, the former LSU fullback looks like he's gotten bigger - and stronger - in the past few months.

-It was good to see outside linebacker Rashad Weaver back on the field after his season was cut short a year ago because of injury.

-Titans coach Mike Vrabel complimented Farley on his work during the offseason program, saying he changed his body with his work ethic and regiment. Farley practiced in a knee brace on Tuesday as well.

-Receiver Dez Fitzpatrick made a really nice catch across the middle in Tuesday's session with safety Amani Hooker in his pocket, and he drew compliments from Tannehill and Vrabel after practice. I think Fitzpatrick is going to be a bigger contender for playing time this fall. Fitzpatrick had a bad drop on Tuesday, but he shook it off and finished the practice strong.

-In an early 7-on-7 run period, running back Dontrell Hilliard was very active, and produced some nice runs. Running back Trenton Cannon had a pair of carries as well.

-Willis ran a separate 7-on-7 period with back-ups, when running backs Hassan Haskins and Julius Chestnut got some work. Second-year receiver Racey McMath caught a bullet from Willis in this period, but he also dropped one in his hands.

-Kicker Caleb Shudak, an undrafted free agent from Iowa, was 7-of-8 on field goals, including makes of 34, 37, 41, 44, 48, 38 and 45, his only miss from 53.

-Punter Ryan Stonehouse, an undrafted free agent from Colorado State, has an impressive leg.

-During a later 7-on-7 period, Willis connected with tight end Briley Moore and receiver Reggie Robertson on throws, but he had to tuck in and run when defensive tackle Haskell Garrett provided pressure up the middle.

-I mentioned Tannehill's early chemistry with Hooper. He found Westbrook-Ikhine throughout the session, and he slapped five with him after two completions in a 7-on-7 period.

-Quarterback Logan Woodside connected on throws to receiver Josh Malone, Haskins and Cannon during a 7-on-7 period early, and he later hit Roberson and receiver Kyle Philips on well-thrown balls.

-Willis had a later period when he threw a bullet completions to Roberson and Malone, but he threw a fluttering pass to tight end Chig Okonkwo downfield that fell incomplete. Willis found Carter and Phillips for completions in a late team period.

-Okonkwo made three straight catches on balls thrown by Woodside in a late team period, and he drew high praise from Vrabel for the last one. "Way to win!," Vrabel shouted to Okonkwo after he hauled in a pass during the middle of the field in tight coverage. Vrabel gave Okonkwo a fist bump after that one.

-Vrabel doesn't want specific positions noted for where guys are lining up on the offensive line. But second-year lineman Dillon Radunz is among a number of guys working both inside and outside.

-Former Vanderbilt head coach and current Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Derek Mason, who coached Titans cornerback Roger McCreary at Auburn, attended Tuesday's OTA.

-The Titans will be back on the field for OTA No.3 on Thursday, but that session will be closed to media. The next open practice is scheduled for next Wednesday.

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