NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans’ passing offense has frequent moments of uncertainty and shakiness in the Wednesday work against New England, I thought.

Yet again, the team’s chief weapons were limited or missing. Delanie Walker didn’t work for the third day in a row, which suggests he rehabbing something not just resting, though Mike Vrabel wouldn’t concede as much and indicated the tight end might work Thursday. Corey Davis’ snaps were managed. A.J. Brown is still being eased in. Adam Humphries left practice with a trainer. Derrick Henry remains out.

DeAngeloYancey

Marcus Mariota had a better morning than Ryan Tannehill, but things felt choppy for a good while against an unfamiliar defense featuring a solid and experienced secondary.

In the middle of that, Taywan Taylor surprised and had a very solid day as the most effective and dependable target.

Two big catches stood out.

MariotaSitWaitIn seven-on-seven, Tannehill threw a beauty to Brown over Jason McCourty up the left side. It settled perfectly over Brown's outside shoulder as he collected it and went to the ground for what looked to be about a 25-yard gain. Later, in a team period, Mariota aimed a ball similarly for Taylor who caught it for more than 30 yards, also over McCourty.

Mariota didn’t throw a pick but outside of the Taylor play and a broken up throw for Humphries, he often played it safe and stayed underneath. Tannehill wasn’t necessarily letting it rip either. He threw two interceptions, one on an especially ill-advised play where he let it go into an oncoming Deatrich Wise, who easily got a hand up to bat it with rookie Chase Winovich securing the interception.

One-on-ones were not great outside of a really good grab by Tajae Sharpe. 

Seven-on-seven gradually gained some steam and I felt like the passing game found some rhythm and confidence.

There was some back and forth in the team periods but the 10-play sequence that stood out to me the most was the start of a third-down period:

  1. Mariota deep right over Sharpe, incomplete.
  2. Mariota under pressure/out of time, overthrow/throwaway.
  3. Mariota deep right for Humphries broken up by Jonathan Jones.
  4. Mariota incomplete mid-range right not close to anyone, Sharpe the closest.
  5. Mariota pass left to Taylor gets his feet in bounds and stays up.
  6. Mariota forced to move off his spot throws for Hollister on left boundary can’t make a play, might have been catchable. Flag for pass interference.
  7. Tannehill short pass left for Alex Barnes but may have been whistled sacked before he threw it.
  8. Tannehill bounces around pocket, sacked.
  9. Tannehill sacked.
  10. Tannehill throw for Papi White, picked by J.C. Jackson for a TD.

John Glennon counted Mariota and Tannehill numbers. 

I don’t think the yardage totals would have been very good outside of the two big plays I described and sacks would have created some killer down and distances.

apple icon 144x144 precomposedThings improved after that lousy third-down section of the session, and the Titans did move the ball in unscripted work where both teams were all together on the same field. Taylor caught another big-play pass, over Jackson from Tannehill.

It was good work against a good, well-run defense.

The payoff doesn’t need to come now, when I see an offense that sometimes seems to lack belief and can't always find the sort of play that sparks some.

More on that to come.

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