More shaky Titans' offense and an attempt to talk to Kevin Dodd

TicketsBar2NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Over the course of an 85-minute practice, both sides will make some plays.

But for the second consecutive day Wednesday, my overriding takeaway was that the offense has a long way to go and put forth a disjointed, choppy effort that centered around receivers failing to get open.IMG 1205 1

Perhaps that’s a tribute to the secondary, where the Titans have a quality trio in Malcolm Butler, Adoree’ Jackson and Logan Ryan.

But they are going against a receiver group missing Corey Davis, Rishard Matthews and Michael Campanaro. That puts Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor at the head of the line. I’m not allowed to say who moves up – because we know that information being out would lead to a season-opening loss in Miami.

But look at who the receivers are after that: Nick Williams, Darius Jennings, Zach Pascal, Devin Ross, Jordan Veazy, Deontay Burnett. Maybe there is some promise there, but I’m not counting on any of those guys to separate in a big situation.

Sustaining good stuff was an issue at times for the offense, Vrabel said. [Unlocked]

“It’s not that we lack the ability,” he said. “I think we, at some times, lack the focus.

“I can recall a series where Derrick had a great run (after catch) -- a good throw, a good pass, a good catch. And then we threw three straight incompletions in basically the high red zone. That’s what I mentioned to the team after practice as kind of what stood out.”

I saw minimal separation, with Marcus Mariota frequently pulling the ball down and needing to reset, look again or take off. There were a lot of incompletions too. And we should note while pass rushers are simply flying by the QB if they win, that the team is playing two backups as starting tackles right now.TitanUpFlag

One short stretch featured a false start and a timeout within the span, I believe, of three plays.

Is it still growing pains in the offense?

“I wouldn’t say that, Mariota said. “It’s probably me just going through my progressions It’s part of the process but I wouldn’t say that’s the product of what’s going on.”

In the first play of a 2:00 drill, Mariota threw a ball about 15-or 20 yards up the left sideline and there was no one remotely nearby.

There is plenty of time, I’m not calling for any degree of panic or concern. But if I am painting a picture of Wednesday, it was this:

“We have great corners,” Williams said. “We have three, four, five really good guys which is a treat to be on offense and practice against all the time and they are super competitive.”

Ryan told me I ought to give the young receivers more credit, but he didn’t convince me.

“These guys are learning,” he said. “It takes a little longer for the offense sometimes.”

Further down the depth chart, LeShaun Sims was super active and involved in a lot of plays.

Jennings dropped a nice deep ball from Blaine Gabbert on the left, then was overthrown on a similar chance to the right.

Said Vrabel: “It takes all 11 guys, we’ve got to run a good route, we’ve got to protect, and then we’ve got to drop back and throw it, anticipate it and let it go. There are a lot of times and there is a lot of evidence on film of us doing that. And then conversely, there are a lot of times where that doesn’t happen. The timing on a route is not right, maybe we miss a block and maybe we miss a throw.”

Dodd report: I tried a walk and talk with him as he left the field. He didn’t participate in that, which made it similar to most of practice.

A lot of people reacted negatively to the video, suggesting I was hecking him. Hell, Brian Orakpo laughed at part of it, so how bad could it have been? I’m accountable – in a way Dodd isn’t, frankly – and will say I could have been finished a bit sooner, certainly. So not the best there.

apple icon 144x144 precomposedBut seriously, toughen up if you think that is some huge deal. Shame is a powerful, underused factor in America today. Part of my job is to get people to talk and I want them to think it’s a bad idea to choose not to. Some of you say maybe he just wants to focus on football. You really think him stopping to say one sentence expressing that would somehow be a big distraction for him?

The Titans horrific access setup means I have to miss something else in order to show Dodd’s unwillingness to talk. And yeah, that makes me angry.

Vrabel said Dodd was unavailable at some times in practice. I don’t know that I saw him in a team period.

The way I read Vrabel’s comments, the coach was saying if you can’t finish a smaller piece of practice you’re not going to be called on or counted on for bigger, team, pieces of the same practice. He mentioned that Will Compton and Davis were similar.

Open field: the open field “tackling” drill continues to be the most fun part of practice. Vrabel called out matchups and pointed to the offense or defense to declare a winner on each snap.

Delanie Walker made a great move on Derrick Morgan and arched his back to sneak past him at the sideline and avoid a two-handed tag. Vrabel intentionally pitted two Alabama guys, Rashaan Evans and Derrick Henry, against each other. Evans slipped and still managed to earn the win.

Vrabel line of the day: He was asked about the team’s Fortnite competition, where he had said a winner would be declared by the time minicamp ends. “Monday was a day of infamy.”

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