Defense Wins Plays, Offense Finds Scramble Success For Titans

NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans' offense and defense both did a lot of winning in Friday’s practice. Often on the same play.

In seven-on-seven and in team periods, the coverage and/or the rush often would have ended a real snap, causing him to hold the ball too long or getting to the quarterback or to allow for what ultimately unfolded to happen in a game.

Jul 28, 2023; Nashville, Tennessee, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Racey McMath catches a pass during preseason training at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Denny Simmons/The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports
Racey McMath/ Denny Simmons/The Tennessean-USA TODAY Sports

But because such plays are not whistled dead in such situations so that the team can continue to get work, the offense frequently continued on to make quality scramble plays.

In fact, it may have been a record practice in that department.

“I don’t think we’ve had that many scramble opportunities, successful opportunities, since I’ve been here,” Mike Vrabel said. “Those are big plays down the field. Sometimes quarterbacks are hard to bring down, get guys outside the pocket, receivers getting into their vision and being able to extend the play is certainly going to be important.

“We just don’t want to manufacture any endings and we don’t want to just stop and have the quarterback just stand there. If we get a good pass rush and we need to block better, great. But if not maybe we hang on to the guy, push him by. We’ve seen a lot of instances where the quarterback doesn’t go down as a sack and extends the play. So we’re going to finish.”

Some examples…

In seven-on-seven, Ryan Tannehill rolled left and Chris Moore pulled away from Kristian Fulton to grab a pass with one hand deep down the left side. Soon after, rolling the same way he hit Kyle Phillps.

And in a team period, Tannehill was forced to his right, pointed, saw Philips cut to the sideline downfield, and hit him with a very well-placed ball.

“Ryan made a great play on it, broke out of the pocket, started rolling out,” Philips said. “I just hit the sideline, he gave me a phenomenal ball right on the sideline. I think I got my feet in but we’re still going to have to go back and check out the film.”

I was nearby and I think he got his feet in too.

The defense understands the play-on mentality of the moment but is also well aware of when it has already “won” a play.

“You hear guys out there chirping, especially Jeff (Simmons), you hear him all the time, ‘sack, sack,’” Rashad Weaver said. “But the offense got to get its work. It’s also an opportunity for us to run, get that conditioning.

"But we know and make it known when we were back there. The mindset is to watch the film and see what you need to do better when you’re playing against the best guys in the league at that position. Even if I win, what can I do to fix it? But the coaches know, our outside linebacker coach Ryan (Crow) knows and he lets us know when we come off the field.”

Kuharsky megaphoneAs for an offensive view…

“If they think they got a sack, that’s on their side,” Chig Okonkwo said. “We’ve got to keep playing, we’ve got to execute our offense because you never know in a game, stuff like that breaks down all the time. Ryan will roll out of the pocket and we get a big play out of a breakdown play. It’s just both of us practicing our stuff. Win-win, definitely a win-win.”

Harold Landry sees it a bit differently.

“When you cut the film on you know who won that rep,” he said. “Vrabes has to structure the practice that everybody is getting work in regardless of the end result of a certain play. But we know when we cut the film on who won which rep.”

You are not authorised to post comments.

Comments powered by CComment