Scout's take: Corey Davis on contested balls, Rodger Saffold's gaffe, missing Harold Landry

Blake Beddingfield served as a Titans' scout for 19 years, the final six as the team's director of college scouting. During the regular season, he writes scouting previews and reviews of every Titans' game for PaulKuharsky.com. Here is an unlocked sample of his work. Read him every week here by becoming a member.

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special contributor

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Patriots started all second-teamers on their defense to open the game versus the Titans and the Titans countered with their starting offensive unit.

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On the surface, that looked bad for the Titans to go three-and-out on consecutive drives against backups, but you have to remember in pre-season the backups are fighting for their careers and usually put forth maximum effort at all times in these games.

Even though they are not their most talented or experienced players the Patriots have they are still capable to compete in a half of a football game.

On offense, the Patriots started two first-team players in TE Ben Watson and LT Isaiah Wynn. All the other players were backups. [Unlocked]


Marcus Mariota looked comfortable, he was precise with his throws and found his old go-to receiver in Delanie Walker multiple times. It was a good overall game for Mariota.MariotaReady

Ryan Tannehill also looked good, despite being pressured on multiple passes. the ability to deliver most throws with zip and accuracy. A solid game for Tannehill.

Logan Woodside was pressured on most of his attempts but still had some success, flashed his athletic ability and speed on a nice run. Woodside has the ability to develop into a No. 2 QB.

Running backs

Jeremy McNichols is running hard, shows good hands, held up in pass protection. He needs some time with the first team to see if he can hold up when called upon against top defenders. McNichols had a good long run that was called back by a holding call.

Dion Lewis gets what is there as a RB, but not much else. As a receiver, he can work in space, shows good hands and some run after the catch. He's a situational RB and a plus in the passing game.

Alex Barnes ran with caution, two hands on most runs not wanting to put the ball on the ground.

Wide receivers

Corey Davis must do a better job of using his frame and size to block out defenders on those comeback routes. He allowed the rookie CB JoeJuan Williams to reach over his back to knock the ball away on the first third down, where Mike Vrabel's challenge didn't get anything changed.

Davis also dropped a pass on another contested ball. If he can’t make these plays consistently, he will always be just a No. 2. Davis must improve his consistency on contested balls and also be better in and out of his cuts.

The physical tools flash but the instincts and feel for the position is still average.

Davis best route is an inside dig route versus man coverage. He can run his defender off and make the sharp cut with his eyes to the QB.

Darius Jennings did a good job at WR when he got the opportunity. He is a fifth or sixth receiver on a good team. But he has value as a special teams player and returner.

Rookie A.J. Brown was on the field but didn’t do anything of note.

Taywan Taylor had a few receptions, looked to play with some caution securing the ball and making sure he was not making mistakes.

Kalif Raymond and Cody Hollister did not add to their success from Week One.

Tight end

It was so good to see Delanie Walker back roaming the middle of the field and the seam route for Mariota

Anthony Firkser has good hands, solid route running and above-average speed, but he is a below-average blocker. He struggles to hold up against big OLBs or DEs and gets tossed easily.cold beer ent 300x300

Firkser's holding call that negated a TD run by McNichols was not needed, it was blocked well by everyone else but Firkser had the jersey and the call was made.
Ryan Hewitt is a solid blocker and has a chance as a fourth TE on this team.

Offensive line

The first passing play was a disaster. The $12 million free agent signee guard Rodger Saffold was bull-rushed and de-cleated by a backup 2019 fifth-round draft choice in Byron Cowart

This play was embarrassing but also alarming because no pro should look that bad, especially a high-priced veteran. After reviewing the play over and over, the biggest issue was he didn’t get his left foot down to anchor himself against a power rush. This type of mistake could have been costly because Cowart hit Mariota hard and landed with his full weight on Mariota throwing shoulder.

The second passing play wasn’t much better, LT Dennis Kelly was beaten on a power rush to his inside hand and Dion Lewis picked up a blitzing ILB but was pushed into the arm of Mariota. Two passes and Mariota was hit two times which resulted in one sack and one incompletion.

I felt C Ben Jones did a very good job in the run game and held up well in pass protection

The weak link again was the guard play. Saffold missed a block on the second level (LBs) of the defense while simultaneously starting RG Jamil Douglas was beaten by his man. The play ended up being short of the first down by a yard.

The very next play Douglas and Delanie Walker were beaten on a defensive line slant which made Lewis cut back inside toward the slant for no gain. The offensive series resulted in a punt.

Kevin Pamphile camde back in to replace Douglas on the next offensive series. Pamphile missed an assignment on an outside run play anb a LB shot through the gap to alter the running back's path.

Douglas got reps at RG, LG and C. He is getting his opportunities.

Kelly lost again on a pass rush to his inside hand. This is two weeks in a row that rushers have gotten pressure to Kelly’s inside.

G Aaron Stinnie is now the fifth guard. Not a good sign for his chances of making the team again.

T Tyler Marz was consistently beaten by rookie OLB Chase Winovich. He is done. Austin Pasztor is also not going to make it.

C Corey Levin did a good job of reach blocks, walling off.

Defensive line

Matt Dickerson had a hit on the QB on the opening deep post route. Dickerson also had a very good tackle for loss on a third-and-short play. My issue with Dickerson is he can disappear for long stretches because he either doesn’t read the play quickly or gets stuck on his block.

DTs DaQuan Jones and Austin Johnson are playing well against the run. Since he was drafted in fourth round in 2014, Jones has been a strong run-down player. He has been dominating at times against single blocks, splitting double teams and reading reverses and making plays down the line of scrimmage.BeddingfieldLabel

Amani Bledsoe started the game on defense but did not make any plays of note. He lacked block awareness on outside runs, didn’t recognize the crack-back blocks.

Rookie DT Isaiah Mack agait made plays when he was given a chance. He has a big sack on a one-on-one rush, raked the OGs' hand, closed to the QB and finished off the rush with a sack.


Kamalei Correa does not flash or make plays, he struggles to shed blocks. He's an active player, always moving but not making plays.

Rookie LB David Long Jr has an aggressive downhill play style but must play within the scheme of the defense. Right now, he is a see-ball, go-get-ball player.

Where is Harold Landry? He has not been good enough to be held out. He needed a lot of work coming into this season. Cameron Wake can rest, but a second-year player with four sacks like Landry cannot.

OLB Derrick Roberson looks the part physically but plays the game like he is wearing a seatbelt. He needs to turn it loose.

Ukeme Eligwe is another undersized ILB for the Titans that plays with speed and instincts.

Defensive backs

Logan Ryan playing man to man coverage read and jumped the crossing route for an Interception. Smart play reading the route and attacking the ball in the air.

Malcolm Butler was called for hands to the face penalty that negated a sack and an eventual punt. Butler was pressing the inside receiver and was lazy with his hands when he was beaten off the snap. But in that situation with a blitz called from the backside I question whether he should be in press coverage anyway because on an overload blitz, the ball will be coming out of the QB's hand quickly and you want your defensive players' eyes to see the ball.

Safety Amani Hooker spilled some run plays but didn’t get his hat back in the play versus most of the run plays. I am wait-and-see on Hooker. I have not seen any stand-out traits similar to those I saw on college film.
He did make a nice break on a pass on the goal line but dropped the pass.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

CB Tye Smith has good man cover skills, along with size and length. Smith and LeShaun Sims will compete for that fourth CB spot.

Kenneth Durden shows up in most games he is in. Has a nose for the football to go with good size and frame. But he doesn’t have a spot on the team currently.

Safety Jo Jo Tillery gets to the ball in the air. he's a possible practice squad player.


P Brett Kern looks to be in midseason form. Outstanding all game. The Titans franchise has now had over 20 years of pro bowl punting. Craig Hentrich to Brett Kern from 1998 to present.

Positives: Ben Jones, Marcus Mariota, Delanie Walker, Isaiah Mack,
Concerns: Right Guard, Anthony Firkser blocking, Dennis Kelly at LT.

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