Titans Perspective of joint practice.
Quote:Quarterbacks continue close competition vs. Falcons
Posted on August 6, 2012
by JIM WYATT, The Tennessean
DALTON, Ga. Titans quarterback Matt Hasselbeck’s first pass in team drills against the Falcons was a beauty, a deep ball to wide receiver Nate Washington. His last pass was shorter but also highly effective — a quick-strike touchdown to wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins.
During the two hours in between, Hasselbeck and his receivers had some imperfect moments. Jake Locker, also bidding to win the starting job, had a similar practice.
The Titans felt their offensive work here on Monday against one of the NFC’s top teams was productive, even if it didn’t provide a definitive answer to their quarterback question. That storyline is to be continued.
“They were competing, they were put in some tough spots with the guys they were playing with,” coach Mike Munchak said. “But overall we have to be very happy with both of them. We have two good quarterbacks who love to compete, and that’s what they did again today.”
Hasselbeck finished 13-of-17 passing with two interceptions in team drills during the practice at Coahulla Creek High School, while Locker was 10-of-14.
Both of Hasselbeck’s interceptions were throws intended for rookie wide receiver Kendall Wright. The first-round pick looked indecisive on one ill-fated route, and Falcons cornerback Asante Samuel took another ball away from him in the end zone during a 2-minute drill.
In less congested 7-on-7 drills, Hasselbeck was 6-of-6 and Locker was 5-of-6.
“I am pretty happy with how we played,” Hasselbeck said. “There was definitely some indecision at times, but that is to be expected for our first time out in game-like situation, without watching any film of them at all. But overall I think we have to be pretty pleased.”
Hasselbeck’s best work was in the 2-minute offense, when he connected with Washington and tight end Jared Cook. The drive would’ve ended with a touchdown in three plays had running back Chris Johnson not let a ball bounce off his hands in the flat near the goal line.
Locker looked decisive during his opportunities. Working with the second-team line during his 2-minute drill, however, the second-year pro was sacked on one play and couldn’t handle a low snap on another. Later, he threw too high for tight end Taylor Thompson in the end zone.
“It was a good change of pace, and that helped, that’s for sure,” Locker said of practicing against the Falcons. “We got to see some (coverages) we don’t see on a regular basis. I thought we reacted and dealt with it, and we’ll all learn from it.”
Johnson appeared to run well, while receivers consistently found ways to get open. Johnson and wide receiver Marc Mariani were among the players Munchak singled out.
Although the teams practiced in full pads, there was no tackling.
“We won,” Hawkins said with a smile. “We put a whipping on those boys, and we did basic stuff. Imagine when we put our real stuff in.”
The Titans begin their preseason schedule on Saturday at Seattle, where the quarterback competition will continue.
“I don’t know which way they’re going to go there. Both of them looked good today,” said Falcons safety Chris Hope, who played for the Titans from 2006-11.
“I think Hasselbeck is a great quarterback — he is an older guy, but he still gets it done. Locker is going to be a good one, but the way I see it, there is no rush to put a young guy in until you have to. … Either way, though, they’re going to be fine.”
Quote:Defense looks on bright side after work vs. Falcons
Posted on August 6, 2012
by JOHN GLENNON, The Tennessean
DALTON, Ga. Going strictly by accuracy numbers, the Titans defense didn’t fare particularly well against Falcons quarterback Matt Ryan and his talented receivers on Monday.
Ryan was on target time and time again when throwing to Roddy White, Julio Jones and Tony Gonzalez, the ball rarely hitting the turf during team sessions at Coahulla Creek High School.
But a few things to remember: There were a handful of completed throws down the middle that almost certainly would have been negated by safety hits (not allowed in the practice), and there were times Ryan would clearly have been sacked (also not allowed).
“Ryan was really on and he was throwing a lot of great balls,” Titans cornerback Alterraun Verner said. “But overall, I thought we did well, and that’s probably going to be one of the best receiving corps’ we go against all year.
“I think we got what we needed. We got to see where we were at, and now we can look at the film and improve. There were a lot of things we can improve on, but I think there were more good signs.”
Some observations about the Titans’ defense against the Falcons:
—Tommie Campbell, the current leader in the race for the third cornerback spot, held up pretty well overall. He made a couple of mistakes in early drills, but his speed and tenacity helped him recover quickly. He was in good position during most of the team drills, with one exception. On one of the final plays, White flew past Campbell down the left sideline and Ryan lofted a touchdown pass over Campbell’s head.
“I should have been playing off him more,” Campbell said. “We were in cover-two and I was pressing him. So it’s simple things like that. But one mental mistake can cost a team a game, so I have to work on that.”
Said defensive coordinator Jerry Gray: “Overall, I thought Tommie did a really good job one-on-one.”
—Middle linebacker Colin McCarthy, who had a knack for difference making plays as a rookie, was in the right place at the right time on a number of occasions. He ripped the ball out of White’s hands and took it the other way, and he shot through gaps a couple of times to get into the backfield.
Said McCarthy: “There are plays to be made at the middle linebacker position, and given the opportunity, I’ll take advantage of it.”
—There were times the Titans looked better than the unit that ranked second-to-last in the NFL in sacks last season, although it was hard to get a read on pressure because the quarterbacks couldn’t be touched.
Defensive end Kamerion Wimbley and linebacker Akeem Ayers smartly refused to bite on a play-fake, and would have hammered Ryan if contact were allowed. Rookie defensive tackle Mike Martin regularly beat his blocks against the second-team offensive line.
“I was really surprised and amazed by some of our young guys,” Gray said. “They did an excellent job of consistently pass-rushing.”
—The Titans didn’t pick off any passes during team drills but surrendered a lot of completions. Gray has repeatedly said he wants to see a more aggressive, turnover-oriented unit this season.
“What I want to do with this team is give them the freedom to make plays and make calls on the football field,” Gray said. “That’s where we can make plays, more than sitting there and letting it happen. That’s the next chess piece.”
Some good tweets as well
Quote:Terry McCormick@terrymc13 (Titan Beatwriter)
#Titans had some interest in Asante Samuel. From sounds of things coming from today's practice, perhaps they should have had a little more.
Matt Ryan really having his way w Titans defense. Don't think he's missed a pass yet.
I've been watching #Titans offense. Hearing #Falcons QB Matt Ryan is having his way with the Titan D on separate field tho
#Falcons LB Sean Weatherspoon has been talking smack all practice. So far no fights but he is instigating #titans
Sometimes its good to here what other guys think of your team.