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Quick Hits and Observations: Day 19 of Training Camp

Posted Aug 16, 2017

TitansOnline.com Senior Writer and Editor Jim Wyatt offers his quick hits and observations from Day 19 of Titans training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Quick Hits and Observations from Day 19 of Titans Training Camp – a joint practice with the Carolina Panthers.

Here’s what you need to know …

What stood out

• Receiver Eric Decker made his presence known early. He fought off Panthers defensive back Captain Munnerlyn early to make a one-handed catch. Decker made several nice catches before suffering an ankle sprain later in practice. More on that to come.

• Quarterback Marcus Mariota connected with receiver Rishard Matthews on a deep ball. Matthews got behind cornerback Zack Sanchez, and he was disappointed a nearby camera wasn’t rolling to film it.

Jayon Brown picked up where he left off against the Jets. The Titans rookie linebacker intercepted Panthers quarterback Joe Webb on a throw across the middle of the field, and headed the other way with speed.

• Running back Khalfani Muhammad is going to need to make more plays to make the team, and he turned in a nice run on Wednesday.  Muhammad took a handoff, scooted to the outside, and raced into the open field.

• Cornerback Brice McCain made a nice break-up on a pass intended for Russell Shepard.

• Receiver Taywan Taylor continued making plays. He caught a ball across the middle of the field with Panthers cornerback Cole Luke defending, and he made several more nice snags in practice.

• Panthers safety Colin Jones picked off a Mariota pass intended for tight end Delanie Walker after the ball was deflected into the air. Later, Panthers linebacker Shaq Thompson picked off a Mariota pass that was batted in the air.

• Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly is an impressive player. He blew some Titans runs up in the middle of the backfield, and held his own in coverage as well. Titans tackle Taylor Lewan and Kuechly butted heads on a few occasions, but things didn’t really boil over after the play.

• Titans cornerback Tye Smith was solid in coverage and made a nice break-up downfield.

• Titans defensive back Kalan Reed once again looked to be in good position throughout the day.

• Receiver Tre McBride beat Panthers cornerback Teddy Williams on a deep ball, and hauled in a beautifully thrown pass from quarterback Alex Tanney.

• I kept noticing Panthers running back Christian McCaffrey. The eighth overall pick looked explosive, and very fast when he got into space. Jayon Brown let McCaffrey get behind him on one play, and the former Stanford back hit another gear in the open field.

• Running back Akeem Judd, who ripped off a 40-yard run against the Jets and then turned in a nice practice Monday, lost a fumble near the goal-line.

Play of Day

Running back DeMarco Murray took part in team drills, and he looked good from the start.

On the very first play of a team run period, Murray took a handoff and ran through a huge hole for a big gain.

Murray, who earlier in camp missed time with a hamstring injury, said he’s feeling more like himself.

“I am better now, and it’s great to be back out there with the guys, competing,” Murray said. “The Panthers are a veteran group, very savvy, and athletic. So going against them, it’s great to get a different look.”

Story of the Day

The Titans and Panthers behaved for the most part.

There were no big brawls, and not a lot of post-play action.

“You talk a little trash,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said with a smile. “But nothing crazy or disrespectful.”

Panthers quarterback Cam Newton was very limited in his work. He threw some in individual drills, but didn’t take part in one-on-ones or later in team periods.

But that doesn’t mean he was quiet.

Newton, with a smile, did his best to stir things up with some talking. The Titans gave it right back to him.

“Honestly, knowing Cam, he was just bored,” Orakpo said with a smile. “He wanted to be out there with his guys, so the best thing to feel a part of it was just by jawing with us a little bit. I know he was talking trash, and we were talking trash. But it was all fun and games, nothing serious.”

Injury Watch

Decker suffered an ankle sprain during practice, and didn’t finish. Titans coach Mike Mularkey said he doesn’t think the injury is serious.

Offensive lineman Dennis Kelly left practice early because of heat-related issues, Mularkey said. Linebacker Daren Bates (fingers) also left early with trainers.

Receiver Corey Davis (hamstring), linebacker Aaron Wallace (back), linebacker Kourtnei Brown (hamstring), receiver Mekale McKay (hamstring), cornerback DeMontre Hurst (groin), receiver Tajae Sharpe (foot) and long snapper Beau Brinkley (groin) did not practice.

Other notables

Former Titans running back Eddie George attended practice.

George was one of several notables at practice, as former NFL coach and CBS analyst Bill Cowher and ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit were also on hand.

Charles Davis, a former University of Tennessee star who is now an analyst, also attended the session, along with national reporters Pete Prisco and Adam Caplan.

Next practice: Thursday, 9:15 a.m. at Saint Thomas Sports Park, with the Carolina Panthers.