Day five of the 2016 Tennessee Titans training camp saw a cooler day for the team as the continue to prepare for the season and their first preseason game that is now just nine days away.
Head coach Mike Mularkey was satisfied with the way his team began practice on Thursday after having Wednesday off, which Mulrakey said sometimes leads to slow starts on their return from an off day.
"No, that's what was so impressive with them. Usually a day off, you've got to kind of get them going a little bit early. We have a period, it's called "tempo." It's right after stretch. It's right into a team segment. It's a physical period. That's really designed to get them going for the rest of the practice. I use it as people that like to work out in the morning, the rest of their day they've got a lot of energy. That's kind of the method is get them going, and we'll continue that when the season starts."
So what went on at day five of training camp, we share the highlights in today's camp notes.
Cornerback Perrish Cox, who has been in a battle for a starting position with Brice McCain took full advantage of increased reps on Thursday as McCain continues to recover from an akle injury that that has sidelined him for the last three practices. In his absence, Cox has played increasingly well and reached a new high point on Thursday as he went four of five in one-on-one match-ups during the practice.
Cox also turned in one of the best defensive plays of the session when he deflected a pass away from rookie wide out Tajae Sharpe in a one-on-one situation and should have intecepted the Marcus Mariota that wold have been retunred for a score had Cox held on for the pick.
Cox spoke of what almost was following practice.
"Yeah I should have (intercepted the Mariota pass) and it would have went "6" too," said Cox/ "You know when you've got a good break like that where I read the route, read the three steps and took off with him, but I'm made at myself that I didn't catch that though."
MARIOTA SHOWS FIRE AFTER MISTAKE
When Cox came close to an interception of Mariota in that one-on-one period, the quarterback could be heard yelling at himself for the mistake that almost cost him a turnover and a potential return touchdown.
It was a momnet that was not missed by Mularkey, who was asked about his quarterback's vocal display.
Well, he's so competitive. He's very hard on himself, and that's who he is. If he gets to that point, you know it's very frustrating for him.
Overall, it wasn't a bad day for Mariota, but on that one play he knew he made a mistake, but fortunately lived to play another down.
DEFENSE HAS BEST DAY YET
The defense had the better of the day on Thursday as there were plays made at every level on multiple plays by a host of different defenders.
Mularkey praised his stop troops in his post-practice comments.
"Flying around, physical, making plays. I'd like to see us get some more turnovers. I'm going to challenge them tonight, see if we can come out here—I'm going to give them a number, see if they come up with that number tomorrow. Because we were close. Had some good plays by the offensive guys to strip it, but I'd like to see us finish.
HENRY SLOWS STARTS
Derrick Henry wasn't always a fast starter last season at Alabama/ In fact there were times when he would have fie to six carries that looked rather pedestrian before he would start to churn out yards in his record breaking season.
Slow starts have been the case for Henry so far in training camp as well and Mularkey addressed that in his post-practice comments when asked about his rookie back.
" I will say this about Derrick (Henry), I don't think he's a fast starter. I've got to talk to him about that tempo period because we've got a bunch of guys up front that are creating things for him and he's not hitting it like I'd like to see him hit it. Later in the practice—I hope that's not the case in games. We need him to be full-strength. As soon as we call his number, he needs to hit things better.."
CONKLIN DRAWS PRAISE FOR SOLID PLAY
First round draft pick Jack Conklin continues to impress with his performance overall in training camp. Now the starting right tackle, Conklin has been forced to face Derrick Morgan on a daily basis during OTA, mini-camp and training camp practices and facing a veteran repeatedly is paying of it would seem.
"Yeah, Jack (Conklin) has been very solid out here. There is no question. We've got a couple of really good bookend tackles," said Mularkey. "You would never know Jack was a rookie right now. He's going to get tested, there is no question, but he's got a couple guys he's blocking right now that are pretty tough to block and I'm pretty pleased with it."
There have been rookie moments for Conklin, but reviews have been very positive for the young tackle who was thrust into a starting role sooner than Mularkey and general manager John Robinson had hoped following the OTA injury that ended the season for Byron Bell.
DaQUAN JONES BECOMING A FORCE
He is a big, strong, physical young man, but for DaQuan Jones it has taken some time for him to learn the ropes of the NFL and settling into his role with the Titans, but it seems he has finally reached his comfort level and it's beginning to show.
While the light came on late in the 2015 season as Jones' play stedily imporved, he has been a consistent force for the defense so so far this camp and his head coach is taking notice.
"He's a hard guy to block, he is. He's a load, very smart, very physical and he's got great, great hands. If your hands are slow on him, you're not going to win many match-ups. He's going to be very good," Mularkey said.
Asked if he likes the tandem of Jones and Jurrell Casey, Mularkey was quick to respond.
"Yeah, I think so," said Mularkey. "I'm pretty happy with our front right now, very happy."
OFFENSIVE PLAY OF THE DAY
It's not often that the third team gets a play of the day, but that's exactly the case on Thursday.
DEFENSIVE PLAY OF THE DAY
Our defensive play of the day award goes to Cox for his near interception of Mariota we mentioned at the top of the page.
The Titans return to the practice field on Friday for another morning session at 8:55 before their Saturday night scrimmage at Nissan Stadium at 6.p.m. Both practices are open to the public.