Tennessee Titans training camp notes: Defense day 1

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Malcolm Butler
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 21: Malcolm Butler /

A dominant performance from the Tennessee Titans defense today.

Just like in mini camp, the Tennessee Titans defense dominated practice. A look at some of the standout performers.

Defensive line:

-It should be no surprise to anyone, but a day into camp it is hard to tell what the defensive line looks like. There are no pads and the offensive line is a mess right now with both Pro Bowl tackles missing right now.

-Having said that, the reports are that Casey looks as dominant as ever and that this attacking style of defense fits him very well. It reminds me of the season where Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty had career years and Casey put up 10 sacks.


-Going off this tweet, there are two important things to discuss:

-First, it is great that Landry is winning with speed. That is a good sign for his ankle and it also is the one part of the game that really should be standing out with no pads. I want him to develop a full arsenal of counter moves and techniques, but coming out of college he has a lot of that.

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With his strong hands, great bend and understanding of how to attack offensive linemen the get off and his health are the main points of focus right now.

-The second thing is that Evans is impressing everyone right now with his attitude and effort. The reason that is important is because currently he isn’t one of the starting linebacker. With Mike Vrabel and the staff making Evans earn the position, it is good that he is in high spirits and isn’t pouting.

-Jayon Brown is getting work with the nickel defense, but for whatever reason he is buried in base defense. Currently he is behind either Darren Bates or Nate Palmer (I can’t remember which) as a 3rd team LB, so it looks like he is going to have to impress in the nickel package before he gets a chance for more reps.

Defensive backs:

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-The only place you can begin is with Malcolm Butler. You could not ask for a better start to camp for the free agent acquisition. After showing during mini-camp that he can still be the fast and physical star that he was in New England, he put his skills on display with a big interception.

He was very aggressive with Corey Davis on slant route and he jumped the receiver and made a great play on the ball. He then barked and punted the ball, which honestly is great to see. It has been too long since the Titans have had a cornerback with aggressive swagger. Don’t get me wrong, Adoree Jackson and Logan Ryan are great, but Butler reminds me of a more talented Cortland Finnegan.

-While the 2017 CB tandem was quiet for the most part, there was good news here and there about them being in good positions to make plays. I can’t remember a specific instance with Ryan, but I know that Adoree Jackson was in great position on the big Corey Davis TD. So much so that even Mike Vrabel who doesn’t pull punches said that it was just a receiver making a great play and that there was nothing more Jackson could have done.

-The star at safety today wasn’t Kevin Byard or even Johnathan Cyprien, but the rookie Dane Cruikshank who wasted no time getting his first interception of camp on the first day.

While it was on a deflection, it is good to see him making a heads up play. There was never a question about his athleticism or his size, so to see him make a focus play in his first camp practice just strikes me as a positive.

One small side note, but the DBs rushing the field is great. I think Kerry Coombs and his DBs are going to be the spark plug for this team no matter who is on the field, so to see it crystallized into one play is a great sign for things to come.