Organized team activities ended not so organized for the Tennessee Titans on Friday.
Coach Jeff Fisher and strength and conditioning coach Steve Watterson decided to dispense with the normal practice routine for the last OTA and instead allowed the players to spend time playing an assortment of games.
One game, called powerball, had trash cans set at the 20-yard lines on two different field with offense against defense with the object being to move the football downfield and get it inside the trash can. Powerball, a Watterson invention as part of off-season conditioning and competition, combines certain elements of ultimate Frisbee, soccer, basketball and lacrosse.
The day’s activities also included a tug-of-war, offensive and defensive linemen attempting to field punts launched from a Jugs machine, and began with players doing individual work at unfamiliar position groups. For example, the defensive backs ran offensive line drills and vice versa.
“What you saw was an unorganized team activity,” Fisher said. “We’re really pleased as a staff, and it’s the last day of participation. We had a long meeting this morning with them regarding things over the next four or five weeks, and what’s expected of them, and we came out and wanted to have a little bit of fun.”
What made practice even more fun was that it began 30 minutes earlier than usual and ran for only an hour, rather than the usual one hour, 45 minutes.
Still, despite the lightheartedness, the practice served a purpose on getaway day.
“He used a little Jedi mind trick with a day like today,” tight end Alge Crumpler said. “We probably did more running today than we normally do in a regular practice. It’s not structured. You just go out there and run, and guys are competing. But more than anything, guys had smiles on their faces as they leave out of here.”
Linebacker Keith Bulluck agreed, saying, “It worked out well, Kudos to Steve Watterson. We still got work in, whether it was just cardiovascular or whatever. But we still got work done.”
For the record, the defense won the games of powerball on both fields, while the offense won the punt-catching contest and the tug-of-war.
The Titans now have nearly a five-week break before training camp begins on July 31, with the Hall of Fame Game against Buffalo in Canton, Ohio, looming on Aug. 9.
“The important message to them today is that we’re gonna come back, and we’re going to have about eight days to get ready for our first preseason game,” Fisher said. “It’s imperative that they continue to work out and work out at the right times of day, especially the younger guys because we’re not going to have necessarily a lot of two-a-day practices. We’ll have walk-throughs and preparation for it, but we’ll be playing a game before you know it.”