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Titans running backs continue struggles in pass protection

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Earlier we referred to an article that has running backs coach Sylvester Croom expressing major disappointment in the blitz pick-up work of his guys.

Things did not improve at Friday morning’s Tennessee Titans practice.

Rookie David Cobb was beat by undrafted rookie linebacker Dezmond Johnson twice. Cobb didn’t plant his feet and was off balance, and coaches let him know it. The second win for Johnson was with a quick swim move.

Cobb did recover for a nice snap against Zach Brown.

Bishop Sankey fell down trying to plant against Brown and was bulled over, and rookie Deiontrez Mount toppled Dexter McCluster with a bull rush.

Nothing has changed with regard to the linebacker’s dominance here, but I suspect other backs around the league will be more equipped to handle them.

"It’s all just technique, technique and getting in position in good relation to the quarterback and punching, getting a good punch," Sankey said. "You’ve got to bring it every time. There are linebackers that weigh 260 and a lot of running backs aren’t that big, so it’s all about technique and execution."

Backs will cut block a rusher to get him to the ground if the quarterback is taking a deeper drop.

The Titans need to get far better in this area to protect their rookie quarterback.

Speaking of Marcus Mariota ...

He had a poor team period where he missed on four consecutive passes -- one to a slipping Kendall Wright, one not close to an intended receiver, one incomplete to Harry Douglas and one that we rated as an incompletion, but it was only thrown after what would have been a sack.

Through that segment of practice, he and his targets didn’t appear to be on the same page, a development that has been quite rare through seven days of practice.

He finished 9-for-17 and is now 77-for-119 through camp in seven-on-seven and team periods, still without an interception.