Adam Humphries, Marcus Mariota building rapport

  • By Jelani Scott
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What word would you use to best describe three straight 9-7 seasons? Good, right? Well, the Tennessee Titans won't have any of that. They want to be great.

Back in April, head coach Mike Vrabel introduced the "good to great" mantra where he challenged his players to alter their daily mindset to push themselves to the next level. Last Tuesday after OTAs, new wide receiver Adam Humphries was asked about how his chemistry with quarterback Marcus Mariota was developing, putting the spotlight directly on the former Buccaneer to see how much the lesson has stuck thus far.

Did he pass? You be the judge.

"I think it's good -- or, I think it's great. Let's say that," Humphries said, via Erik Bacharach of The Nashville Tennessean. "I think it's great, and each and every day we're improving."

Improvement is exactly what Vrabel and the Titans coaching staff hopes to see from Humphries and his new QB and it all starts with the work the team has been doing in phases one and two of offseason workouts, which didn't include team drills.

After having a breakout season --76 catches for 816 yards and five touchdowns -- fielding passes from Ryan Fitzpatrick and Jameis Winston in Tampa last season, Humphries has emerged as one of the NFL's premier slot receivers. Having established a good rhythm with two QBs in what was an up-and-down season for the Bucs says a lot about Humphries' intangibles; gelling with Mariota, as he noted, will be a multi-faceted endeavor.

"I think that's the No. 1 thing for slot guy, would just be the timing (with the quarterback)," Humphries said. "Just knowing him, trusting that I'll be in a spot at the right time, because spacing is important, timing is important. In phase one and two, you can work on that as much as you want, but you really don't develop that timing until, basically, you're going against a live defense.

"I don't think we've thrown many incompletions, so it's just continuing to be in the right spot at the right time as he gains confidence in where I'm going to be on the field and at the right time."

As the team transitions into phase three where there will be team practices at Saint Thomas Sports Park, Humphries and Mariota will now begin to solidify their on-field relationship and hopefully help Tennessee's offense go from good to great.