In the first pre-season game of the year for the team, Hasselbeck made the start, not surprisingly, and led the Titans deep into the Vikings territory.
Let’s take a closer look at what happened. Here are my rambled thoughts.
The drive really kicked off when Hasselbeck connected with WR LaVelle Hawkins on a 20-yd go-route. Hawkins beat his man and leaped forward to pull in the slightly overthrown pass from Hasselbeck. Look for that type of pass to be a little better once the regular season rolls around and Hasslebeck will have had more time under his belt to work on timing with this group of receivers. It was a well thrown ball, but Hawkins did have to leap out for it. When that ball is thrown a little closer to the receiver, there will be more opportunity for running after the catch. All-in-all a great play.
Javon Ringer showed the quick and aggressive running-style that Michigan State fans were accustomed to seeing from him in his college days. By the end of the drive, I was extremely confident that the Titans would indeed still have a running game come week 1 if Chris Johnson wasn’t playing. Not that I would prefer Ringer over Johnson, just that the running game wouldn’t altogether disappear.
WR Justin Gage started in place of the troubled Kenny Britt, who should be playing this season. That is unless Britt does something between now and the start of the season.
Hasselbeck had a few other good moments, including a dump pass to Javon Ringer for 8 yards on first down–no run after the catch as the defense tackled Ringer immediately. On the next play, Ringer darted in and out of traffic making yards out of what seemed to be nothing but a wall of defensive personnel.
At the 32-yd line, the drive stalled when Hasselbeck was forced to call a timeout. The timeout was the type of result you get with a new head coach, new coordinator and new QB when they run a new system on less than two weeks of practice. It was all pretty new. Hasselbeck just wanted to get everything straightened out before they played. Expect to see this from a lot of teams for the first few weeks of pre-season.
On the next play, Ringer ran up the middle for about 3-4 yards before spinning past a tackle and running past the linemen to put the team in great position.
Up next: 2nd and 2 at the 24, Hasselbeck rolls out and hits TE Jared Cook (may have been the star of the first half) for a first down. Gain of about 8. Hasselbeck is now 4/4 on the drive.
The next play is no doubt the one you have heard about. Hasselbeck backs out from under center and plans to hand the ball off to Ringer. Unfortunately, it seems that the fullback bumped into Hasselbeck or maybe Hasselebeck was too close to him. I can’t tell for sure that it was Ahmard Hall as the video feed is a little fuzzy, but it would make sense that he was in, after allhe is the starter at FB. The ball careened backwards and the Titans lost 30-yards on the play. Next play, the Titans throw a screen to Ringer who looked shifty and explosive, but couldn’t really turn the screen into 40 yards and thus, the drive ends. Brett Kurn finishes the drive with a beautiful punt downed at the 7.
Hasselbeck only played in the first drive, giving the offense over to rooki Jake Locker.