Don’t judge a book by its cover. Heard that one before? It’s true. Taking the impulse reaction to something and running with it can often lead to the complete opposite place you think it will. Heading into the second week of the preseason Titan fans might want to remind themselves.
“The defense looked awesome! They only gave up a field goal!” A heavily retooled defense for the Titans could not have asked for a bigger patsy for their first outing than Minnesota. The Vikings have a new starting QB in Donovan McNabb, no Sidney Rice and Adrian Peterson carried the ball ONE TIME. Combine that with only having 10 practice sessions to install a completely new offense and MTSU could have put up a commendable effort against the Vikings.
“They couldn’t stop out offense!” While the Titans did enjoy some offensive success against the starting unit for the Vikings, they too had an easier time than what should be expected. Neither Jared Allen nor Kevin Williams played, making the Vikings defensive line MUCH more suspect than usual. The Vikings starting cornerbacks Cedric Griffin and Antoine Winfield were held out of the game as well so the team could evaluate younger talent. The Titans were not playing against a team with all its weapons on either side of the ball.
Saturday night will be a better measuring stick of where the Titans are as a team when they travel to St. Louis to take on the Rams. We have already gotten a hint of what the team should expect come gametime from Offensive Coordinator Chris Palmer. He jokingly told local reporters in Nashville that he fully expects his old colleague Coach Spagnuolo to be “blitzing as we get off the bus”. I look forward to seeing what both of our new quarterbacks do against the blitz. Does Matt Hasselbeck still have the mobility in the pocket to elude the free runner and still hit the hot receiver? Can Jake Locker show the poise he displayed against the Vikings on the fumbled snap that led to his first NFL touchdown?
Can the defense continue to play with intensity? They will need it going up against one of the most accurate passers in the league in St. Louis’s second year QB Sam Bradford. He will frustrate defenders on a regular basis making the most difficult throws look routine.
The front seven will also have their hands full with All Pro running back Steven Jackson, who will most likely also see limited action. Can new defensive coordinator Jerry Gray continue to find ways to put players in a position to maximize what they are good at while at the same time hiding what those players are bad at?
Were there things to take away from the game against the Vikings to get excited about? Absolutely. There are also more questions to be answered before we all start drinking the powder blue Kool-aid.