When the Tennessee Titans take on the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium tonight, you can expect to see rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota and the starting units for about the same amount of time as in the first two preseason games.
More at Titan Sized: Can Marcus Mariota break the spread qb mold?
Game three is typically seen as a regular season dress rehearsal, but due to the quick turnaround after beating the St. Louis Rams on Sunday night, head coach Ken Whisenhunt will not lean on his starters into the third quarter as is normal.
In reality, the Chiefs haven’t played in a while and will probably play their starters well into the third quarter. This scenario will give the Titans a chance to see players hoping to make this team against NFL starters instead of seeing them against second and third teamers.
Coach Whisenhunt told John Glennon at the Tennessean that although he won’t be playing his starters long on Friday night, he does have a couple of points he will be watching while they are in the game.
First and foremost, he wants to see more of his newly overhauled offensive line. The new unit that includes Byron Bell at left guard and rookie Jeremiah Poutasi at right tackle did a good job controlling the line of scrimmage against the Rams, and he wants to see more of the same on Friday night.
The unit did a good job protecting Marcus Mariota against one of the leagues best defenses, and opened some early holes that turned into nice runs for Bishop Sankey and rookie David Cobb.
"Can Poutasi handle the rush against a team with outside linebackers such as Tamba Hali and Justin Houston? If so the Titans will feel even more comfortable about him going into the regular season."
If Poutasi can put in another good effort, it could spell the end of veteran Andy Levitre as the schedule moves closer to roster cuts and waiver wire action.
The other point that Whisenhunt has continued to make in his pressers, is third down efficiency and sustaining drives while the starters are on the field.
Against the Rams on Sunday night during Mariota’s time on the field, they were able to move the football but in two trips inside the 40 yard line, they only scored three points.
Of course, Dexter McCluster dropped Mariota’s first touchdown pass, but if they want to be taken serious this year, they will need to convert those opportunities into touchdowns.
We should see Delanie Walker back in the lineup after recovering from a cut on his hand that required stitches.
Mariota has already completed 14 passes to his tight ends during the first two games, and needs to develop some chemistry with the Titans leading receiver in 2014.
With cornerback Jason McCourty likely out until the break after week three and Blidi Wreh-Wilson not in the lineup tonight, it will give Dick LeBeau a chance to solidify a DB unit that can survive until McCourty returns.
Kansas City is a great place to test the secondary against starting quarterback, Alex Smith with Andy Reid‘s version of the West Coast Offense and needing to stop the likes newly acquired receiver, Jeremy Maclin.
This game is going to be televised on WKRN2 but will not be available to a national audience. You should be able to hear it on local radio and SiriusXM.
You can watch a rerun of the game at 9:00 AM on the NFL channel.