Tennessee Titans: Takeaways From Game 4
By Les Bailey
The Tennessee Titans closed out the 2015 preseason schedule with 24-17 win over the Minnesota Vikings on Thursday night at Nissan Stadium. With most of the game played with folks trying to make the Titans or other rosters, the game was entertaining to say the least.
Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota got his first NFL touchdown pass, defensive lineman Angelo catches a touchdown pass, and Philip Supernaw blows a touchdown spike. But hey, like I said, the game was entertaining.
Even though the win was against backup players, it allowed the Titans to end the preseason with two wins and two losses, the wins both coming at home.
The decision to play the rookie in the preseason final’ came at the last-minute and was just for one drive. Head coach Ken Whisenhunt claimed he wanted to get Mariota some more snaps at Nissan Stadium, a place the rookie has little experience.
I have a hunch the decision had more to do with selling tickets to meaningless game, but Whisenshunt said in his post-game presser that he didn’t want Mariota to come into Nissan Stadium in week three against the Indianapolis Colts without a couple more snaps.
Mariota was in for four plays, hit 2 of 3 passes for 74 yards capped off by a 59 yard touchdown pass to Harry Douglas. The touchdown was more about Douglas and his YAC numbers, but Mariota completes the cycle with his first touchdown pass in the NFL.
Mariota finishes the preseason hitting 21 of his passes on 30 targets for 326 yards and a passer rating of 102.9.
"“It’s really exciting to be part of this offense,” Mariota said. “Guys are continuing to get better, and I feel that we built a solid foundation throughout the preseason. Now it’s time to go.”"
As a fan, I can’t wait until we get a full game with this kid, and can’t wait to see him in action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on September 13th. He has outperformed the number one pick, Jameis Winston during the preseason, and if the defense can hold up, should come out of game one 1-0. Half of the win total from 2014.
Veteran cornerback, Blidi Wreh-Wilson has missed most of the preseason due to an ankle injury, but returned with a vengeance on Thursday night.
Criticized last year for not attacking the football, Wreh-Wilson turned in a forced fumble against the Vikings in the first quarter which was covered by safety Michael Griffin.
With the Titans best corner, Jason McCourty out for groin surgery, this defense needs the veteran leadership BWW can bring, and needs to pick up the slack while McCourty is out.
It’s no fluke that former tight end head coach Ken Whisenhunt has so many tight ends on the roster, but he now has a dilema. He has five really good players, and only three, maybe four slots for the 53-man roster.
He will have to cut at least one, and although Chase Coffman had a great preseason, may well be the odd man out.
It seemed like every time Coffman did something good, so did Philip Supernaw. If the Titans elect to keep four tight ends, the whispers are that Philip Supernaw will get the spot, largely to his contributions on special teams.
Delanie Walker, Anthony Fasano and Craig Stevens appear to be a lock.
Whisenhunt told Andy Levitre before Thursday night’s kickoff that he would not be playing. The coaching staff wanted to get game film on other players with hopes of them landing on another team when the cuts come on Saturday.
Whisenhunt said in his post-game presser that Andy has a spot on this team, but I don’t see the Titans paying $6.5 Million on a back-up guard.
Levitre has never played up to the level he played in Buffalo, and for sure not up to the big contract he got from the Titans.
I was impressed with Antonio Andrews Thursday night, and want to see more of him with the starters on the field.
Andrews ran the ball 10 times for 38 yards, and I liked the way he hit the hole, and how he was able to find the creases to get to the next level.
Paul Kuharsky is reporting that David Fluellen will not make the 53-man roster, but I like what I saw from the undrafted rookie out of Toledo.
He carried the ball 12 for 61 yards times late in the game, albeit against second and third teamers, but I liked his fight and he looked good.
Hopefully they can keep him on the practice squad, or find a place for him on special teams. Kuharsky is predicting Bishop Sankey, David Cobb, Antonio Andrews and Dexter McCluster will be the rotation with rookie Jalston Fowler making the team as a full back.
The Titans will have to say good-bye to 22 players on Saturday after what I saw was a bunch of players who gave it their all through training camp. Unfortunately, some have to go, and Whisenhunt said Thursday night that this was one of the biggest downers with his job.
If you are roster watching tomorrow, beware of getting comfortable with the 53 players who make the Saturday cuts.
The Titans get second pick on the waiver wire, and you have to think they have their eyes on players around the league.
Some players may make it through Saturday, and still not survive.
Next: Tennessee Titans close out preseason with a win