Tennessee Titans: Gameday Week One


The Tennessee Titans traveled down to Tampa on Saturday afternoon where they will take on Jameis Winston and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in game one of the 2015 NFL regular season. It’s been a long, but very productive offseason for Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt and his staff, but it’s time to tee it high and let it fly.

More at Titan Sized: Gameday Keys to a Titans Win

This game has been billed by the NFL as the battle of rookie quarterbacks, but actually is a battle of two 2-14 football teams in 2014 who desperately need to get off to a good start in 2015, and one of these two teams will go into week two with half as many wins as they had in all of last season.

The Titans finished up the preseason with two wins, both coming in the friendly confines of Nissan Stadium, so if they are to get the new season off with a win, they will have to do it on the road in Tampa.

Ken Whisenhunt will start his second year with the Titans and his eighth as an NFL head coach. The Titans will feature nine rookies on the opening-day roster, including rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota.

They will also feature a host of free agents who will see action for the first time in Titan Blue. They include Harry Douglass, Brian Orakpo, Da’Norris Searcy, Perrish Cox, Anthony Fasano and Byron Bell.

Tampa Bay head coach Lovie Smith will kickoff his 11th season as an NFL head coach and like Ken Whisenhunt, will be looking to improve on a 2-14 season last year with his own rookie quarterback, Jameis Winston.

Both head coaches have good backup quarterbacks sitting on the bench, but both have tied their fates to the rookies they took with the first two picks in the 2015 NFL draft.

These two teams are coming into the 2015 season with almost identical 2014 stories. Both had two wins, both drafted new quarterbacks, both have second-year head coaches, both had 2-2 preseason records and both head coaches are on the hot-seat to produce this year and may not be back for a third season if they don’t.

Advantage Buccaneers:

Other than having the home field advantage, Jameis Winston has a better supporting cast around him then does Marcus Mariota.

Where second-year Titans running back, Bishop Sankey has yet to have much success in the NFL, the Bucs have Doug Martin who had a stellar season in 2012 where he gained just short of 1500 yards on the ground.

Winston also has two effective large wide receivers Mike Evans and Vincent Jackson who were able to carve out 1000 yard seasons in the chaos that was their 2-14 season of a year ago.

Evans is having hamstring problems, but against a secondary that will not have Jason McCourty, the Titans best cornerback, it could be a field day for Winston if he has time to find his big receivers.

Lovie Smith has yet to name a starting offensive line, but if he can put one together on Sunday that can both run-block and pass-protect, it could be a big start for their rookie quarterback.

Advantage Titans:

Although Jameis Winston has been billed as the most pro-ready quarterback in the draft this year, Marcus Mariota looked to be the better quarterback during the preseason.

Mariota looked cool, calm and collected in all but the first series of downs in Atlanta where he had his only turnover. Even under pressure from one of the NFL’s premier pass rushers in Kansas City, he looked like a seasoned veteran in the pocket.

Mariota’s preseason included starts in all four contests, and he went 21-of-30 passing for 326 yards with one touchdown and one interception.  His 70 percent completion rate and 10.9 yards per attempt led the NFL’s rookies during the preseason, and his 102.9 passer rating finished behind only Green Bay’s Brett Hundley.

If the Titans are to win this game, coach Whisenhunt will need to find some yards on the ground and Dick LeBeau‘s defense will have to put a lot of pressure on the Bucs rookie quarterback.

The Bucs will be starting two rookies on the offensive line, and this should be an advantage for the Titans. Jurell Casey and the DL should be able to shut down Doug Martin, and Brian Orakpo should be able to get some pressure on Jameis Winston.

We all saw during his last season at Florida State and in the preseason that when under duress, Winston will throw some interceptions.

Final Titans Injury Report:

  • Antonio Andrews has a hamstring problem and is questionable.
  • Perrish Cox has a hip problem and is questionable.
  • Andy Gallik is sick but probable.
  • Sammie Hill knee problem and is out for this game.
  • Jason McCourty has a groin problem and is questionable.

Next: Titans vs Bucs: Fantasy Football Outlook

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