Titans @ Jaguars: Gameday TNF


The Tennessee Titans will be taking on the Jacksonville Jaguars for the week 11 edition of Thursday Night Football and with only five wins between the two AFC South foes, the talk is more about the uniforms than the game.

Tonight we will get the second edition of the NFL’s “Color Rush” program on the NFL Network which began last week with the all red Buffalo Bills and the all green New York Jets.

The Titans will take on the appearance of the Smurfs in light blue uniforms while the Jags will be “Bold-not-Gold”. The NFL Network says the sepia tones are not meant to resemble the Dust Bowl uniforms of the Great Depression, but will have a sepia appearance on your television.

Rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota shouldn’t have a problem with the strange color schemes after being part of the college football experiments at Oregon for three years. Oregon was the leader in strange uniforms and colors during his three years in the Northwest.

The keys to this game come down to a couple of young quarterbacks.

Can Marcus Mariota follow his tendency to play like a juggernaut when he is away from the friendly confines of Nissan Stadium with both of his top wide receivers out of this game, and can second-year quarterback Blake Bortles deal with the mind games that Dick LeBeau likes to throw at young quarterbacks?

With Justin Hunter out for the remainder of the season, and Kendall Wright inactive for this game, Rookie wide-out, Dorial Green-Beckham will need to emerge as the main outside threat. He has been good at times this year, but still lacks the polish of a veteran wide receiver.

Green-Beckham will likely be paired with veteran Harry Douglass and at times, probably the Titans seventh-round draft pick out of William and Mary, Tre McBride.

McBride was moved to the 53-man roster this week after Hunter went down with the broken ankle late in the loss the the Carolina Panthers on Sunday. Mariota worked with the youngster during training camp and during preseason and says there is already some chemistry there to work with.

A healthy Delannie Walker is Mariota’s go-to guy anyway, and it would be a nice evening to get Antonio Andrews and the running game back on track after it became non-existent last Sunday.

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For Blake Bortles, it will be an evening of chess with defensive legend Dick LeBeau.

There are yards to be had downfield with the Titans banged-up secondary, but Bortles will first have to negotiate the multiple looks he will get from LeBeau, and he will need time to find those down-field targets while dodging the NFL’s third best pass rush.

He has a couple of nice receivers in Allen Robinson and Allen Hurns, but the relentless pass rush from Jurrell Casey, Brian Orakpo and the defensive front will provide a test to see if he will have time to find them downfield.

Bortles has a big arm and throws well on the run, but tends to make mistakes when under pressure.

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This will be Titans interim head coach Mike Mularkey‘s first trip back to Jacksonville at the helm after he was fired. Mularkey endured a 2-14 season and got only one year to try to fix the mess in North Florida before he was dismissed.

According to the folks over at the Black and Teal(Fansided’s Jags site), Mularkey will not likely get a warm welcome when he takes the field with his young Titans team tonight.