Top 10 things to watch in Tennessee Titans vs New York Jets

MIAMI GARDENS, FL - OCTOBER 09: Derrick Henry /

What are the top 10 things to watch for in tonight’s matchup between the Tennessee Titans and New York Jets?

The Tennessee Titans first preseason game is right around the corner.

While there is always knee jerk reactions that need to be corrected after the first preseason game, there is still plenty to learn.

I am going to break down 10 things to watch for in this first game of the preseason, and I am going to do it by quarter.

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1st quarter

1. Marcus Mariota

Alright, we have seen him run and he seem to be passing really well through camp. The question now is what does he look like against simplified defenses?

Mariota doesn’t need to put up a huge game, but you would like to see him be really efficient and get into a good rhythm.

The biggest concern for Titans fans should be a slow start to the season. If Marcus Mariota can start out strong then this team should have a great chance to win really meaningful games down the stretch.

That all starts tonight.

2. Titans offensive line vs Jets defensive line

There aren’t a lot of top matchups in this game but this is a competition between two lines that are probably top-5 (Titans) vs top-10 (Jets) on their side of the ball.

There will be Pro Bowlers against Pro Bowlers and All-Pros against All-Pros as the Titans try to give Mariota time to pass and Derrick Henry lanes to run through.

Speaking of which…

3. Derrick Henry

I expect Derrick Henry to do a lot and when he gets past the L.O.S I expect him to put on a show vs linebackers and defensive backs.

Is Henry really quicker and faster while still being every bit the bruising back that we saw last year? If so, he could push for even more time in 2017.

4. Eric Decker vs his old team

Decker isn’t bitter about the Jets letting him go. In fact, he landed in a much better position both short and long-term.

However, that doesn’t mean that he won’t come out and put a show on to demonstrate to Titans fans just how valuable he could be this season. If Mariota finds himself in the redzone, I would imagine he takes a chance with Decker vs those DBs.

2nd quarter

5. Adoree Jackson’s dynamic ability

Will it be an interception? A punt return? A kick return? I don’t know, but Titans fans are aching to see just how explosive Jackson can be after he has made plays in training camp.

To be fair, I don’t expect him to get a lot of kick return opportunities, so he may only have four or five touches to make a play. Will fans have to wait, or will the Tennessee Titans 1st round pick stand out in his first game.

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  • 6. Kevin Dodd, please beat someone

    There is a lot of hope in the Titans fan base that a healthy Kevin Dodd is going to be disruptive. I still have my doubts, but a strong showing tonight will go a long way to helping ease those doubts.

    Dodd can win with power, pass rush moves and with his hands, but he needs to show that he can stay on the field and prove to Mike Mularkey, Dick LeBeau, Jon Robinson, and the fans that he can help the Titans by giving Derrick Morgan a breather.

    7. Jonnu Smith showing up

    We have heard for weeks now that not only is Smith better than the school he played at, he is earning reps with the 1st team offense. Some people have even seen him split out wide as a wide receiver to get him on the field.

    He has reportedly held his own as a blocker against Brian Orakpo and he has been doing his thing as a receiver, can Smith show up against a fairly talented group of safeties?

    3rd quarter

    8. Are Brynden Trawick and Daren Bates more than special teams players?

    Fans will see a lot of Trawick and Bates during the preseason and Jon Robinson would probably say that is a good thing.

    Robinson went out and signed them both to big deals considering they are both primarily special teams players, but he is convinced that they can be more than that.

    While we would all settle for them being great special teams players, it would be so helpful to this roster if they also provided real depth at deceptively thin positions like safety and linebacker.

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    9. Austin Johnson, Angelo Blackson, Antwan Woods, or Mehdi Abdesmad, make your move.

    This defensive line is deep with average talent, which is great. However, if one of these guys would make a move and become more than that it would give the Titans a world of options.

    If Woods or Abdesmad were able to stand out as run-stuffers, it would mean that the Titans could use Sylvester Williams sparingly as a penetrator.

    If Blackson or Johnson could make noise, it would mean that Casey could be a more movable piece on this defensive line.

    Either way, that is way too much potential for all of those guys to be just average. Tonight is a night for someone to step up and become a fringe starter.

    4th quarter

    10. Khalfani Muhammad

    To cap the night off, I would love to see Muhammad break a long 30+ yard run against the backups to show that he has that burst he showed in college.

    If he doesn’t really get a chance to do that, I would take some above average kick returns where he looked like he got more than just what is blocked.

    Unfortunately if he can’t do either of those things, it will be hard for him to make this Titans roster.