Here are some reasons why the disappointing performance by the Tennessee Titans in Preseason Week 1 is nothing to worry about.
Much has been made of the Tennessee Titans’ lackluster performance in Saturday’s game. However, the worry is much ado about nothing. Though the Titans did lose a 7-3 game to the lowly Jets, the doom and gloom attitude of many Titans fans, honed by years of misery at the hands of a mediocre team, is not warranted by the team’s performance in Saturday’s game.
Many of the same people who lament the preseason games as being “too long” and “meaningless” are the same ones that can’t help but draw conclusions about the team heading into the season based on these same games.These naysayers head to Twitter or comment sections to express their knee-jerk reactions to the Titans performance in Week 1 of the preseason. Let’s examine some of these reactions I have witnessed in the past 24 hours and attempt to illustrate why these reactions are irrational.
The Defensive Side of the Ball
One of the biggest reactions from last night’s game came when big ticket free agent Logan Ryan got burned deep by Robby Anderson. I think the reason that this play got blown so far out of proportion is that it preys on the fear that is held by many Titans fans that the team didn’t do enough to address the secondary in the offseason. It didn’t hurt that Brice McCain missed an assignment later in the drive that resulted in a touchdown.
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Without a doubt, the secondary did not have the best of series, but it’s important to remember that it was their first series of the year and the only thing with which we can judge the starting secondary since it was Ryan’s only action of the night. Furthermore, the depth chart hasn’t entirely been figured out with Adoree’ Jackson and Kalan Reed both competing for spots in the starting lineup. Reed had a great night with a team-high six tackles and should continue to see playing time in the preseason.
Another very promising performance in the secondary being overshadowed by Ryan’s botched coverage came from free safety Kevin Byard. Byard has received rave reviews throughout the offseason, and he flashed in the first series with the starters with multiple tackles for loss. With Jurrell Casey alongside Byard, the Jets could not get anything going on the ground.
Another defensive standout was rookie Jayon Brown. Our very own Will Lomas explored his performance in depth here. The defense only gave up 7 points total, but the two big plays on the first drive (the TD pass and Anderson’s deep catch) overshadowed several very solid performances.
The Offensive Side of the Ball
After a huge reload on the offensive side of the ball this offseason, the offense was downright stagnant. The team had ten total drives end in punts and the offensive line looked out of sync the whole game. There were eight total sacks and backup quarterback Alex Tanney absorbed so many hits that he had to be taken out of the game and be evaluated for a concussion.
Based on the performance of the Tennessee line last season, however, I’m willing to give offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie and the line the benefit of the doubt despite a poor showing in the first preseason game of the year. As for the offensive inefficiency, Marcus Mariota and the first-team offense were only on the field for two short series and offensive stars Demarco Murray and Corey Davis did not receive playing time due to injury.
Like the defense, the offense also had some players who had fantastic performances despite the overall inefficiency of the team as a whole. Taywan Taylor exemplified this fact with four catches for 56 yards, including a stellar 42 yard catch that was easily the offensive highlight of the game.
In conclusion, though the Titans appeared rusty on both sides of the ball, that is to be expected for a young team in its first preseason game of the year. It’s too early to draw conclusions about individual players or units as a whole based on one preseason game. It’s also foolish to let these missteps overshadow the promise displayed by several players in Saturday’s game. Four months from now, this game will be remembered as a mere bump in the road for a young playoff contender.