DBs should be the highlight of Tennessee Titans final preseason game

Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Jessica Rapfogel-USA TODAY Sports /

Whether the preseason goes on for three weeks or four weeks, Tennessee Titans fans are ready to get to the real thing as soon as possible.

Not to say that this preseason hasn’t been interesting, because it definitely has. Only the Atlanta Falcons and the Tennessee Titans could sit back and watch a quarterback that has no pressure of starting in year one and who may not even be the starter in 2023.

Getting to focus on the things Malik Willis does well instead of panicking over the things he hasn’t been able to do yet, is a treat for fans that is being underappreciated.

Having said that, fans are ready to see the real thing so that guys like Kyle Philips, Treylon Burks, Chig Okonkwo, Austin Hooper, Robert Woods, and Racey McMath can start to make plays with Ryan Tannehill at quarterback.

While fans have to wait on offense, the defense still has a lot of interesting pieces that are coming together nicely.

Front line players like Rashad Weaver, Naquan Jones, Teair Tart, DeMarcus Walker, and Ola Adeniyi have all made plays during the preseason, the guys that have a chance to own the highlight reel on Saturday are the defensive backs.

This is the most interesting group that will take the field on Saturday, even if the clear starters never put on their pads.

Which Tennessee Titans’ defensive backs are the most interesting?

Kevin Byard, Kristian Fulton, and Amani Hooker should have the night off assuming that the veteran starters aren’t playing.

That still leaves a very intriguing group to match up with the Arizona Cardinals’ pass-heavy offense.

The first names that should come to everyone’s mind are Caleb Farley and Roger McCreary. Both young corners played exceptionally well last week, but they had very different nights.

By nature, Farley leaves more space between himself and the receiver that he is covering. His length and athleticism allow him to stay dangerous despite this space and that allows him to cover without the risk of double-moves. That is why he is involved in more contested passes than other corners and last week he did a very good job separating the receiver from the ball.

On the other hand, McCreary is sticky in coverage and he stays in good position between the quarterback and the receiver. You rarely see a lot of space between him and his responsibility in coverage, which means fewer chances for interceptions but also fewer targets in general.

Both should see the field on Saturday and both should make life difficult for that passing attack.

If Elijah Molden isn’t healthy enough to play, then the third cornerback on the field might be newly acquired DB Ugo Amadi who is going to be competing for the backup nickel role inside.

Speaking of local products that will play on Saturday, rookie DB Theo Jackson has been getting reps in the slot after playing primarily at safety during camp. While Jackson popped on film against the Baltimore Ravens, he missed time with an injury and he is going to pop again if he is going to stick on this roster without the risk of going through waivers.

Lonnie Johnson and Joshua Kalu have also done their best to make an argument to stick on the roster, while Tyree Gillespie was another player that the Titans traded for to add proven depth.

By my count, that is five defensive backs who should see a lot of time on Saturday and that doesn’t include the possibility of players like Molden, A.J. Moore, and Chris Jackson all toughing it out and playing after missing practices.

No decision is going to be made purely based on the results of this preseason game, but the Tennessee Titans do need more information on all of these guys. If anyone has been standing out in camp then this is a great chance for them to build on that good reputation. Anyone who has been lagging behind can prove that they are “gamers” if they step up.

In the event that no one stands out, it means that it could force the Tennessee Titans to look hard at the waiver wire after teams start their cuts. In any event, keep your eyes on the defensive backs and make note of anyone that you think has done enough to pull away from the competition.