Most Titans fans are cautiously gaining confidence as we inch closer to the start of the 2014 NFL regular season on Thursday, September 4.
Week 2 of the preseason took the team to New Orleans to play the Saints, who most consider a legitimate championship contender. The Saints won the game 31-24 despite the fact Drew Brees didn’t play. But there are still a number of reasons Titans fans should be encouraged by what they saw on Friday night.
1. The Titans offense looked most impressive with their first-team out on the field. This bodes well for Jake Locker’s confidence moving forward, especially considering that he was going up against the Saints first-team defense. Locker finished 8-11 with 75 yards, a TD and no picks.
2. Justin Hunter was simply a joy to watch. After misrunning a route in the Titans first preseason game against the Green Bay Packers, Hunter showed why the team drafted him in the second round of the 2013 draft. In the first quarter, Hunter caught a beautiful 4-yard fade from Jake Locker in the corner of the end zone. Then in the second, he hauled in a 64-yard TD pass from rookie Zach Mettenberger. Hunter finished the game with 111 yards and two TDs. As he bulks up, he is beginning to look like the perfect complement to Kendall Wright.
Despite the positives, there is still one aspect that needs to be cleaned up before the Titans head to Kansas City for Week 1.
The Titans finished the game with five turnovers, while the Saints had zero. Shonn Greene and Bishop Sankey both showed positive signs running the football Friday night, even against the Saints, a top-5 defense from last season. Sankey finished with 31 yards on six carries (5.2 YPC), and Greene finished with 46 yards on nine carries (5.1 YPC). However, they each coughed up the football once, as did WR Derek Hagan. Mettenberger also cost the Titans twice with an INT and a fumble. While he is still a rookie, and has time to work out the kinks without the pressure of being the starting QB, it wasn’t desirable. As a team five turnovers is something the Titans will not be able to get away with in a regular season game.
FINAL GRADE: B