Rookies Shine In Tennessee Titans Preseason Opening Win

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 13: Karl Klug #97 and Chris Hope #24 of the Tennessee Titans tackle Adrian Peterson #28 of the Minnesota Vikings during a preseason exhibition game at LP Field on August 13, 2011 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)

The best way to build a team that is going to be successful over a long period of time is by having really good drafts. Last year it looked like the Titans shifted their draft philosophy. They focused on guys that were intelligent, put up good numbers in college, and showed strong leadership skills on and off the field. This year they went the same route, and it appears to be paying off in a big way early on.

Jake Locker was very impressive in his debut. He looked poised and accurate. He showed his ability to get outside of the pocket and make plays. There is no doubt there is still some work to be done, but he is a lot further ahead of where I thought he would be at this point.

Akeem Ayers is going to be a lot of fun to watch. He is going to change the position of linebacker for the Titans because he is a guy that can stand up and rush, put his hand on the ground and rush, and cover tight ends and backs out of the backfield. He showed off his athleticism last night when he jumped up and tipped a pass from Joe Webb.

Karl Klug has been making a lot of noise in camp, and he was impressive in the game as well. Sen'Derrick Marks better get that shoulder right because Klug is going to push him for a starting spot.

Jurell Casey was also impressive crashing the middle of the Minnesota offensive line, and he had a nice play where he pretty much just took the ball away from the running back.

Zach Clayton was all over the field and came away with a sack.

Here is what Mike Munchak had to say about them after the game:

Excited about the rookies. I think we have been bragging on them the past two weeks saying how well they have been doing for not having an offseason with us and only been with us 15 days. Jake (Locker) came in and made some plays. The one he threw (on) the touchdown, I think he actually fumbled the snap, but goes and makes the play. That’s what we saw in him. That’s the kind of things he can do. Jamie Harper ran the ball well when he was in there, scoring a touchdown in the second quarter.

The D-linemen, which we have been bragging on, made some plays. Karl Klug started, made some plays. (Zach) Clayton, Jurrell Casey, I mean all of them contributed in some ways. It’s exciting to see those guys do well in there the first time out.

This group is going to be a lot of fun to watch.

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