Mike Martin makes O-linemen disappear, literally.
Medical history was made tonight at LP Field as scientists discovered a non-habit forming sleep aide safe for over the counter sale: the game tape of the Titans season finale.
Between the two teams, around 40 regular players never even put on a helmet. The Saints benched almost their entire starting line-up, and the Titans sat down anyone who's had a bruise in the past calendar year. It's games like this that give the preseason a bad name, and infuriate season ticket holders who are obligated to by tickets at face value.
To top it all off, the guys who did hit the field failed to do much of anything spectacular. Follow me through the jump as I try to make this recap entertaining.
- Not exactly the kind of performance by Locker that Munchak had in mind when he declared the youngster would play past the first quarter. Locker didn't throw any picks, but he did have a bad fumble at the end of a scramble in the red zone. Locker finished the night 9/16 for 81 yards. He wasn't victimized by drops this time, he just never got it locked in. When Palmer finally opened up the offense, and Jake started taking big shots down the field, he misfired on a bomb to a wide-open Damian Williams that should have been an easy TD...
- Of course, Williams did what he always does on deep throws: he slowed down as he turned his head to find the ball in the air, which resulted in lost steps and a pass skimming off of his fingertips. Three years in, you'd think he'd fix that at some point, but you'll see it all year long.
- Kevin Matthews played well in his (I think) first preseason start. He certainly looked good enough that if Harris can't get his game right, the coaches will have to consider him as a suitable replacement.
- Jared Cook made another classic Jared Cook play tonight: failing to realize he was standing out of bounds while catching a wide-open pass.
- If you sneezed in the second quarter, you missed Matt Hasselbeck's performance.
- If there really is any discussion about whether the Titans should carry three QBs, Rusty Smith didn't help himself at all tonight. After all of the raving I've done about his progress, he showed he's still got one epic gap in his game: if the play doesn't develop on schedule or the pocket is compromised, he falls apart.
- Gotta love seeing 230+ Jamie Harper get ankle tackled by a DB in space. He didn't get near as much flack for that as he should have.
- Darius Reynaud saw extensive time in the regular offense, and was one stumble away from a great TD on a screen pass where he crossed almost the entire width of the field.
- One injury that may put a wrinkle in the roster cut-down tomorrow: Ryan Durrand getting rolled-up on after a Saints defender decided to tackle FB Mooney after the play was over. Even though he eventually got up and limped off the field, it looked like a classic ACL injury to me. If Durrand isn't healthy and Otto can't go right away, the front office might have to look outside the organization to add a healthy veteran who can help Matthews cover the back-up guard spots.
- No idea if it'll keep going when the games count, but this defense has caused a comical amount of turnovers this preseason. We've totaled 14 takeaways in 4 games. For comparison, we had 23 takeaways all season last year.
- Mike Martin should get more time with the second string defense than he is. Martin has absolutely dominated the chumps he's faced all preseason.
- A whole lot of people are going to know Collin McCarthy's name by the end of this season. Book it.
- After being meh in coverage most of the preseason, Coty Sensabaugh showed up with a couple of very nice batted passes. Don't know if he'll make the 53, but he's an interesting prospect for sure.
Tomorrow is one of the toughest days of the year for many of the guys who played extensively tonight. 20+ players will be cut loose or stashed on the practice squad. I don't think anyone on that bubble made too much of an argument either way tonight, but the coaching staff is going to be left with a couple of very tough decisions.