For most teams the third preseason game is the most important one. If is the game where the starters come back and play a series after halftime to get ready for the regular season. The Titans in the last couple of years haven't done that. They have played the starters unitl halftime in the third game and a series after in the 4th game. Jeff Fisher said last year it was because he didn't want the guys to go two week with basically no game action, and then they started 0-6. I would expect him to keep the same patter though because his theory makes sense.
Here are some things to watch tonight:
- Obviously the CB battle is the first thing on everyone's mind. I haven't seen anything official, but I would assume that it will be Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty starting again. Here's to hoping both guys play well, but ATV plays better.
- The third running back battle went from very intriguing, with Stafon Johnson and LeGarrette Blount, to over, when Johnson got hurt, back to intriguing when Samkon Gado looked pretty good in the game last week. I think Fisher was trying to send Blount a message by putting Gado in ahead of him last week, and judging by the way Blount ran the ball in that game, he got the message. There is also the possibility that the third running back isn't even on the roster yet.
- The defensive line has everyone excited through the first two games. They should get a lot of pass rushing opportunities tonight as I would expect the Panthers to be working a lot on their passing games. They have arguably the best running back combo in the league with DeAngelo Williams and Jonathan Stewart, so they know what those guys are going to bring to the table. I expect them to spend a lot of time working on their passing game, which should allow the D line to get after the QB.
- Speaking of the D line, the defensive end position is an interesting one the watch these last two games. Right now you have William Hayes, Derrick Morgan, Jacob Ford and Jason Babin who are locks to make this team. That really leaves only one spot for David Ball and Raheem Brock. Both guys can also slide inside and play tackle in a pinch, so these last two games will determine which one makes the squad.
- And last but certainly not least, the first team offense. I know we are all excited by what the defense has done thus far, but this team is still only going to go as far as the offense takes them. Vince Young and company have looked sharp in every game so far. Hopefully tonight will be more of the same. It would also be really nice to see Kenny Britt step forward.
After tonight there is only one more game before they matter. This preseason has gotten me excited about what we are going to see from the 2010 version of the Titans. Hopefully tonight will continue that. Don't forget to be here for the in-game conversation. It will change your life.