With Sharona, JLomas, and apparently August West all doing recaps of the scrimmage on Saturday, I've decided to take my article in a different direction. The Titans organization didn't overwhelm their season ticket holders with generosity by setting up this scrimmage, but I do feel it was step in the right direction and a show of good faith.
With ticket prices and concessions costing more and more every year, combined with the home experience becoming better and better, there's a struggle by professional teams across the boards to keep fans in the seats. It's an argument that I see both sides of for sure. I personally go for the experience, the live action, and the thrill of thousands of people cheering as one. However, I must admit I enjoy watching the away games in the comfort of my own home with my own cheap beer a few feet away.
The Titans held an open scrimmage to season ticket holders on Saturday, and with the threat of ominous weather, only the truly faithful showed. They extended multiple seats to the patrons so that they could bring friends and family that normally wouldn't be able to attend. Concessions were sold at a discounted rate, and with the general admission seating, fans that may normally sit by the lights atop the world were able to get down to the field and see their favorite players up close. The Titans also let the patrons park in the lots free of charge that are usually reserved for those with parking passes.
Now I'm not trying to go over board and pat the Titans too hard on the back for being so incredibly generous, but I do think their efforts are worth noting. (That or I am completely out of topics to write about). I was able to pull right up to the stadium and not pay $20 to park a mile away. As I approached the stadium I saw a drum corps marching band blasting out beats in #12 Titans jerseys. Not knowing about the discounted concessions, I was shocked to buy a beer and a Gatorade for $5 combined. I was also able to meet up with friends and sit on the 50 yard line a perfect 15 rows off the field and watch my Titans in an intimate setting.
I'm sure the Pro Shop sold a good amount of hats and jerseys, and it was a good trial run to get everyone at the stadium ready for the first preseason game this coming Thursday night. (It would have been nice to have some one help with the traffic getting out of the parking lot). But with as much staff as the Titans had at the event, I'm sure this was not a profitable venture. Perhaps they broke even at best. It seemed clear to me that the intent was to do do something for the fans as opposed to another way to line their pockets.
Had the Titans made their fans pay for parking and full priced concessions, etc. then this article would be a full out rant in the opposite direction for sure. By not trying to fleece their fans I feel they did the right thing with this small gesture. In an era where the divide between mega millionaire owners and regular-Joe fans seems larger than ever, it was nice to see and experience.
And for those that want a little on the field news, here's a handful of observations that stuck out the most to me:
* The Titans ran 3 tight end sets a handful of times inside the 10 yard line even without Delanie Walker. Once form 23 personnel that found Taylor Thompson wide open in the back of the end zone.
* Taylor Thompson is being used a lot like Jared Cook was last year, and is often split out in the slot as well as in the mix with in bunch formations.
* I only saw the Titans line up in the pistol a couple of times.
* Akeem Ayers had his hand in the dirt often and started opposite Morgan on the line in nickel packages. It looks like we are going to see a lot of Ayers as a pass rusher this year.
* Jackie Battle was much more impressive than I expected.
* CJ ran well behind Quinn Johnson, but not so much when stretching to the outside. (Blocking not there, not CJ's fault).
* Locker and the first team offense excelled when running the hurry up or 2 minute drill later in the scrimmage. Of the 10 incompletions he had during practice, there was an even mix of good defense, overthrows, and just bad drops.
* Justin Hunter had a bad day with some drops and being out of place on routes. He just looked like he wasn't fully there.