The Tennessee Titans will be seeing several familiar faces tonight, but the two most prominent figures are Jeff Fisher and Gregg Williams. Both coaches know the city well after coaching it in some form or fashion and both left their fingerprints on this team.
It was during Fisher's run that the Tennessee Titans came into existence and appeared in a Super Bowl. More recently, it was Gregg Williams who made the Titans defense one of the more aggressive fronts in the NFL highlighted by a 10 sack season from Jurrell Casey.
While the former defensive coordinator might have some gratitude towards the city that helped restart his career after bounty gate, don't expect to see him take it easy on the Titans.
Ken Whisenhunt told the Tennessean a few days ago that he expects a heavy amount of blitzing and pressure tonight:
"There is no unwritten code of anything I know of (regarding blitzes in the preseason)," Whisenhunt said. "If there is, I’ve missed the boat on it. They’re going to do what they do. We’re going to do what we do. So we’ll see. I anticipate they’ll bring pressure. That’s what they do. I know that’s what their philosophy defensively is."
With that defensive front and an aggressive philosophy, this could prove to be Marcus Mariota's hardest test of the preseason. While I don't expect another 7/8 game, I do hope that he shows poise in the pocket and isn't afraid to use his legs to get away from trouble.
Honestly, if the Tennessee Titans want to neutralize this aggressive defense they need this new offensive line formation to work and either pound the ball, or hit them deep early in the ball game. It will be curious to see how the team looks in the first game they have scouted for this year.
Will Whisenhunt get creative like we thought he would last year, or will he keep his cards close to the vest and keep the playbook vanilla. My question for Whisenhunt isn't what he will call though, it is how many plays Mariota will get. With an offensive line in flux and a franchise quarterback trying to build some confidence (and doing a great job) leaving him out there too long is just asking for trouble in my opinion. I think 3-4 drives should be plenty and if the Titans score 14 while Mariota is in, they need to go ahead and sit him down.