The fourth preseason game never means much in the long run, but it certainly means plenty to the fringe players clinging to the periphery of NFL rosters. Sadly, for the Titans that includes such individuals as Justin Hunter and Bishop Sankey. So how did the Titans do? Who stood out?
1) Derrick Henry made his mark...again
The Heisman trophy winner yet again proved his worth, smashing his way to 62 yards and a TD on only seven carries. The former Alabama back has been a star since he arrives in Nashville, and figures to vulture more carries from Demarco Murray than initially expected. The Titans are in much better shape with those two heading the ground game.
2) The Titans have some depth.
Defensively the Titans looked like the better team throughout the night against the Dolphins. That speaks to the improved depth of the squad. Guys like Sean Spence and David Bass have shone in the preseason and camp. On the back end, Daimion Stafford has pushed for playing time, and made some nice plays against the 'Fins. Rookie Kevin Byard notched another interception, and he continues to press Rashad Johnson for some starter snaps. JR Tavai, Curtis Riley, Leshaun Simms, and Cody Riggs have all added talent to the pool. Overall the group has some additional firepower behind the starters, a crucial and underrated element of roster building that seemed to elude Ruston Webster.
3) Justin Hunter and Bishop Sankey could be in trouble.
Antonio Andrews garnered the second set of playing time after Henry gave way. He proceeded to score two TDs. If Murray, Henry, and Andrews make it, plus McCluster whom Mularkey has indicated is likely going nowhere fast, then it becomes a reall quandary for those backs behind them. David Cobb is already gone, does his 2014 draft mate join him?
Justin Hunter also saw too much time for comfort against Miami. He is part of a crowded WR room. Wright, Matthews, and Sharpe seem pencilled in as starters. That leaves Johnson, Douglas, McBride, Turzilli, and Hunter. I'd err on Douglas and Johnson making this roster over him. Even with DGB gone it might be a tall order for him to make the team. The recent draft sadness is real, and shows why the team has a new GM.
Alex Tanney saw extended action at QB and, despite two bad decisions that ended in picks, played well in bursts. The play calling was as vanilla as you might expect from the 4th preseason game. But the Titans play the Dolphins this season in Miami, so no surprises there.
Overall a nice night for the Titans to wrap up the preseason and head towards opening day.