I’m 100 percent serious when I say that was the worst game I’ve ever watched. Brutal. Thankfully, it’s the preseason and the score doesn’t matter. The Titans lost this one, but that’s not important. Here’s what stood out to me on both sides of the ball.
The first thing that stood out to me was Antwaun Woods starting the game at nose tackle. We’ve heard positive things out of woods, but I think most of us though Sylvester Williams would get the go. Williams got the second series at nose, so that’s a spot to watch.
Jurrell Casey was Jurrell Casey. He made a stop in the backfield on the second play of the game and got a sack after lining up out wide after that (he was also flagged for a ridiculous personal foul for tackling low).
Top free agent addition Logan Ryan was beaten deep by Robbie Anderson. That’s not what we wanted to see, obviously. After last season, Ryan was expected to be a stabilizer for the secondary. It’s just the first preseason game, but seeing the Jets carve up the secondary wasn’t a very good start. As this graphic from PFF states, it was a brutal first showing for one of the newest Titans.
Logan Ryan is going to want to burn the tape of his Titans debut pic.twitter.com/xEwCLpqtaB— Pro Football Focus (@PFF) August 13, 2017
Jayon Brown and Aaron Wallace flashed with the second team in the second quarter. Wallace fired through the middle to make a tackle for loss while Brown showed some nice reps in man coverage, which was a huge hole for the linebackers last year.
Brown specifically was all over the field in the second quarter. He looked good in the open field, squaring up and making tackles in space. He’s already a clear upgrade from Sean Spence last year.
Mariota and the offense didn’t look sharp. A holding call, offensive pass interference and delay of game doomed the drives that Mariota took part of. Marcus looked like Marcus, for the most part. His first completion involved him sprinting around a defender to get out of the pocket and delivering a strike. Outside of that it was a quiet night for No. 8, which is exactly what you want at this point.
Alex Tanney failed to build on a nice preseason last year. He was out of sync all night, holding the ball too long and totally out of rhythm. He threw an interception late in the game down the field after he failed to see the safety. He then fumbled in scoring range late. It’s hard to place all the blame on Tanney, however. That second and third string offensive line group was really struggling. At the same time, Tanney wasn’t doing them any favors.
The offensive line and running backs struggled to pick up blitzes — which the Jets brought a lot of. Alex Tanney took a shot off a free rusher during his first snap in the game. Mariota was sacked by Leonard Williams. For the most part the Titans ran the ball well in limited action with Derrick Henry, the problem tonight was pass protection. Obviously we don’t know responsibilities, but some chemistry was missing tonight more than a couple of times.
With DeMarco Murray out, Derrick Henry got the start with the first team. He strung together some nice gains in limited action before giving way to David Fluellen. Fluellen didn’t do much, mainly thanks to the fact that the Titans couldn’t string any first downs together. Akeem Judd got the next shot, before Khalfani Muhammad. Muhammad finally got into the game halfway through the 4th quarter.
Onto the pass catchers. Harry Douglas showed some consistency. He seemed to have some nice chemistry with Alex Tanney, catching a few balls over the middle.
The play of the night belonged to Taywan Taylor and Alex Tanney. Finally, after a dull offensive night, Tanney hooked up with Taylor deep. Taylor made a leaping effort to get to the ball over the defender that had fallen down. Outside of that play, I thought Taylor missed a couple of opportunities with a drop and a route ran at the wrong depth. Mularkey was seen on the sidelines coaching him up.
Listen to MCM Radio recapping the game here.