Take it up a notch?
How about five or six notches? (By the way, is that like a notch in a belt? Volume? I’m not even sure what that means.)
Either way, the Titans responded to last week’s egg with a crisp and energetic performance against the Carolina Panthers during their Saturday preseason game.
It’s easy to say “it’s just the preseason” when your team performs poorly. And I don’t think anyone really cares about the score, regardless of what the coaches say. But there is a level of execution you want to see out of your team and more importantly the individual players that was missing in abundance after the loss to the Jets a week ago.
It seems that first performance woke the Titans up.
Mariota and company were efficient and accurate as they marched down the field on their opening drive and finally settled for a field goal. And who was that company? Mariota completed passes to Taywan Taylor, Tre McBride, Jonnu Smith, and even David Fluellen. Derrick Henry had a hard time finding room to run against a talented front 7 of Panthers, but the line and Henry both played hard.
And of course the defense followed this up with an immediate turnover leading to another Titans score as Mariota found the evergreen Delanie Walker in the back of the endzone.
The turnovers were nice and seeing the offense stay on the field was nice. But what was nicer was the teams energy. You could feel it. Taylor Lewan looked like he was going to have an aneurysm while yelling at the bench to let them go for it when it was 4th and 2 on the Panther’s 5 yard line.
One of the worse things you can feel from a team is complacency or a lackadaisical effort. If the players were just going through the motions during the Jets game, they decided to care an awful lot during the week. The rookies and lower depth chart personnel played hard and aggressive. On offense they looked like they belonged out there and on defense they rallied to the ball on every play. The veterans looked almost angry in their play. As if this was an atonement for the week before.
It was a hot day to say the least, but the players rose above it played like the team that has garnered so much hype this off season. Let’s hope they can keep it up when it actually counts.