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Titans Drop Ugly Preseason Dress-Rehearsal to the Bears, 19-7

Plenty to worry about in this one.

NFL: Chicago Bears at Tennessee Titans Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

After getting back to form last week against the Carolina Panthers, the Titans reverted back to their preseason week one form against the Bears. It was sloppy in all three phases for the first stringers.

It took the Titans until the 4th quarter to finally get one in the endzone with the first string offense out there. Needless to say, the Titans lost this one.

Here’s what stood out.

Offensive notes

Shaky Mariota

Today we saw some good Marcus Mariota and some bad Marcus Mariota. The offense as a whole simply wasn’t in rhythm — that can probably be traced back to not being able to run the football. Mariota was hardly sharp, though. He made a couple of nice throws, including a 3rd and 31 conversion to Taywan Taylor. But we saw some ugly too.

Mariota should have been picked on a late read in the 3rd quarter. He was wild on a couple of throws to the right, overthrowing (a couple could have simply been throw-aways) his targets badly. It does fall in line with what Warren Sharp noted last week.

It’s something to keep in the back of your mind, but let’s not overreact. The entire offense was out of sync, but he was down three of his receivers today. Of the things to worry about with this team, Mariota should be at the bottom of the list.

He played into the 4th quarter, finishing 12-21 for 193 yards.

OL woes

The offensive line is starting to become a legitimate concern. I shrugged off the first two lackluster performances, but it’s alarming that they can’t generate a push on the most basic of assignments.

Taylor Lewan had a frustrating day, amassing a hold and a facemask penalty. Quinton Spain was ejected from the game for throwing a punch. The fight was just a usual scrum, but I would have liked to have seen Spain out there with the starting offensive line — especially after their slow start. Tyler Marz took his spot.

It’s concerning because the Titans are built to run the football. You’d at least like to see them generate some positivity in that aspect before the Raiders come to town.

Final numbers for the main backs: Derrick Henry: 9 for 24. DeMarco Murray: 6 for 16.

Too much exotic smashmouth?

For an offense that struggled to do the basics today, it was surprising to see the staff incorporate some exotic looks today. They didn’t go particularly well. Taywan Taylor gained about eight yards on a speed sweep, then lined up as the running back on the next snap. He took a toss for no gain.

They ran a weird, badly-timed reverse to him later in the game, but it was all out of sync. The play resulted in a big loss. It wasn’t a big deal, but there were times where I thought they took themselves out of rhythm offensively last year with these calls.

Multiple roles for Taywan

In an unexpected twist, the Titans seemed determined to get rookie receiver Taywan Taylor involved in the rushing attack today. Taylor handled four carries, lining up at receiver, running back and even fullback. He was the main piece of the aforementioned exotic smashmouth.

Defensive notes

Rough outing for Adoree

Adoree Jackson got the start on the outside. It didn’t go well for the rookie. He immediately missed a tackle in the flats.

He came back with great coverage downfield, but was beaten deep by Cam Meridith. The Bears continued to target Jackson. Jackson was targeted five times during the opening drive, giving up four catches and one defensive pass interference call in the endzone.

He then fielded a punt inside the five, only to lose a couple of yards. The punt would likely have bounced into the endzone. Call it a rookie mistake, but that was the cherry on top of a really rough performance today.

If you want to find a positive, Jackson made five tackles today and didn’t shy away from contact either.

Active linebackers

Wesley Woodyard was active throughout his time on the field. He was flying to the ball and making tackles in the box. He even ended up getting a sack on a second quarter blitz. Avery Williamson made a couple of nice stops as well, washing down the line of scrimmage and filling some gaps. Once again, Jayon Brown was seen making plays in the backfield.

Random notes

  • Brynden Trawick looked good in run support, making a few good pops and wrapping up in the open field. The veteran had five tackles on the day
  • Tajae Sharpe had just one catch in his return to the field.
  • Josh Carraway flashed again, making plays in the backfield.
  • Brett Kern may have been the most impressive Titan today, pinning the Bears inside the five yard line twice.
  • Fox reported that the Bears think Cam Meredith tore his ACL in the first half.
  • Rishard Matthews and Marcus Mariota were about the only thing in sync today. Matthews caught three balls for 54 yards.