The Titans-Patriots Preseason Week 2 game kicks off on Saturday, August 17, at 6:00pm CT in Nashville, Tennessee. The contest comes after the two teams held joint practices on Wednesday (click here to read Mike’s recap) and Thursday (click here to read Mike’s recap).
According to the Titans website, “The game will be televised regionally on the Titans Preseason TV Network, including flagship WKRN-News 2 in Nashville. Within the Nashville television market, fans can livestream the WKRN broadcast for free on their mobile devices via TitansOnline.com or the Titans official app. Additionally, local fans can watch on desktop computers at TitansOnline.com.” Out-of-market fans can stream the game via NFL Gamepass (which has a handy 7-day free trial).
Here’s the players, coaches and roster battles to note going into this match-up...
The outcome of the 2019 Titans season will not in any way be affected by how well the offense performs during this game.
That said, it sure would be nice to see Marcus Mariota command a crisp, clean, and efficient handful of possessions, preferably with one or more of those concluding in a touchdown pass.
Preseason stats have no bearing on anything, but I think it’s important for Titans fans to see their starting quarterback throw a touchdown pass as he heads into the final make-or-break year of his contract, just to put us all at ease until next weekend.
If Mariota is sloppy in this game, the growing murmurs about a nonexistent quarterback competition will only grow louder, regardless of how valid they are.
I’m not sure if we’ll even see Corey Davis in this game, but I’m sure Mariota would like to get some live reps with his #1 target for at least a drive or two. Tajae Sharpe will likely maintain his role with the 1st team offense. I wonder if A.J. Brown will get any action coming off his recent injury.
Taywan Taylor is a player I’m very interested to watch, particularly to see if he can carry over some of the momentum he’s been building in recent practices as he attempts to put his disastrous Eagles game far behind him.
Taywan Taylor on continuing to correct mistakes, even after a strong day of practice. pic.twitter.com/vWf0BfrwC2— Mike Herndon (@MikeMiracles) August 14, 2019
Darius Jennings, Kalif Raymond, Cody Hollister, and Anthony Ratliff-Williams will continue to try and force the Titans to keep a 6th receiver on the roster. Up to now, it seems that Jennings is still firmly ahead of this pack based on training camp reps, but if Raymond has another strong game we might see some movement on the depth chart.
The Titans Pro Bowl tight end is expected to make his return to the lineup for the first time since his injury in Week One of last season. I doubt he’ll play very long, but the sight of 82 on the field again will be exciting.
Offensive Line Battle
The battle along the offensive line is still ongoing. Last week, the Titans rolled out the following groupings:
Titans Offensive Line Groupings - Preseason Week 1
|Position||1st group||2nd Group||3rd group||4th group|
|Position||1st group||2nd Group||3rd group||4th group|
|-||First Drive Only||Took Over and Played Until Halftime||Played Most of 3rd Quarter||Started with 1:34 3Q and Finished Game|
|LT||Dennis Kelly||Taylor Lewan||Austin Pasztor||Cody Conway*|
|LG||Jamil Douglas||Aaron Stinnie / Jamil Douglas||Corey Levin||David Quessenberry|
|C||Ben Jones||Corey Levin||Jamil Douglas||Hronis Grasu|
|RG||Kevin Pamphile||Kevin Pamphile||Aaron Stinnie||A.T. Hall|
|RT||Jack Conklin||Austin Pasztor||Tyler Marz||Tyler Marz|
Obviously Rodger Saffold sat out last week. It is unknown if Saffold will play against the Patriots. Over the weekend, it was Douglas running with the first team at right guard, but against the Patriots on Wednesday and Thursday, Kevin Pamphile played right guard with the ones. Douglas subbed in for Saffold during Thursday’s practice at left guard.
Corey Levin is still the player to watch for me after standing out in last week’s game. I’m in the camp that thinks the best combination may end up being Corey Levin at center with Ben Jones at right guard, so I’ll continue to watch Levin closely.
Levin looked REALLY good yesterday. Good enough to warrant a look with the ones next week. Routinely moved guys in his gap, or climbed to next level defenders in run game. Didn't notice any lapses in the passing game. pic.twitter.com/JbWeYAELe1— Superhorn (@Super_Horn) August 9, 2019
In the first preseason game, Art Smith was aggressive attacking downfield and generous with his play-action usage, two things I hope to see again in this week’s game. The Titans need to be more aggressive on offense than they were last year, and in just one game’s worth of Art Smith, I feel encouraged about where they are heading. That will grow stronger if we see more of the same in today’s game.
Against the Eagles, with Marcus Mariota and Ryan Tannehill on the field, Smith called 24 pass plays and only 12 run plays (with one ending up as a Tannehill scramble). All but the final two of these plays occurred before the two-minute warning of the first half, so we can safely assume they were not influenced by game situation.
A pass rate of 67% would have been the 3rd pass heaviest team in the NFL last season. Not to form too many conclusions from 5 drives of a preseason game, but... this is a positive development that I’ll be continuing to track.
DaQuan Jones and the D-Line
Not sure if we should expect Jurrell Casey, so it’ll be another chance for DaQuan Jones to continue his strong offseason as the best interior pass rusher that will get to play against the Patriots’ first-team offense. Brent Urban is another guy I’m looking forward to seeing get some more reps.
Continue to be impressed by DaQuan Jones. Watched him absolutely have his way with the Patriots oline during practice today. Nose tackle isn’t the flashiest position, but he’s definitely one to keep an eye on. #Titanson2— Emily Proud (@emily_proud) August 14, 2019
Amani Bledsoe and Isaiah Mack may be battling for a roster spot (if they don’t both end up on the team). Those are two other guys I’ll be watching closely on defense.
Kareem Orr, Amani Hooker, and the DBs
Kerry Coombs has the Titans defensive backs playing at a very high level, and one guy who’s made a lot of buzz at training camp is Kareem Orr. I’m also intrigued by how well Amani Hooker has been playing, with Mike even saying he looks like a seasoned vet out there already.
Kareem Orr continuing to string together a few really strong days out here. Just had a big PBU on a deep ball into the end zone. Seconday coach Kerry Coombs shouting praise his way from the sideline.— Erik Bacharach (@ErikBacharach) August 14, 2019
There a handful of other DBs looking to prove themselves, notably Joshua Kalu, JoJo Tillery, Kenneth Durden, and LaDarius Wiley. Can any of these guys make a play?
Last week the Titans committed 12 penalties for 117 yards. They need to clean that up more and more as the season approaches.
As always, we pray both sides can get in and out with no injuries. Winning and losing doesn’t really matter. But of course, beating the Patriots again would be fun just because.
Maybe one day, Preseason Week Two will be the final week of preseason.