After grinding it out in the heat over 2 days of joint practices, the Titans and Patriots square off at Nissan Stadium in their second week of preseason action.
Let’s start off with the basics however. There are some people who aren’t expected to get any time tonight, as they’re either recovering from injury or being held out for maintenance reasons.
Some of those include Nate Davis, Adam Humphries, and Derrick Henry of course. Davis has been out of practice for a while with what Mike Vrabel is calling “exhaustion”.
Adam Humphries hurt himself in Wednesday’s joint practice. He returned the next day, but didn’t get a lot of work in. There’s still a chance he plays, but I wouldn’t count on it.
Derrick Henry is still recovering from a reported calf strain and hasn’t practiced since the first day of training camp. He has however gotten a lot of work done with trainers on the field during practice.
We will get to see AJ Brown tonight, the first preseason action for the rookie out of Ole Miss.
— Paul Kuharsky (@PaulKuharskyNFL) August 17, 2019
Now that that’s out the way, let’s get to what you came here for.
1. Marcus Mariota and Reported QB Competition
Marcus Mariota has taken every snap with the 1st team offense in practice. He took every single snap with the 1st team offense in the team’s first preseason game against Philadelphia.
But national media still continues to claim there is a QB competition.
Mariota can’t do anything about the outside noise, but he can quiet it down a little bit with his play on the field. Mariota was sharp in the 2 joint practices against the Patriots, showing he’s not even close to giving up his QB1 spot.
Not that it was in jeopardy anyways.
But still, going out there and putting together a nice opening drive would do wonders for quieting national media.
He should have a good bit of his weapons back as well. Which would occur for the first time since the opening day of training camp.
How much will they play though? More on that a little later.
2. How Much Will The Veterans Play?
If you’ve been following along closely, you would’ve noticed that a lot of veterans have gotten rest days or “maintenance” days as camp has gone along. These surely help with veterans who are coming off injury or simply to prevent them from being overworked.
Delanie Walker, Corey Davis, and Jack Conklin have been the main receivers of these. As Walker comes back from a severe lower leg injury and has just turned 35 years old.
Corey Davis is only in his 3rd year, but he exerts so much pressure due to his explosiveness, that the staff wants to stay on the very extra cautious side, and not let him overwork himself in the preseason.
Conklin is going into his 4th year and his 4th year will be the most important of his career so far.
It begs the question of how much these and other veterans like Cameron Wake and Harold Landry will play. I believe we’ll see Corey Davis, Delanie Walker, and Jack Conklin out there tonight, but not so much. As it is only the 2nd preseason game of the 2019 season.
I wouldn’t be surprised however to see Cameron Wake get another game off. Wake is 37 and he’ll be needed greatly as a proven EDGE rusher opposite Harold Landry. Speaking of Landry, I expect him to get some run as well, but at most a series or 2.
3. Can Taywan Taylor Translate His Great Showings In Practice On To The Field?
It isn’t a secret that Taywan Taylor didn’t have the best of games last time out against the Eagles, He had a pair of bad drops and couldn’t get his feet down on a seemingly easy catch on the sideline.
For me this is the most egregious thing Taylor did last night. Drops are a concentration issue but not getting a second foot down on a basic outroute is just lazy from a 3rd year player… pic.twitter.com/Q3KHQ6hLCF
— Coach Holaday (@Titan4Ever595) August 9, 2019
The drops are surely something Taywan would have to control and work on himself. But he can’t make mistakes like these, they won’t work out for his role in the offense and the entire offense as a whole.
After this game however, Taylor came back to practice and showed why the organization thinks he can be a gamechanger in this offense. He didn’t have any sort of bad drops and glided his way out on the field.
Taylor talked about what was expressed to him after his disappointing game against the Eagles.
Taywan Taylor on what was expressed to him after his disappointing game against the Eagles. pic.twitter.com/pwK6P9k3vp
— TreJean Watkins (@TreWatkins099) August 14, 2019
Taylor has practiced well, but if he can translate his practice performance on to the field, it’ll do wonders for him.
Not just him though, the offense entirely will become much more dynamic when Taylor is at the top of his game.
Keep and eye out for him tonight.
4. How Will 1st Team Defense Respond to Potential Tom Brady Start?
The Titans’ 1st team defense didn’t have much success against Tom Brady this week to put it nicely. Tom Brady showed why he’s widely respected around the league, tearing apart the Titans’ defense in 7v7 and 11v11.
The Titans tried plenty of looks during practice. If the defense was running man, Brady just checked down to get moderate gains, slowly moving his way up the field. If the Titans ran zone, Brady just zipped it in holes of the zone, looking basically unstoppable.
Now 7v7 is tailor made to make the offense look sharp, but if you’re getting ripped to shreds in 11v11, there’s somewhat of a problem.
There’s even more of a problem if the WRs that are catching the passes from Brady aren’t guys you’d see much on Sundays.
Now there isn’t word on if Brady will play at all, but if he does, the defense has to be sharp.
5. Can Roster Hopefuls Kalif Raymond and Cody Hollister Build On Last Week’s Performance?
Kalif Raymond and Cody Hollister were by far the best reserves last week.
Raymond, who came into the game with a good bit of hype after his great week of practice, didn’t flash as much this past week. But he’s still running with the 2nd team offense and has a great chance to build on his case to make the final 53 man roster.
Cody Hollister worked with the 3rd team offense again this week, but it shouldn’t really matter at this point. He’s turned in one great performance already. If he can build on it with another great game tonight, he’ll catapult himself even more into the final 53 man roster discussion.
Keep an eye on these 2 a little more closely tonight, as they both continue their journeys to make the final roster.
Where to Watch Tonight’s Game
The game will be shown regionally, which means middle TN, on WKRN.
Online: NFL Gamepass. Get a free trial of NFL Gamepass here.
Radio: 104.5 The Zone Play by Play will be handled by Mike Keith and Dave McGinnis will be the color analyst.
For more information on where you can access WKRN to watch tonight’s game, click here.
Cover Photo via Jim Wyatt of TitansOnline.com