Buoyed by a solid effort courtesy of the first-teamers, the Tennessee Titans defeated the Arizona Cardinals 24-10 in their nationally televised home preseason opener.
Vince Young played well, completing 9 of his 13 passing attempts for 128 yards while leading the team on a couple of impressive drives. Since it's the preseason, Chris Johnson's touches were limited (six rushing attempts) but per the norm, CJ's abilities were on full display via his impressive 8-yard TD run.
Up next...a few additional thoughts/observations regarding the stellar and not-so-stellar performances by the Titans last night.
Following the format of previous Titans' preseason recaps in years past, I'll categorize my thoughts in the form of hits and misses. Of course, the hits will dwell upon the guys/units that stepped up, with the misses doing the reverse; pointing out the players/units that weren't so successful.
-Kudos to the Tennessee Titans' rushing attack as a whole last night. Led by an offensive line that did a good job of paving holes, several of the Titans' backs had solid performances.
The aforementioned CJ, as usual, was effective, despite his inability to break one of his trademark big runs (hopefully, he's saving those for when it matters). Controversial undrafted free agent LeGarrette Blount channeled his temper towards something more positive last night, running like a mack-truck as he showcased his physical abilities while simultaneously bowling over the opposition.
Last week, Andrew pondered whether newcomer Samkon Gado could help the Titans. So far, the answer is yes, as evidenced by his physical running that culminated in two rushing touchdowns on the evening. Last but not least, Javon Ringer was also productive, showing a nice burst and rushing for 27 yards on 7 attempts.
-As I alluded to in the opening paragraph of his article, VY was very effective last night. Despite an occasional lapse or two, his development into a complete NFL QB rather than just being an athlete continues to go in a positive direction.
-As for the backup QBs, surprise, surprise; "The Game Manager" a.k.a. Kerry Collins stepped up with the best showing. I'm still not impressed with Chris Simms, who in my opinion, is a dead-man-walking in terms of his ability to earn a roster spot this year. Rusty Smith didn't do bad either in limited action, but his efforts to lead the team on a scoring drive were thwarted when Paul Williams dropped an easy one on a 4th and 8 attempt in the final quarter.
-Liked what I saw from Nate Washington last night. He consistently held onto the football and displayed the speed and playmaking ability that could make him a solid WR threat for VY and the Titans' passing game in 2010.
-Also was impressed with the depth at WR. Damian Williams made a few plays, Marc Mariani's continues to show us his Wes Welker-esque abilities and even though it wasn't a reception, Lavelle Hawkins lived up to his moniker as he soared over a Cardinal defender on an impressive end-around in the second half.
-Speaking of Williams and Mariani, they have both upgraded the return units compared to last year's debacle. One or the both of them should be solid contributors on special teams' in their rookie seasons.
-If he stays healthy, Craig Stevens is going to be a solid all-around TE for the Titans in 2010 and beyond.
-Once again, enigmatic TE Jared Cook shows off his athletic ability with two nice grabs. If he can become more consistent (a big IF), my, what wonderful matchup problems he could pose for opposing defenders!
-He's got a helluva task in front of him as the man who's replacing Keith Bulluck, but so far, so good for Will Witherspoon. He's a nice tackler and has a way of being around the action on a consistent basis.
-Jason Jones got a nice push up the middle on a few plays. If he can avoid the injury bug, he's definitely a guy who's poised to have a break-out year of sorts in 2010.
-Can someone please cut the chord on the Paul Williams experiment? He's a good guy, but barring an apocalyptic event, he'll continue to be regarded along the lines of former Titan Chris Henry as noteworthy busts of the 2007 Titans' draft.
-As I said earlier, Chris Simms hasn't done much to inspire confidence in his ability to stick around.
-Despite his overall solid offseason, Jason McCourty was beat on a couple of throws last night. Despite his struggles, he's still the man to beat in the competition to start opposite of Cortland Finnegan.
-A not-so-hot performance from Kenny Britt last night. After failing to come up with a catch, in frustration, he kicked a ball out of bounds. He's certainly a guy who has a lot of ability but he's going to have to get it together soon mentally, especially considering his train-wreck of an offseason.
-I'll save the biggest miss for last: the team's inability to constantly pressure opposing quarterbacks. Chuck Cecil's aggressive blitzes did an ok job of getting pressure but without the blitz, I'm not too enthusiastic about this unit's ability to mount pressure on a consistent basis. With the team losing veteran talents such as KVB and "The Freak", getting nothing so far in terms of production from first-rounder Derrick Morgan and injuries to Jacob Ford and William Hayes, the team is in a bit of a predicament at DE.
Hopefully, the return of guys like Hayes, Ford and Morgan to the lineup will result in a better pass-rush moving forward because if it doesn't, there's going to be some struggles in that department in 2010.
That's it for me, folks. Any thoughts/impressions regarding last night's game? Feel free to contribute your musings in the comments section below.