The Carolina Panthers outlasted the Tennessee Titans in last night's 15-7 defensive struggle. During the first half, when the starters played, the end result was a 0-0 contest through two quarters, as the defenses reigned supreme while the offenses on the other hand, fizzled.
Since it's the preseason, the outcome of the game isn't the emphasis: it's all about the starters getting solid reps as they prepare for the regular season and for the backups/roster hopefuls, it's their opportunity to make their individual cases for making the squad.
Up next....I'll take a look at some of the good and not-so-good performances by the Tennessee Titans in last night's loss.
-Despite the overall struggles from the offense, I definitely liked what I saw from young TEs Craig Stevens and Jared Cook. Both players have the potential to be vertical threats in the offense.
-Meanwhile, in the vaunted battle for the #2 CB position, I thought Jason McCourty had a solid overall performance. He broke up a couple of passes while also doing an excellent job of stepping up and making tackles while playing the run.
Emerging rookie Alterraun Verner didn't do too bad either, as he once again demonstrated his magnet-like ability to be around the football as he forced a fumble.
I still think McCourty will end up starting opposite of Cortland Finnegan on opening day, but Verner is definitely a guy who should see some playing time as the season unfolds.
-If Jason Jones can stay healthy, he definitely has what it takes to become quite a player in this league.
-Everyone's favorite sleeper a.k.a. Marc Mariani, continues to make plays and turn heads with his innate abilities to get open and catch the football. Not only is he a gimme at this point to make the roster, I wouldn't be surprised if he's able to eventually snag some playing time during the regular season.
-We all miss Craig Hentrich, but the punting game's in good hands with Brett Kern.
-After a disappointing 2009 campaign, Jovan Haye continues to look as if he's ready to turn things around in 2010. He's lighter and during the preseason, has constantly been around the football.
-In limited action, LeGarrette Blount carried twice for 13 yards. Meanwhile, Samkon Gado, with the same amount of carries, lost two yards on his attempts. This week's winner in the competition for the #3 RB battle: LeGarrette Blount.
-As expected, he didn't play alot, but in limited play, I was kinda impressed with Derrick Morgan's ability to get after the passer. He didn't register a sack, but he was able to get some pressure on a few plays against the Panthers' starters.
-Although it's been called only a right knee strain, it definitely wasn't a pretty sight seeing Michael Roos leave the game with a knee injury. Losing a player of his caliber would be a disaster to say the least, especially considering the team's issues with depth on the offensive line.
- VY has certainly seen better days. His performance, as well as the starting offense as a whole, was ineffective through two punt-filled quarters.
-Speaking of seeing better days, the explosive Chris Johnson only accounted for 10 yards on 8 carries against a Panther defense that was ready for him each time he toted the rock. Of course, I'm definitely not worried about CJ; when the regular season starts, I'm confident he'll break some of his trademark long-gainers.
-With McCourty and Verner stepping up this preseason, fellow #2 CB competitor Ryan Mouton has become an afterthought. He's clearly behind the aforementioned two players and at this point, keeping a roster spot should be Mouton's realistic goal.
-Memo to Damian Williams: putting the football on the ground while returning punts is a bad thing...just ask Ryan Mouton.
-Tough night for Rusty Smith, who tossed an INT while completing 6 of 11 passes for 57 yards. Despite his struggles, I still think he'll beat out Chris Simms for the team's #3 QB position.
-I have to mention the special teams' coverage units here, due to the unit giving up a 91-yard TD on a kick return in the second half last night.
Any thoughts on last night's good and bad Titan performances? Add your opinions in the comments section below.