Normally the Titans use the third preseason game as their dress rehearsal for the regular season. That may not be the case this year since Jeff Fisher said earlier this week he won’t play the starters into the third quarter against the Buffalo Bills Friday night.
Expect to see more of the same you saw in the first two preseason games. Pretty vanilla, for the most part, not a lot of scheming, at least on Tennessee’s part. Buffalo may be using this game as their dress rehearsal, according to The Buffalo News:
(Coach Dick) Jauron said the starters would play at least one half against Tennessee. Maybe into the second, he said, but maybe not. Rookie Trent Edwards will work behind (QB) J.P. Losman, but Jauron didnt know how much playing time Craig Nall would receive, if any.
Titans RB LenDale White was back on the practice field Wednesday for the first time in a while and is expected to get the starting nod. Chris Brown and Chris Henry got the starts in the first two preseason games.
I expect Titans CB Michael Griffin to start Friday night. Griffin has been working with the first team defense the past several practices. Ben Troupe is still out with what one Titan told me was a “strained” foot. Troupe now appears to be a non-factor, at least for the time being.
This is what I wrote about the Bills in my pregame analysis of them last December.
The major personnel changes since then are the losses of veteran stars CB Nate Clements, MLB London Fletcher-Baker, SLB Takeo Spikes and RB Willis McGahee. The Bills’ first-round draft pick, RB Marshawn Lynch, replaces McGahee.
Here’s a Bills’ viewpoint on our MVN Bills site, Circling the Wagons, and Dan Goldman’s report card on them last week.
Total Titans brief overview: Buffalo’s offense may become better this year. WR Lee Evans, the favorite target of the strong-armed Losman, had a great season last year and is one guy to watch. The Titans secondary had certainly better keep an eye on him.
The defense is weaker with the losses of Clements, Fletcher-Baker and Spikes. Second year men SS Donte Whitner and OLB Paul Poslunsky need to continue improving to fill the void. The Bills’ 4-3 defense has a lot of smaller, quick guys in their front seven and play a lot of cover-2 in the secondary. RDE Aaron Schobel and DT Larry Triplett lead the d-line.
Buffalo has one of the best special teams in the league, good to very good in all phases.
Matchups to watch: A pair of matchups with two rising young star left tackles blocking two Pro Bowl defensive ends. Titans RDE Kyle Vanden Bosch will be lining up against Bills star LT Jason Peters and Tennessee LT Michael Roos will be blocking Schobel, who is coming off his first Pro Bowl appearance.
Last meeting: Tennessee defeated Buffalo 30-29 in week 16 last season in a close game that could have gone either way. The Bills had a tough decision to make on their last possession, whether to attempt a long field goal into a strong wind, or to go for it on fourth down. Reynaldo Hill clinched the game for the Titans with an interception.
Connections: Titans’ receivers coach Fred Graves, WR Eric Moulds, CB Eric King and OL Justin Geisinger were all formerly with Buffalo. Titans LB Keith Bulluck is a New York native and attended college at nearby Syracuse.
Weather forecast: Rain in the morning, turning partly cloudy by game time, with a low around 72°. South wind between 7 and 14 mph.