Titans 27 Saints 24: Thoughts and Observations

The Tennessee Titans concluded their 2010 preseason schedule with a 27-24 victory over the defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans Saints.

Despite All-Pro Chris Johnson’s absence, four Titan running backs combined to rush for an impressive 222 yards. Continuing their spirited battle for a roster spot, both Samkon Gado and LeGarrette Blount had solid games toting the pigskin, accumulating 63 and 59 yards respectively.

The outcome of the contest was sealed with Gerald McRath’s interception of a Chase Daniel pass with little time remaining.

Up next, some thoughts and observations regarding tonight’s Titans’ preseason-ender.

Offense

-In limited playing time, Vince Young’s performance should be rated as an ok effort. Whether it’s the preseason or the regular season, one things remains the same: Bo Scaife continues to be one of his favorite targets, as indicated by former Texas Longhorns hooking up for a Titan scoring toss in the first quarter.

-Nice game from Javon Ringer, who is without a doubt the team’s second best running back. I’m sure he could start on a few teams around the league, but there’s no denying Tennessee isn’t one of them due to CJ’s presence.

-Speaking of backs, as I mentioned earlier, Gado and Blount each had solid efforts. Jeff Fisher’s going to have an interesting decision to make this weekend, as both backs have stepped up to the challenge of showing that they’re worthy of making this football team.

By the way, I’m still on the Blount bandwagon…so he’s my pick to stick around after this weekend.

-It’s official: Kenny Britt has lost his mojo. His undeniable physical talents aside, mentally, he’s lost in a fog right now. The combination of numerous concentration lapses and trying too hard has become a frustrating, recurring theme from Kenny this preseason.

Hopefully, he’ll figure things out as the real games begin.

-Marc Mariani continues to show us that he’s for real: He’s a virtual lock to make this football team.

-For the second consecutive week, Jared Cook made a few nice plays catching the football. Hopefully, it’s a sign of things to come as the regular season unfolds. 

Of course, considering his enigmatic ways, I still need to see a little more from this generation’s #89 to become a believer in his ability to become a factor in the passing game this year.

-Nice 45-yard grab by Dominique Edison, which could have been a touchdown if he had remained in-bounds.

Unfortunately, it may be a classic tale of too little too late, due to his on-the-bubble status.  

Defense

-Jason Jones has been a monster this preseason. If he can stay healthy and that’s a big IF, he’s got the ability to be one of the league’s better defensive tackles.

-Welcome back to the NFL, Cortland Finnegan. After sitting out the first few games of the preseason, “Finny” was constantly targeted by Patrick Ramsey and the Saints tonight.

He showed a little rust on a few occasions, but hopefully that’s behind him as he prepares to play in next weekend’s season-opener.

-Night and day is the phrase that comes to mind when comparing the poor play from last season’s free-agent bust Jovan Haye with his preseason efforts this year.

Hopefully, he’ll continue to impress as the regular season starts.

-He’s probably not going to win a starting position, but Alterraun Verner is definitely a guy that should see his share of playing time this year.

-Playing time is probably something that isn’t going to be in the cards for fellow corner Ryan Mouton, who at this point, should consider himself fortunate if he merely makes the team.

He’s clearly behind the likes of Jason McCourty and the aforementioned Verner and who knows, maybe even Tye Hill has done enough to surpass the former 2009 3rd rounder on the CB totem pole.

-Nice to see 7th rounder David Howard come up with a sack tonight. He’s probably destined for the practice squad but who knows, maybe Washburn can whip him into a contributor down the road.

-Happy trails (for now) to Gerald McRath, who ended the game with an interception that sealed the victory for the Titans. As we all know, that’s the last we’ll see of him in uniform for the next four weeks, thanks to his four-game suspension.

Special Teams

-Damian Williams is the favorite, but personally, I wouldn’t mind seeing Marc Mariani handle the chores as the team’s primary return specialist. Mariani just appears to have a little more “wiggle” and playmaking ability on special teams, whereas I’ve been more impressed with the bigger Williams’ receiving ability than his return skills this preseason.

Needless to say, regardless of who emerges as the winner of this battle, the Titans’ are in a lot better shape at the position compared to this time last year.

-Jeff Fisher isn’t going to like the fact that two of Brett Kern’s punts were blocked tonight. Considering last week’s Carolina Panther kickoff return for a touchdown, that’s two weeks in a row where’s there’s been some kind of special teams’ meltdown.

Any thoughts and observations regarding tonight’s game or this weekend’s upcoming roster decisions? Feel free to contribute your thoughts below, folks.

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