This evening the Tennessee Titans will be in New Orleans, facing the Saints for their second preseason game. The game is set to begin at 7 PM CT and will be on the air wherever the Titans and the Saints have local preseason affiliates. Non-local viewers will have to wait a couple days for NFL Network’s re-air of the game or subscribe to the NFL’s Preseason Live streaming service (which is how I’ll be viewing the game) or find some other way of watching.
As was the case with the first preseason game, tonight’s game will be much more about the Tennessee Titans and what want to do and who they want to be than about anything specific to the New Orleans Saints, with or without Drew Brees. After last Saturday’s rain likely truncated the number of snaps for the first team and definitely impacted the coaches’ plan for what they wanted to see with the first units, I expect the Titans do and show more of what they really want to be, though less than they’ll show the third game against the Falcons and much less than they’ll do when the regular season begins against Kansas City.
Here are the things I’ll be focusing my attention on as I watch tonight’s game:
1. All the stuff from last week I didn’t get a good read on. Jake Locker. Anything to do with the passing game, especially involving the first-team offense. A much deeper look at the development of Brian Schwenke and Chance Warmack.
2. Bishop Sankey, runner. If you weren’t a fan, you didn’t see a lot from him in the run game that made you a fan. How much of that was due to the conditions and it being his first game, and how much of it is a smaller sample size matching what I think the larger sample size shows?
3. The second-team center. Schwenke will play with the first team, but who goes in for him? Andy Levitre has done it some in practice. They recently added Steve Vallos. Is he just this year’s version of Chris Morris or a legitimate threat to make the team if Spencer has a long-term injury? Will UDFA Gabe Ikard get the majority of the work?
4. The defensive line rotation. Does it stay the same from last week? Who plays in sub? Will any of the three injured players-Marcus Dixon, Antonio Johnson, and Mike Martin-play and show something?
5. Outside linebackers playing both sides. I mentioned this in yesterday’s positional analysis, so it’s toward the top of my mind. This could be a hint of the rotation to come.
6. The cornerback battle. Ken Whisenhunt has indicated he may switch up things where there are position battles, so Blidi Wreh-Wilson may get the start instead of Coty Sensabaugh. The other of the two will probably play in the slot when the Saints play three wide receivers.
7. The kickers. Another position that could see a first-up switch, with Travis Coons playing ahead of Maikon Bonani after last week. Kicking in a dome, you can get a “truer” test of distance. Can Coons boom his kickoffs deep enough? Can Bonani show good accuracy on his placekicks?
8. The returner. Three contenders-Marc Mariani, Dexter McCluster, Leon Washington. Mariani got the snaps there last week, but it was a tough environment and he may get another game to show what he can do. Who’s back there, and how does he do?
9. No injuries. Listed last, but first, foremost, and most important, as last week reminded us with Colin McCarthy and Chris Spencer going down.
I’m not sure how much of the game I’ll be able to see live. If I do watch it live, I’ll be yapping about it on Twitter, so follow and chat with me there if you wish. Recap up after the game, analysis not likely to come until next week.