Pretty much all the reports this season coming out of Titans camp have been positive. From all accounts, the team has been practicing well and getting better each and every day. So with that being said, the fans of the Titans were looking forward to the team getting out there and showing the world what they had been working on. Although the first team offense and defense was not going to be out there long (and DeMarco Murray was not out there in the first preseason game), plenty expected to see a physical team excited to go up against a team that no one expected much from in the New York Jets. The team that everyone is expecting to finish last in the AFC East and could possibly have the worst record in the NFL was hosting a team that had high expectations. Well, things did not turn out the way many thought it would. The Titans and Jets played in what was a very boring preseason game that saw the Jets win by the score of 7-3. Yes, only ten total points in this preseason opener between these two teams. All in all, the Titans did not look like the team many expected them to be at all. Of course, it is only the first game of the preseason, but there are some things that have to be of some concern on both offense and defense.
The Titans were an offensive team that used the power run game to dominate teams and wear them out on their way back to relevance last season. But one thing that did not help them last season was the penalties they had such as false starts or pass interferences. No one really expected them to look outstanding in their first preseason game, but the performance of the Titans looked out of sync. Marcus Mariota did look sharp on one play, as he rolled out and threw a dart on his first pass play, showing that his leg was doing just fine. With a delay of game penalty, offensive pass interference, and a holding penalty, the Titans could not sustain anything at all. Couple that with the fact that the Titans were blowing pass protections right and left with whoever was on the field and the offense looked inept out there. For a team that is looking to be a playoff contender, that had to be disturbing to see. Habits like the sloppiness that the Titans displayed offensively can be easy to start and hard to correct. Head coach Mike Mularkey will be looking to correct those mistakes in the next week of practice for the Titans.
Defensively, the Titans were mostly smoke and mirrors last season. They created pressure up front and that pressure was needed to help offset the fact that they were not as strong in the secondary. The pairing of Parrish Cox and Jason McCourty were supposed to be solid at the cornerback position, but that was not the case. McCourty was not healthy as much during the season and when he played he was not quite himself. As far as Cox, he made some plays at times but he was often out of position when it came to defending the pass. That weakness was something the Titans wanted to address this offseason and they did so when they signed former New England Patriots cornerback Logan Ryan to a three-year deal.
Signing Ryan meant the Titans would be getting a guy they hoped would be a leader in their secondary and help lock down one half of the field. Well, hopefully Saturday night was an aberration because Ryan was not as solid as the Titans had hoped for. He was taken advantage of on a couple of occasions by Jets wide receivers. For the Titans to be as good as it is expected they will be, Ryan definitely has to be better than he was Saturday night. He is getting paid to be the man so he has to be the man for them in the secondary.
The preseason opener for the Titans was not as successful as they thought it would be and for some Titans fans, there has to be some concerns. The performance may have been bad, but the good thing is there are two more games to get it right out there and the starters will play even longer next game. Hopefully the offense will be more in sync, the pass protection will be better and Logan Ryan will be ready to go come next game.
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