Tennessee Titan’s offense had more than just the Green Bay Packers to deal with last night at LP Field. They also had to deal with an Ark, several pairs of animals, and of course the torrential rains of a stalled storm right over downtown Nashville. It rained, and it rained hard for most of the game.
The Titan’s coaches can throw away the film of this game. They learned absolutely nothing about their team. They learned nothing about Jake Locker and they learned nothing about receivers. Well almost nothing anyway.
Jake was 1-2 passing the ball in this slop. His 1 pass completion was a 5 yard curl to wide receiver Justin Hunter. His one incompletion was also targeted at Hunter who had beaten the Packer cornerback badly off of the line of scrimmage on a third and short. The ball was thrown to the wrong shoulder and Hunter could not find it either in the lights or the deluge. Hunter would have been better off to have goggles on than a face mask last night.
So the grade on Jake and the passing game was simply no grade at all. It was impossible to get a snap off much less creating any kind of rhythm on offense. But a few glimpses of promise did show through the rain and the night.
Bishop Sankey is going to be good. Sankey was chosen as the first running back off of the board in this years draft. The Titans loved his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield, and he did not disappoint. He had a few nice runs between the tackles, and caught a few passes, one which became a 5 yard td from back up quarterback Charlie Whitehurst. Sankey showed he may contend for an offensive rookie of the year award.
Charlie Whitehurst showed me he can actually play. I feel better knowing that he is possibly better than I expected him to be. He looks comfortable and confident. He has a good enough arm, and he made good decisions. He even showed a little elusiveness in a “keystone cops” kind of chase that ended in a throw caught again by Sankey, and was turned into a first down by the running back.
The entire offensive line was a bright spot as well. They have the pieces in place to be formidable. They can move people off of the ball with their size, yet provide pass protection with their athleticism. First round pick Taylor Lewan looked good, but had one play that caused a little confusion that resulted in a sack of Whitehurst.
The backs all look good as well. Shonn Greene started and scored on a 13 yard run after a punt was mishandled by the Packers. Dexter McCluster showed just how much fun he is going to be with a few short runs. I think he is going to make a huge impact on this team. He is fast, and he likes to have the ball in his hands.
Jackie Battle will probably win the fullback job. He is just too valuable in other areas of this team. He can move to tailback and plays on special teams as well. He may be my favorite Titan (other than Justin Hunter since I am a Vol fan). Battle is a football throwback. He is simply a football player. He will run over you in a heart beat instead of seeking the sideline. He scored the winning touchdown last night late in the fourth quarter, and it was evident that the defensive backs had no heart to go up against him with a full head of steam.
Zach Mettenberger had mixed reviews on the night. I like to take the positive and refuse to believe that he is as slow footed as I witnessed last night. I just like to think that he has never played on a wet field in his life and just wanted to be careful not to fall down. With that out of the way, this kid can spin it. I love his delivery, size and confidence. He led the 5 play td drive late in the fourth quarter, and had the throw of the game which went for 38 yards to Brian Robiskie. Prediction….Robiskie will make this team.
Again, you can’t read too much into this preseason game in particular. It was extremely sloppy. The first team was not going to play much. The time they were on the field was the heaviest period of rain of the evening. I really don’t want fans to be worried about Jake. He has had a good camp so far. Hopefully the next outing will allow him to play football instead of worrying about treading water.