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Tennessee Titans Week 2: What We Learned

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     The Tennessee Titans' second game of the preseason was a much better gauge in the confined environment of Mercedes-Benz Superdome. 



Both Shonn Greene and Charlie Whitehurst exited with injury, Greene hurting his right knee and Whitehurst his right hand. Whitehurst's injury was seemingly minor, but Greene's was far more concerning. On the bright side, he was able to stay on the sidelines with ice on his knee. If it were more severe, trainers would have taken the veteran straight to the locker room. However, it's not what anyone wants to see given Greene finally looked as if he had returned to form after dealing with injury the last few seasons. 


OBSERVATIONS


* Jake Locker: He will carry a nice stat-line after completing 8 of 11 passes for 75 yards and a score, but while he did look his best to date, there are some adjustments to be made. First, Locker continues to lock-on to his receivers. The only time we saw Locker go through his progressions was during play-action. Otherwise, there were no feigns to other wideouts or scanning of the field. That might cut it during preseason, but against better defenses, the success will be harder to come by. 

When he's running play-action, Locker looks like a different player. The clock in his head is much faster (because it needs to be), but he goes through progressions quickly and makes quick decisions. While he might tuck and run, he's able to create plays rather than forcing a sack because the target he's locked-on to isn't open. Part of this is Locker still adjusting and getting back into a rhythm after an extended time off with injury.  


* Zach Mettenberger: In contrast to Locker, Mettenberger is better at masking his intent. While that's not enough to win him a starting job, he continues to show chemistry with second-year pro Justin Hunter. Mettenberger totaled 136 yards passing in just under a quarter of play, connecting with the Tennessee product for 107 of those yards and a score. Coach Ken Whisenhunt has made it clear Locker is the quarterback of this team, but Mettenberger's performances thus far provide reassurance should Locker fall to injury. He did notch his second pick in as many games, but receivers were to blame for each. 


* Justin Hunter: The Tennessee product continues to show much more confidence in year two and has put his athleticism on display. His fade route catch for a touchdown from Locker was exactly what we've seen from him in practice over and over again. His 64 yard scamper on a crossing route from Mettenberger also showed his speed. If anyone on this team is poised for a huge season, it's Hunter. 


* Taylor Thompson: The tight end continues to shine and has been a reliable target for all three quarterbacks throughout camp and during preseason games. Adding his presence to the trio of Delanie Walker, Justin Hunter and Kendall Wright in the red zone will spell trouble for opposing defenses. 


* Shonn Greene: As stated, Greene was forced out of the game with a right knee injury. This is the same knee he had arthroscopic surgery on in September of 2013, followed by a scope around May of this year which kept him out of OTAs. Bottom line, this isn't good news, even if the injury is minor. 


* Marc Mariani: The veteran has looked like a man on-the-bubble up until Friday's game. Anyone watching his performance against the Saints were reminded how valuable he can be in the kick return game. Mariani returned three kicks for 91 yards, setting the Titans up with good field position every time he touched the ball. If his spot wan't secure before, it is now. 


* Bishop Sankey: The rookie showed more explosiveness with his first-step than we've seen before. The Superdome turf could have something to do with it, but it was another side to Sankey we haven't seen yet. He continues to impress with his abilities out of the backfield, his vision and toughness. Given Shonn Greene's injury, the organization has to be even happier with their draft choice. 


* Jurrell Casey: The USC product shed some weight during the offseason and is showing the speed to prove it. Now, his strength has been combined with a quick release off the line. The result has been constant pressure from Casey, who will be a thorn in quarterback's sides this season. Aside from Casey however, the defensive line still leaves more to be wanted in pass rush situations. 


* Wesley Woodyard: The former Broncos standout continues to get better with each week that passes. Woodyard was impressive against the Saints, playing with an aggression we've been waiting for from this linebacker corps. He totaled four tackles and two assisted tackles in just under two quarters of play.


     There is still plenty of work to do, but with each week this Titans team continues to improve and give us a better sense of identity on both sides of the ball. The miscues and weak spots are not as glaring as in years past and all are within reach of repair.  The bigger concern after Friday night is health. Several players suffered injuries, something the Titans can't afford as they adjust to a new scheme, new coaches and a new way of doing things.  --Adrian Mojica


--Follow Adrian on Twitter @FFFdaily



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