NASHVILLE – The Titans beat the Eagles 27-10 in the preseason opener on Thursday night.
Here’s a look at six things that stood out from the game:
Marcus Mariota barely got loosened up in Philadelphia. He threw just eight passes in one series before swapping his helmet for a baseball cap. Ryan Tannehill and Logan Woodside played well in their extended playing time, with each QB throwing a pair of touchdowns. Mariota will get more playing time in the coming weeks, and if all goes well maybe he’ll have some of his top weapons – Derrick Henry, Delanie Walker, and Corey Davis – around him. In the meantime, the Titans should feel good about their depth at the game’s most important position.
Walker was in Philadelphia, but not in uniform. So tight ends MyCole Pruitt and Anthony Firkser went out and made plays with Walker cheering them on. About the only silver lining to Walker missing all of last season was the fact Pruitt and Firkser had an opportunity to get a lot of playing time, and they developed. The touchdown catches from Pruitt and Firkser offered further proof the Titans have some pretty nice options aside from Walker – and Jonnu Smith, who hasn’t practiced all offseason.
Penalties and drops
The Titans did a lot of things right on Thursday night, but they also made their share of blunders. Receiver Taywan Taylor failed to get two feet inbounds on a sideline incompletion, and he couldn’t come up with a deep ball, even if it was underthrown by Tannehill. He had another drop. The Titans also committed 12 penalties for 117 yards, including several of the 15-yard variety. Titans coach Mike Vrabel – and Taylor -- will look to clean this up.
Points of Emphasis
The Titans have spent a lot of time working in the red zone and on third down situations during training camp, and they passed the first test against the Eagles. The Titans went 11-of-19 (58 percent) on third down, and a perfect 2-of-2 in the red zone. Yes, the first drive from Mariota and the first team offense stalled after a fourth down incompletion, but the Titans did a good job of finishing for the first time out under new offensive coordinator Arthur Smith.
Kalif Raymond and Cody Hollister
I’ve written a lot about Raymond in practice reports so far in camp, and on Thursday night he proved why he’s earned the praise – and opportunities. The scrappy receiver caught six of his eight targets for 80 receiving yards, including one grab where he showed great concentration. Raymond did even more to help his case with an 11.5-yard average on three punt returns, including a 27-yarder. He also returned a kick 24 yards. If he keeps it up, Raymond is going to make it hard on the Titans to cut him. As for Hollister, the 6-foot-4 receiver has enjoyed a nice camp himself, and he turned in an impressive night with four catches for 58 yards and a touchdown.
Again, Mariota didn’t play much. But from the get-go, fans got a chance to see what practice observers have seen on a regular basis in training camp: Mariota likes his new target, Adam Humphries. Mariota targeted Humphries on six of his eight throws against the Eagles, completing four of them for 24 yards. When Walker and Davis are on the field, of course, Mariota will have even more options to consider. But Humphries is going to be a big part of the offense this fall, and the preseason opener only offered further proof.
The Tennessee Titans open the 2019 preseason against the Philadelphia Eagles Thursday night at Lincoln Financial Field. (Photos: Donald Page, AP)