PHILADELPHIA -- The Titans face the Philadelphia Eagles on Thursday night in the preseason opener here at Lincoln Financial Field.
Here’s a look at six things to watch:
Let’s face it – Marcus Mariota won’t play much in this one, if he plays at all. In last year’s preseason opener, Mariota played just one series before trading his helmet in for a baseball cap. If you think this game will provide an extended look at Ryan Tannehill, well, that’s not happening either. Get ready to watch the Logan Woodside show, and based on what we’ve seen in practices, it could be pretty entertaining. The former Toledo star can sling it.
Running Backs Not Named Henry or Lewis
Running back Derrick Henry won’t play on Thursday night, and veteran Dion Lewis might not have to shower after the game. But the running backs who will play will be hungry, because they’re fighting for a roster spot. Jeremy McNichols has edged ahead of backs Dalyn Dawkins and Alex Barnes behind Henry, Lewis and fullback David Fluellen, and with a strong preseason he could wind up being a serious roster spot contender.
OC Arthur Smith
If you’re expecting to see the Titans new offensive coordinator open up his bag of tricks in his debut, you’re going to be disappointed. Look for the Titans to be very vanilla in their approach in preseason game No. 1. What will be worth watching: How Smith handles the operation of the game, getting plays in in a timely fashion. He’s expected to coach from the booth.
The Tennessee Titans travel to Philadelphia to take on the Eagles in Thursday's preseason opener at Lincoln Financial Field. (Photos: Donald Page)
The Titans have a talented tandem at the safety position in Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro, and they’ve added another talent in Hooker, the team’s fourth-round pick out of Iowa. Hooker has displayed great instincts in practices, and has been the best rookie performer so far. Of course the team’s top two picks – Jeffery Simmons and A.J. Brown – have been sidelined and won’t play tonight, and I'll be surprised if we see guard Nate Davis (third round) or D’Andre Walker (fifth round) either. Both have been sidelined of late with injuries. So watch Hooker. Trust me on this.
The Back-up Receivers
I’m not talking about Corey Davis or Adam Humphries here. Again, those guys won’t play much, if at all. Guys like Tajae Sharpe and Taywan Taylor will probably see their work limited as well. So receivers like Kalif Raymond, Cody Hollister, Anthony Ratliff-Williams, Jalen Tolliver, Tanner McEvoy and Papi White are going to play a lot, and have chances to make plays. Raymond, who has been one of the surprises of training camp, hopes to keep the momentum going. He could sure help himself with a big play in the return game, too.
The Titans are expecting big things from Cameron Wake and Harold Landry this season, but there’s another edge rusher who has shined so far in training camp. Finch has been such a popular topic in press conferences, coach Mike Vrabel is getting tired of being asked about him. Finch, who played his college ball here at Temple University, will have a big group of family members in the stands rooting him on. He hopes to give them - and the Titans - something to talk about.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the all-time series between the Tennessee Titans and Philadelphia Eagles. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)