KANSAS CITY – Here’s a look at six things that stood out from Friday night’s preseason game against the Chiefs:
Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota might be a nice guy, but don’t mistake his kindness for weakness. Mariota bounced off the turf and at the least stared down Chiefs linebacker Justin Houston after getting sacked in the first half. Houston stood over Mariota, and the rookie didn’t like it. He made that clear. While Mariota downplayed it afterward, his teammates played it up. The kid looks like a fighter, and they like it.
The Wright Stuff
Receiver Kendall Wright has regularly made big plays in practices, and on Friday night he made several nice grabs – and moves – against the Chiefs. Wright had three catches for 60 yards in the game. He caught balls on quick crossing patterns across the middle, and he hauled in a 30-yarder downfield. It should be a successful combination this fall.
Linebacker Zach Brown missed two tackles that led to big plays on Friday night, and Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt called it “unacceptable.” Brown had a ball carrier stopped short of a first down on one third-down play, but he didn’t wrap up. Later, he let a Chief elude him on the sideline for a big play. Brown was hardly alone, however. The Titans missed tackles on defense and on special teams.
McCluster’s a Weapon**
Some have questioned Dexter McCluster’s value to the team, but on Friday night it became a little more evident at Arrowhead Stadium, where he previously starred with the Chiefs. McCluster carried the ball five times for 37 yards, and he also had two catches for 20 yards. McCluster gives the Titans a weapon who can line up in a number of spots. He’s had a good preseason.
Clean it Up
Even before the deluge the Titans had plenty of things they needed to clean up. With the ball near the goal line, guard Chance Warmack committed a false start penalty that moved the offense back, and Mariota was sacked a play later. The Titans settled for a field goal. Tight end Anthony Fasano was also called for a false start that negated a fourth-down conversion. Those are forgivable mistakes in the preseason, but not the regular season.
Cox the Playmaker
Because of injuries, the Titans are still sorting things out at the cornerback position. But veteran Perrish Cox has emerged as a playmaker. A week after recording a pick-6 against the Rams, Cox had another interception against the Chiefs. It’s a good sign moving forward for a team looking for players to create more turnovers.
The Titans take on the Chiefs in Week 3 of the preseason in Kansas City. (Donn Jones, AP)