NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Here’s a look at six things that stood out from Sunday night’s preseason win against the Rams:
The rookie quarterback keeps acting like a pro. Marcus Mariota threw the ball well on the run, and was accurate in his second preseason game while completing 5-of-8 passes for 59 yards. He handled adversity well when the coach-to-quarterback device didn’t work properly early, and he bounced back after being victimized by a dropped touchdown. It was another solid outing for the second overall pick of the draft.
With every outing, second-year quarterback Zach Mettenberger generates more trade speculation because of his play. National observers view the Titans back-up as a valuable commodity, and think the team should trade him. The Titans view Mettenberger as a dandy themselves, one they want to keep. With the way he’s played – Mettenberger has a 122.9 rating while completing 75 percent of his passes – I sure wouldn’t let him go.
Titans running back Bishop Sankey appeared to dance around too much in the preseason opener at Atlanta. I really liked his aggressive running style against the Rams. Sankey didn’t waste any time when he got the ball in his hands against St .Louis, and it’s why he was able to get through the hole so much quicker. There were several encouraging signs coming out of this one, but Sankey’s performance really stood out to me.
OK, it’s too early to call the offensive line “fixed.” But things looked much better up front with rookie Jeremiah Poutasi at right tackle, and big Byron Bell at left guard. The Titans appeared to get more push up front, and should be a more physical line. Heck, they were working against a talented Rams defensive front, which makes the work even more impressive. This is probably a bad development for Andy Levitre, however.
Credit veteran cornerback Perrish Cox with setting a tone early against the Rams. Cox’s pick-six – a 24-yard interception return for a touchdown – gave the Titans an early 7-0 lead. It was the first of many good plays for the first-team defense, which should have a little more swagger after shutting the Rams down from the very beginning on Sunday night.
Delanie Walker’s thumb injury has given other tight ends a chance to play even more, and Chase Coffman has taken full advantage. Coffman had a pair of touchdown passes against the Rams – he caught a bullet from Mettenberger, and later turned in a 56-yard grab-and-go on a ball thrown by Alex Tanney. Coffman leads the Titans with six catches for 117 yards and two TDs in two games, and is making a heck of a case for himself.
The Titans take on the St. Louis Rams in their 2015 preseason home opener at Nissan Stadium. (Photos: Donn Jones, AP)