After seven months and nine days, the Tennessee Titans head to the City of Brotherly Love to play the first snaps of meaningful football this year. The preseason has admittedly lost some of its luster in the past few seasons, but seeing your team face off against a team in a different colored jersey for the first time is always a great feeling for football fans. No more draft hype, no more hypotheticals, no more eccentric arrivals to training camp. Just football.
The Titans will face the Eagles in their preseason opener tonight at 6:30pm CT, with Titans Radio coverage on 104-5 The Zone starting at 4:30pm CT.
How to listen:
📻: 104.5 FM
Heading into Mike Vrabel’s second year as head coach, this team will try and get the 9-7 monkey off their back, failing to make the playoffs two of the last three years with that record. The road to the playoffs start tonight, and there’s plenty of reasons to tune in tonight at 6:30.
For the Titans, the list starts with Adam Humphries. The free agent signee from Tampa Bay has been impressing people in camp with his quickness ability to get open in tight areas in the middle of the field and in the redzone. Humphries had 76 receptions a year ago, for 816 yards on 105 targets. All three of those stats would have ranked second on the Titans last year, behind only Corey Davis. Along with Delanie Walker and Dion Lewis, Humphries adds another piece who can work effectively out of the slot (59 of his 76 catches came out of the slot in 2018).
Rodger Saffold is another key addition for the Titans this offseason, an offensive guard coming over from the Rams to take the place of Quinton Spain. The offensive line in general is something for Titans fans to keep an eye on during the preseason, but the left guard position seems to be locked up as long as Saffold stays healthy.
Brent Urban and Cameron Wake were also brought in this offseason as insurance to a defense who lost Derrick Morgan and Brian Orakpo. Both are solid players, but if all goes well with the Titans’ young stable of pass rushers (Finch, Landry, Evans), both players should be solid rotational guys for this defensive line.
The Titans’ top two draft picks from April’s Draft won’t be suiting up tonight, but should be key additions once they make their two-toned blue debut. Jeffrey Simmons, a defensive tackle from Mississippi State, was regarded as one of the top talents in the draft, but a torn ACL in February caused him to fall on some teams’ draft boards, allowing the Titans to grab him with the 19th overall pick. Simmons had 18 tackles for loss in his final year as a Bulldog, along with two sacks. The Titans’ second round pick, wide receiver AJ Brown, flashed in college at Ole Miss and showed he can be a strong complement to Corey Davis in this offense. Brown suffered an undisclosed injury on the first day of training camp, but Mike Vrabel hasn’t sounded too worried about Brown’s availability for Week 1.
What we will see tonight is a hefty amount of playing time for the other four draft picks from April’s Draft: offensive lineman Nate Davis (Charlotte), safety Armani Hooker (Iowa), linebacker D’Andre Walker (Georgia) and linebacker David Long Jr. (West Virginia).
For the Eagles, this offseason was all about helping Carson Wentz. DeSean Jackson, Jordan Howard, Miles Sanders, JJ Arcega-Whiteside and Andre Dillard are all additions that directly help maximize Wentz’ talent. No longer does Doug Peterson have Nick Foles to fall back on after Foles found a new home in Jacksonville, so Wentz’ ability to stay healthy for the duration of the season will play a big role in the Eagles’ chances to take home their second Super Bowl in three years.
Reasons to Watch:
Titans Offensive Line Shuffle
With Taylor Lewan potentially missing the first four games of the season, the Titans have been playing around with their offensive line rotation almost every day. The starters right now seem to be Dennis Kelly, Rodger Saffold, Ben Jones, Kevin Pamphile, and Jack Conklin, but it’ll be interesting to see how they shuffle those guys around and introduce rookie Nate Davis in the game tonight.
Titans Pass Rush
Arguably the position the Titans’ have the most depth at is linebacker. Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans have become three-down guys, with veteran Wesley Woodyard still being a key factor up the middle, but one of the more interesting position battles in camp has been the outside linebacker position. Harold Landry was drafted in 2018 to be the pass-rush specialist, but Sharif Finch and Cameron Wake have also been rotating in with the first-team defense in practice. Tonight could be an indication on how the Titans plan to rotate these guys in and out during the regular season.
The Quarterback Position
This one seems pretty obvious, but still needs to be said. This is more of a season-long thing to watch, but tonight is where it starts. There’s a reason the Titans’ brought in Ryan Tannehill. Every Titans’ fan remembers watching Blaine Gabbert struggle to move the ball against the Colts in Week 17 last season as their playoff hopes slowly died. In a year where the Titans’ will ultimately need to make a long-term decision on Mariota, they went out and got some insurance at the quarterback position in case Mariota finds him self on the injured list again. Tonight in when we start to see what their investment got them.
Jurrell Casey (knee), Ryan Succop (knee), and Jonnuu Smith (knee) all remain on the Physically Unable to Perform list. Running back Derrick Henry (calf) remains sidelined from the calf injury he sustained on the first day of training camp, along with AJ Brown (undisclosed), both of whom didn’t make the trip to Philadelphia.
How To Listen:
Coverage on 104.5 FM begins at 4:30 pm CT on Thursday and will continue a few hours after the game. Listen live on 104.5 or stream on 1045thezone.com.