Let me ask you a preseason Week 4 philosophical question.
Would you rather sit 95 percent of your starters on both offense and defense to ensure the health of your team for Week 1, or would you want to see your first team offense develop some sort of rhythm after what’s been a lackluster preseason?
For Titans’ head coach Mike Vrabel—and most coaches in the NFL—the answer seems to be clear: health.
Vrabel gave an unflinching “maybe,” when asked by media if we’d see any starters Thursday in Chicago. He may not have given a definitive answer this week, but if you look back to week 4 of the preseason last year, it’s pretty clear Vrabel values health over preseason performance.
The Midday 180’s Paul Kuharsky tweeted out a photo of all the players who didn’t play in the preseason finale a season ago if you want to look at the full list here, but that list includes Marcus Mariota, Blaine Gabbert, Derrick Henry, Malcolm Butler, Adoree Jackson, Logan Ryan, Jurrell Casey, Taylor Lewan, Jack Conklin, and many more.
As it stands right now, the stat line for Mariota in the preseason is as follows: 10/20, 87 yards, 1 TD. And if the first team offense doesn’t see the field against the Bears, their final play of the preseason will be a safety against the Steelers.
The question is, as a fan, do you care?
We’ll see what Vrabel decides Thursday night at 7pm. Tune in and find out as Titans Radio’s coverage begins at 5pm CT on 104-5 The Zone.
The Bears are coming off a 12-win season that ended in a one-point loss to the Eagles in the Wild Card round of the playoffs. Rookie head coach Matt Nagy took this team from a five-win team in 2017 to the playoffs by riding the top ranked scoring defense in the NFL. Second-year quarterback Mitchell Trubisky also took strides to warrant the Bears trading up to the No. 2 spot in the 2017 Draft to take him, posting the third highest total QBR in the NFL last season. The expectations are high in the Windy City for this team in 2019.
Key Offseason Additions: WR Cordarrelle Patterson, CB Buster Skrine, FS HaHa Clinton-Dix, RB Mike Davis, RB David Montgomery (rookie), WR Riley Ridley (rookie)
Key Offseason Departures: RB Jordan Howard, WR Kevin White, TE Zach Miller, FS Adrian Amos, CB Bryce Callahan, WR Josh Bellamy
Titans Injury News
-It’s all good news this week on the injury front. RB David Fluellen was back on the practice field Tuesday for the first time since having knee surgery.
-OLB Harold Landry, who hasn’t made his 2019 preseason debut yet, worked on a side field with Vrabel during Tuesday’s practice. Vrabel said Landry is working his way back and seeing him back on the field in any capacity is a good sign.
-RB Dalyn Dawkins also returned to practice after missing the last two preseason games.
Reasons to Watch
-If you’ve followed the Titans closely and are invested in the position battles, this game will be for you. By the time Sunday rolls around, this roster will have to be cut to 53 guys. While the top 40-45 spots are probably already locked down, the final 10 spots will possibly be earned tonight.
-If you’re a Logan Woodside fan, you’ll probably see the second-year quarterback out of Toledo take most, if not all, the snaps in Chicago. Vrabel sat his top two quarterbacks in the preseason finale last season, leaving Luke Falk as the only quarterback who saw time in that game. There’s no reason to think the same won’t be true in this game.
-Because it’s football, and football is awesome. Duh.