The Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots will continue their preseason campaigns when they clash at Nissan Stadium in Tennessee on Saturday night.
Proving something to the coaches
New England began its preseason last Thursday with a 31-3 win at Detroit. Brady did not play in the contest, as the Patriots instead went with 11th-year veteran Brian Hoyer (12-for-14, 147 yards, two touchdowns).
But it was an undrafted rookie who especially turned heads in the opener. Jakobi Meyers caught two touchdown receptions, finishing with 69 yards on six receptions.
Rookie quarterback Jarrett Stidham was impressive in his first game, going 14-of-24 for 179 yards with a touchdown. But on Wednesday in the joint practice with the Titans in the 11-on-11, he struggled. The rookie from Auburn had two balls batted down at the line of scrimmage and struggled with some throws down the field.
“I have to keep proving to my coaches that I deserve to be here,” Meyers said. “I’m not on the team yet. I’m trying to make sure I can stay here and continue to be here. That’s who I’m trying to prove a point to, not really to people who didn’t give me the call.”
“I thought our overall passing game was pretty efficient,” head coach Bill Belichick assessed. “Quarterbacks got the ball out on time. Receivers caught the ball. We protected fairly well.”
The Titans and Pats have held joint practices this week from the heat and humidity of Nashville. New England did the same thing with Detroit last week.
“It’s fun, going against someone different,” CB Stephon Gilmore acknowledged. “It’s a different system, but we’re pretty much doing our same stuff, trying to get better at what we do individually and as a team. It’s good. Seeing different faces and a different team, just trying to work on your technique and getting better every day. It’s a different challenge. We’ve got another tomorrow.”
Trio of quarterbacks
The Titans opened their preseason on the road last week with a 27-10 victory over Philadelphia. Quarterbacks Ryan Tannehill and Logan Woodside each completed two touchdown passes, and Tennessee’s defense held the Eagles to 227 yards and 10 first downs. Starting quarterback Marcus Mariota was on the field for the first series of the game. He completed four passes for 24 yards—all to wide receiver Adam Humphries, a recent free-agent acquisition from Tampa Bay. Four different Titans caught a touchdown pass: fourth-year tight end MyCole Pruitt, second-year tight end Anthony Firkser, second-year wide receiver Cody Hollister, and third-year wide receiver Tanner McEvoy. Meanwhile, receiver Kalif Raymond led the offense with six receptions and 80 yards and he added three punt returns for 35 yards (long of 27) and a kickoff return for 24 yards.
Six Things to Watch in Titans-Patriots Practices this Week in Nashville.
— Tennessee Titans (@Titans) August 13, 2019
“It was a lot of fun to compete against another team,” Tannehill said. “We’ve been working hard since the spring and to have an opportunity to play for real was a lot of fun.”
“Our quarterback room is pretty special,” Mariota said. “Logan and Ryan both have been a tremendous support and I think for us it’s just competition. I like the atmosphere, I like the culture of the quarterback room.”
Head coach Mike Vrabel has consistently claimed that Tannehill is there to push Mariota. Yet, Mariota is also in the final year of his rookie contract and the Titans have not offered him an extension. They could open the season with him as the starter, although ESPN’s Dianna Russini is reporting that Mariota is not a lock to start Week 1.
“There’s a tone in Tennessee right now that this coaching staff just wants a quarterback to go out there and be the best quarterback there,” Russini said Monday on ESPN’s “Get Up.”
FIGHT! A.J. Brown and Stephon Gilmore went at it after the whistle during 11-on-11s. Devin McCourty, Terrence Brooks and Tajae Sharpe then jumped in, followed by the rest of the team. Mike Vrabel finally sprinted over and yelled some NSFW things to break it up.
— Zack Cox (@ZackCoxNESN) August 15, 2019
Another player to watch is rookie wide receiver. A.J. Brown. He’s missed most of training camp and the opener due to a pulled hamstring. At 6-1, 226, he has the size and strength to be a big target in the red zone. Brown has already been involved a skirmish with veteran corner Stephon Gilmore in the joint practice.
The New England Patriots are:
- 40-17 ATS in their last 57 overall
- 19-8 ATS in their last 27 road games
- 27-12 ATS in their last 39 games
The Tennessee Titans are:
- 2-5 ATS in their last seven overall
- 20-46-4 ATS in their last 70 games against the AFC
- 1-7 ATS in their last eight Saturday games