I watched the first half of the game last night. The weather really, really sucked, which was unfortunate because we never really got to see Locker and that passing offense take off. But here are a few observations I saw from the game:
-The starting offensive line looked pretty damn good for the most part. No sacks on Locker and there were some huge holes for Greene and McCluster in the running game.
- Sankey didn't have much luck running between the tackles, but he's got some great hands and was very effective in the passing game. I was nervous about the running backs, but this first half alleviated a lot of those concerns.
- Not a lot to talk about in the passing game, but I thought Taylor Thompson had a pretty damn good night aside from one drop that would have been a pretty tough catch.
- The rush defense was atrocious on that first drive, and they got torched by Starks. It improved significantly after that, but it was really, really concerning and I saw a lot of missed tackles.
- By comparison the the pass defense looked a lot better. But I'm tempering my expectations considering the conditions of last night's game.
- I had to remind myself of who Daimian Stafford was during last night's game, because he had a couple of really big plays. He lit up one running back in the open field and had another big tackle for loss. It seems like there's a lot of Bernard Pollard in that kid.
- Huff also had a pretty good game, which included a sack on a safety blitz. The QB almost shook him off, but he did a great job of sticking with it and wrapping him up.
- DaQuan Jones had a great tackle for loss in the backfield. He looks like he could be a handful in the running game, and I'd like to see a lot more of him this preseason, because that Titans 3-4 front could really use some work.
That's pretty much it, though. Did anyone see Mettenberger play in the second half? I saw he had one really nice strike to Brian Robiskie but that he also threw a pick. And feel free to comment on anything I missed in the first half.
To add one thing, even though the conditions weren't exactly great for judging a passing game, I didn't particularly like what I saw from Locker. He tried to hook up with Justin Hunter on a deep pass on the first drive, and I don't know if it was miscommunication or if Hunter didn't run the right route, but the ball was totally overthrown. There was also one broken play that I'm not sure if it was Locker's fault or the running back's and there was a fumbled snap that he luckily recovered.
I'm sure we'll see more out of Locker this preseason, but he's got to play a hell of a lot better than that to earn any trust or respect from me going into this season.
- Didn't really get to see enough of Jake Locker to make a fair assessment. Especially considering the weather conditions. But like mentioned above not much went right. He had a botched snap where he had to fall on the ball. He had another botched snap where he didn't get a good enough handle on the ball to make the handoff and had to scramble with it as a busted play. Then there was the pass to Justin Hunter where something went wrong.
- I was surprisingly impressed with Charlie Whitehurst. But then again I also had basement level expectations. But he was completing the ball with consistency and putting the ball in spots to make plays.
- Zach Mettenberger has a cannon. Some of those throws were very impressive. However he showed that he still isn't ready with a couple mistakes. The fumble was on Zach and they will have to work on how he holds the ball. The interception wasn't his fault it bounced off his target into the hands of the defense.
- Bishop Sankey showed some promise with his cuts and in the receiving game. But he didn't look too great running between the tackles. My initial thinking after the game was that Bishop Sankey doesn't look like an every down back. Which isn't exactly a terrible thing. But they have Sankey, McCluster and Greene all offering different skill sets.
- Shonn Greene looked like he had more burst than we have seen so maybe he is healthy now.
- McCluster had some good runs and showed that even though he is a smaller speed back he can still punch it up the middle and fight for yardage.
- Battle helped himself last night in my opinion. He had the big mistake in the passing game where he didn't catch that pass which led to the interception. But aside from that he had a 1st down in the passing game, he had some punishing runs up the middle including the touchdown, he had a pancake block on linebacker Nick Perry and on special teams was inches away from blocking a punt. A very versatile player.
- Didn't get to see really anything of the starters in the passing game. Marc Mariani missed some opportunities to help him secure a spot with some drops on what would have been big plays. They didn't hurt him because they were difficult but they sure would have helped him if he had been able to come down with one of those that he let go. Taylor Thompson also had a pretty solid night and it looks like they might use him more this year.
- The offensive line looked solid. Hopefully Chris Spencer is gonna be okay. It was my understanding that he was one of the 3 backups (Lewan and Stingily) they wanted to keep on the Oline.
- We had Bonani miss a XPAT from 33 but it looked like the hold may have been off due to the weather. But just 3 XPAT were all we got to see from the kickers aside from the kickoffs which really all looked about the same. They could have attempted a kick that would have been around 50 yards but they instead opted to punt right before the end of the half.
- Not much to brag about for the 1st team. They Packers were without Aaron Rodgers, Jordy Nelson and Eddie Lacy. Yet they still were able to run the ball with ease. If they can't stop the run any better than that with a 7-man front consisting of OLBs who were DEs last year this defense is gonna be screwed.
- Daquan Jones had some nice plays maybe they should throw him in with the ones at some point.
- Stafford had a big night laying the wood on a couple plays and not allowing a pass.
- Huff looked pretty solid as well.
Notes from after the game
- Colin McCarthy might be done. Whisenhunt said that his injury is pretty bad and he will be out for awhile. He was already on the bubble for a roster spot and wasn't doing well last night. So lots of things they can do put him on IR, release him outright with a settlement etc.
- Zach Brown done something because he was benched last night. Ken Whisenhunt didn't say just that he was "really pissed off". It was something that he done on the field that they said was a team rule. Speculation that he gave up in pursuit or took a play off.
- Whisenhunt said that Sankey and Stafford stood out to him. He said that even tough the rain made it tough he came away with the team having a ton to work on before the next game.
- Michael Griffin and Bernard Pollard both not happy about the run defense saying that needs to get fixed right away.
Finally watched the whole game, my small takeaways:
Thought Taylor Thompson and Damion Stafford were the most impressive backups on both sides of the ball. Marqueston Huff and DaQuan Jones made some nice plays also.
Whitehurst looked good, as did Mettenberger. As I said before the draft, I like him. Give him time, and he'll throw darts -- velocity, placement, accurate etc. Problem is when he doesn't have time, or holds onto the ball too long (fumble). Kid can definitely be a good QB in 2-3 years.
Sankey is going to make a lot of nice plays in the passing game, both as a receiver and blocker. He has great hands. He clearly doesn't have breakaway speed, but he'll be solid running behind this great OL, and he's a smart runner. He'll go up the middle for a lot of 3-5 yard gains.
The tackling was really piss poor, expected in the first pre season game, one with those weather conditions. Backup DBs & LBs were pretty bad in coverage, chunks of yardage, wide open plays.
Akeem Ayers was quite poor. Morgan looked good at LB. I liked what I saw from Zach Brown when he was in, making sideline to sideline plays, slowing runners down at the LOS. Disappointed to hear he once again broke a team rule though.
Crutches McCarthy has played his last game as a Titan. He'll head to inj reserve or be cut. Not worth stashing him a roster spot and only having 52. Shame. Thought we had our MLB for 10 years when I first saw him.
Mariani had some disappointing drops but still think he makes team as #5 wideout. He's an excellent returner with good hands and instincts.