Sports, Thrill of Victory

Moment of truth nears for the Titans

If you watched the Tennessee Titans during the preseason, you saw both positives and negatives.

On the positive side, rookie quarterback Marcus Mariota showed flashes of brilliance in managing the offense. On the negative side, the defense still seemed to have some issues in need of fixing.

If you didn’t catch a single snap of action this preseason, you didn’t miss anything. Not anything that matters, at least.

All eyes will be on Marcus Mariota in the Titans' opener against Tampa Bay. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

All eyes will be on Marcus Mariota in the Titans’ opener against Tampa Bay. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

The NFL preseason is becoming more and more irrelevant. Well, unless you’re a team that loses a key player to injury. It’s nice to get a preview of your favorite team, but overall, the preseason has zero reflection on what you’ll see during the regular season.

Every positive step that Mariota took is now meaningless. He’s back to square one, with still a whole lot to prove during his first year in the league.

Every positive step that the defense took under new defensive leader Dick LeBeau means nothing. The offenses will look a lot different during the regular season.

You get the picture. While it’s nice to reflect on what was an intriguing preseason for this franchise, it’s now out the window. Only Tampa Bay matters at this point.

Yes, the moment of truth nears for a Titans team that is out to prove that last year was simply an anomaly. The franchise has seen losing seasons before. But last season? It was unlike anything that those in Nashville had ever seen from this team.

And you can bet that head coach Ken Whisenhunt and company don’t want it to happen again.

It was clear that the Titans were far from a playoff contender when Whisenhunt took the job back in January of last year. However, 2-14 was much worse than expected.

This year, the expectations are different. While a lot of people on the outside still believe the Titans will be one of the worst teams in the NFL, those close to the organization have a much different feeling. The additions of Mariota and LeBeau should make the Titans a whole lot better in two major areas. It may not be enough to steamroll everyone on the way to the Super Bowl, but it should be enough to erase memories of the dreadful campaign a year ago.

Will Titans fans have more to cheer about in 2015? PHOTO COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

Will Titans fans have more to cheer about in 2015? PHOTO COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

This is the moment that everyone in the Titans locker room has been waiting for. That type of anticipation will bring out a lot of nerves when the team walks into Raymond James Stadium for the September 13 clash with Jameis Winston and the Bucs.

But that’s normal. The Titans aren’t a team in relax mode. They didn’t have a double-digit win season followed by a playoff appearance.

Everyone in the locker room now has something to prove. Especially the trio of Whisenhunt, Mariota, and LeBeau.

The seasons in the NFL are long and grueling. There will periods of highs and lows, and there will be times when the Titans switch from looking like a playoff contender to a 2014 repeat in a matter of seconds. That’s what makes the game so fun to watch.

After a long offseason filled with plenty of questions about the future of this team, the moment of truth is almost here.

Will the Titans learn from their past mistakes and turn things around? Or will 2015 prove to be yet another disappointing year in Nashville?

Those questions are about to be answered. Welcome to the regular season.