Sports, Thrill of Victory

Titans show promise in preseason win over the Rams

We’ve said before that the preseason doesn’t mean a whole lot.

From a win/loss standpoint, it means absolutely nothing. It doesn’t matter what you do during the preseason. It only matters once the real season gets underway.

But while the preseason seems to offer more bad than good, sometimes it’s worth dissecting a bit more.

Take the Tennessee Titans’ most recent preseason game, for example. The franchise welcomed back former head coach Jeff Fisher, and then proceeded to deliver a dominant performance in taking care of the St. Louis Rams in a 27-14 victory.

It was a game in which the Titans were impressive right from the very beginning. Marcus Mariota looked more comfortable under center in his home stadium. Running back Bishop Sankey delivered several emphatic runs. The defense disrupted the Rams offense just minuted into the game when Perrish Cox returned an interception for a touchdown.

The Titans defense showed improvement in Week 2 of the preseason. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

The Titans defense showed improvement in Week 2 of the preseason. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

And even when substitutions were made, the Titans looked like a team to be reckoned with. After a shaky performance against the Atlanta Falcons in the team’s first preseason game, bouncing back with a convincing win at home was exactly what head coach Ken Whisenhunt wanted to see.

In the grand scheme of things, the win itself means very little. However, it was the progress shown that should give Titans fans a lot of hope this season and beyond.

It’s difficult to gauge how a team will perform once the regular season rolls around, and all we have to go on is what we see during the preseason. The Titans made a lot of the same mistakes that we saw during the 2014 season when they traveled to Atlanta.

When they were under the lights at Nissan Stadium with the entire football nation watching on FOX, a lot of those mistakes were corrected. This team showed the ability to learn from the errors against the Falcons, and instead of repeating them, they were corrected quickly.

That shows that this Titans squad has the ability to adjust from week to week. As a head coach, that’s Whisenhunt’s job. He must be able to get each player to adjust on the fly and be able to show the type of resiliency needed to survive in the NFL. Last year, that didn’t happen. But through a couple of weeks of preseason action, the Titans seem to have a unit that is better prepared to face the adversity and challenges that come with a long and grueling season.

Perhaps it’s because the foundation of this roster is made up of young guys that don’t know any better. Players like Mariota, Sankey, and Taylor Lewan are all fighting to make a name for themselves. These guys don’t really have a choice but to bounce back after underwhelming performances.

Sorry to break the news to you, but the Titans won’t go undefeated this season. Losses will happen, and players will have bad games. It’s simply inevitable.

Being able to turn things around after a rough performance is what separates the good teams from the bad teams. How do you respond to adversity? That’s what Whisenhunt and his staff want to know more than anything else.

The Titans will take on the Chiefs in Week 3 of the preseason. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

The Titans will take on the Chiefs in Week 3 of the preseason. PHOTO BY DONN JONES, COURTESY TENNESSEE TITANS

They don’t have much to go on right now, but being able to come back and take care of business against the Rams was a sign of hope.

It may not mean anything once the bright lights of the regular season come on against the Tampa Bay on September 13. For now though, it’s something to applaud.

The third preseason game is always the one that is most similar to a regular season contest. Oddly enough, the Titans will play that game in the location that served as the highlight of the franchise’s 2014 campaign.

After trouncing the Kansas City Chiefs 26-10 at Arrowhead Stadium in Week 1, the season was full of possibility. 14 losses later, not so much.

If the Titans can continue the momentum on Friday in Kansas City, let’s hope that this time around, they’re able to turn that into a regular season worth remembering.

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