(8-8, 3rd in AFC South) (10-6, NFC West Champs)
Game time: Monday, Aug. 23 @ 8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN, LP Field
Background: The Cards didn’t have to wait long for their national stage because they will be featured on ESPN for their second pre-season game, when the Cardinals will meet the Tennessee Titans. Most football fans will remember the game between these two in Week 12 last season. That game marked the Titans fifth straight victory after dropping their first six, snapping the Cardinals 3-game winning streak in the process. All that is in the past, though so let’s look at this pre-season match up.
What to Watch For:
The Cardinals’ first team offense needs to snap back from a very poor start to the pre-season. It would be nice to see Matt Leinart take control of the offense and drive down the field for some points (preferably six of them) before the second team takes over.
Hopefully rookie WR Andre Roberts can solve his problem with his shaky hands quickly. The Cardinals’ third round selection came into training camp as the favorite to win the 4th wide receiver spot, but has struggled mightily during camp and in the first pre-season game with drops galore. The coaches have been patient so far, but dropping passes doesn’t fly in the NFL for very long.
Now that John Skelton got his shot at quarterback, perhaps undrafted rookie Max Hall will be next. Derek Anderson is almost certain to immediately replace Leinart, but perhaps we’ll get a look at Hall, a BYU product, sometime in the fourth quarter.
The starting offensive tackles, Levi Brown and Brandon Keith have to turn in better efforts this week. They gave up a sack a piece even though the first team offense was on the field for a very limited time.
The first-team defense played pretty well, if briefly, during the first pre-season game. Perhaps we’ll get a longer look at the unit against the Titans. CB Greg Toler held up well in the limited action he saw, so hopefully he’ll be thoroughly tested at some point during the pre-season.
Don’t expect to see rookie LB Daryl Washington with the first unit just yet, but if he continues to build on his fast start it may happen sooner than we all thought. TCU’s most talented defender was all over the field against the Texans and makes up for his lack of size with great speed and aggression.
Last Meeting: Nov. 29, 2009, Week 12 @ Tennessee, Titans won 20-17.
Titans’ Key Returning Personnel
- Chris Johnson, RB
- Vince Young, QB
- Nate Washington, WR
- Kenny Britt, WR
- Justin Gauge, WR
- Bo Scaife, TE
- Stephen Tulloch, LB
Titans’ Key Losses
- Keith Bullock, LB (N.Y. Giants)
- Samari Rolle, CB (retired)
- LenDale White, RB (Seattle Seahawks, then Denver Broncos)
- Kyle Vanden Bosch, DE (Detroit Lions)
- Kevin Mawae C, (free agency)
- Nick Harper CB, (free agency)
- TE Alge Crumpler, (New England Patriots)
Titans’ Key Additions
- Derrick Morgan, DE, (first round draft pick)
- Will Witherspoon, LB (St. Louis Rams)
- Tye Hill, CB (Atlanta Falcons)
- Chris Simms, QB (Denver Broncos)
Titans’ 2009 Rankings
- Passing Yards: 23rd (189.4)
- Rushing Yards: 2nd (162)
- Opponents Passing Yards: 31st (258.7)
- Opponents Rushing Yards: 12th (106.9)
Titans’ 2010 Season Outlook: After a 13-3 2008 campaign, the Titans got off to a horrible start last year by losing their first six games. After that, however, Tennessee got it going, winning five in a row with the fifth coming against the Cardinals. In 2010, the Titans are looking to continue their hot second half run. If they can build on winning six of their last eight games in 2009, perhaps they can make a playoff run, but it will be tough sledding as they’re looking up in the division at Houston and Indianapolis. Former NCAA National Champion Vince Young will have to come out and be the team leading quarterback Jeff Fisher apparently thinks he is. We all know what Chris Johnson can do, but Javon Ringer looks to be an excellent compliment to Johnson. It seems, therefore, that the season will probably hinge on their very susceptible secondary.
- Keep everyone healthy
- Build Matt Leinart’s confidence and move the ball down the field
- Execute on offense by eliminating mental errors
- Take a good look at CB Greg Toler against Titans’ athletic WRs
- Evaluate inside linebacker core, especially Daryl Washington
- Larry Fitzgerald started recovering from his sprained MCL. There’s no way he’s playing against the Titans; he’s probably done for the entire pre-season as well. He’s reportedly a few weeks away from being ready for game action.
- Early Doucet (abdominal strain) is still sitting out, but mostly as a precaution. He will likely slide into the number two spot, assuming he’s ready to go on Monday. Steve Breaston will take Fitzgerald’s position.
- Gerald Hayes is reportedly doing well in his recovery from back surgery in early July. There’s still some hope that he’ll be ready for the season opener, but his rehab protocol has him returning sometime after Week 1, according to Coach Whisenhunt.
- Safeties Aaron Rouse and Rashad Johnson were in a car accident. Johnson was driving when a car in front of them had a blow out. Rouse is suffering from whiplash-like symptoms and is sitting out of practice. Johnson is fine.
- Ben Patrick continues to miss action due to his knee injury, but he should be ready for the start of the season. Steven Spach has been taking the snaps at TE in Patrick’s absence.
- Reggie Walker (hamstring) continues to miss time in an already banged up ILB core. He may be back soon, however, as he was seen sprinting up and down the sidelines at practice on Monday (8/16).
- WR Ed Gant (sprained foot) is practicing on a limited basis. He shouldn’t miss too much time.