The Tennessee Titans playing against the New Orleans Saints in the regular season makes 30 other fanbases hope the game isn’t on their TV. In fact, this matchup might be more appealing in the preseason than it would be in the regular season. We at least get to watch a few different position battles get played out.
For the Saints, everyone is currently saying that Drew Brees‘ oblique injury is nothing, but any ding on the franchise quarterback is something of concern. He should be fine, but these kind of injuries have a history of flaring up if not treated carefully. He is expected to sit for the second straight game tonight.
On a positive note, Saints first-round pick Brandin Cooks appears to be really good. The wide receiver from Oregon State has impressed many in training camp as well as the first preseason game where he caught five passes for 55 yards and a touchdown.
One of the biggest and maybe most-surprising stories this offseason for the Saints has been the resurgent Mark Ingram. The former first-round pick has simply been a bust through his first three years. He hasn’t been shy about using this, his contract year, as motivation. Regardless of what is driving him, he looks to be in the best shape of his professional career.
Ingram is currently in competition with Khiry Robinson and Pierre Thomas for the starting running back spot. However, it appears that it is going to come down to Ingram and Robinson for the starting job.
Another position battle to watch for the Saints is between the wide receivers. Nick Toon and Joe Morgan are competing for the final spots on the depth chart. The longshot would be undrafted rookie Brandon Coleman.
The Titans are a team that needs to find an identity on offense under new coach Ken Whisenhunt. The previous regime’s identity was to run Chris Johnson into the line 20 times a game. That strategy resulted in both parties leaving town.
The biggest question mark for the Titans’ offense is of course Jake Locker. Locker is entering his fourth year in the league, and we still don’t know how good he is. That’s a problem. Locker only threw two passes in the first week of preseason; hopefully the coaching staff lets him do a little more this week.
The Titans’ running back position is one to keep an eye on during this game. Tennessee must replace the aforementioned Johnson in the backfield. It looks like it will be some combination of Shonn Greene and rookie Bishop Sankey.
While the strategy on offense seems unclear, the defense should have a clear identity under new coordinator Ray Horton. The only thing left to do is figure out which players are going to carry out the new scheme.
Switching to Horton’s 3-4 defense has created competition all over the front seven. The player with the biggest adjustment is Derrick Morgan, who is moving from defensive end to outside linebacker. The Titans are also hoping that third-year pro Zach Brown will be able to handle the inside linebacker job.
Both teams will be keeping their starters on the field longer than they did in the first game. This will allow everyone to get a better feel for what these teams will look like when the games start counting for real.