Today is Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Observations from a wet LP Field

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Joe Biddle

If you were one of the football fans at LP Field on the soggiest of soggy Saturdays, you are probably still trying to dry out.
    
Despite the deluge of rain that turned LP Field into Niagara Falls South, the Tennessee Titans and Green Bay Packers played on. There were some nuggets to take away from the Titans 20-16 win.
    
From my seat, here are some observations:
    
• A win is a win is a win. And the Titans will take a win anyway they can get it. It didn’t matter that much of the game was played in hurricane conditions. It was football and Ken Whisenhunt’s players persevered, taking a late come-from-behind 20-16 decision over Green Bay.
    
“That was tough," said Titans quarterback Jake Locker, who having played college football at Washington knows rain when he sees it. “It was coming down pretty good."
    
That being said, fans didn’t see what they wanted from Locker’s performance. He completed one-of-two passes for five yards. He fell on a fumbled snap, losing two yards. He bobbled a shotgun snap, picked it up and gained two yards.
    
In Locker’s defense he played the first quarter, when the rain was at its peak. Titans fans should get a much longer look at Locker this week against the Saints. We can assume the only way the football will get wet is if the Superdome roof leaks.
    
• Saints fans will want to see Titans rookie QB Zach Mettenberger. He started his last two seasons at LSU and will likely get as rousing an ovation as Saints fans ever muster for anyone not wearing a Saints uniform.
    
Titans fans must remember Mettenberger was going against the Packers’ bench warmers who were trying to make a roster. But he hit on four of seven passes for 87 yards. With his arm strength and accuracy he can deliver the deep ball.
    
• C.J. who? Forget Chris Johnson. The Titans run game Saturday was highly encouraging. Whether it was rookie Bishop Sankey, Shonn Greene, Dexter McCluster or Jackie Battle, the Titans ground game will be productive. Sankey adjusted on a pass in the right flat and took it in for the Titans’ second touchdown. I’m not sure CJ would have caught it.
    
• The defense looked like, well, a defense that had never played a 3-4 defense. For good reason, as defensive coordinator Ray Martin certainly didn’t think it would be a smooth transition. There were lingering arm tackles from last season. Those need to be cleaned up. The effort and intensity was there, as some of the best battles for roster spots are on defense.
    
The starters allowed the Packers to take the opening kickoff and swim up field for a 64-yard touchdown drive. The next series the Titans defense held them to three-and-out. Note the Packers did not dress QB Aaron Rodgers, running back Eddie Lacy or WR Jordy Nelson.
    
• One of the Titans playing for one of 53 roster spots is Marc Mariani. He is a wide receiver who was a Pro Bowl return specialist earlier in his career.
    
He didn’t look good in the return game, misjudging some punts. One was downed. Another rolled out of bounds and another for a touchback. He fumbled a kickoff, picked up the ball and downed it in the end zone. Mariani is no better than a fifth receiver, so he has to prove he belongs in the next three pre-season games.
    
• It’s on to New Orleans. Let the good times roll.
    
Contact Wilson Post Sports Columnist Joe Biddle at joebiddle1@gmail.com.

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