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Titans fall flat in 3rd preseason game, lose to Cowboys 30-10

The Titans reached the halfway point of the preseason tonight against the Dallas Cowboys in the first football game in Dallas Cowboys Stadium.  The Titans proved to be most accommodating visitors, falling 30 to 10 in a thoroughly desultory performance with fewer bright spots than you’d hope for a team playing their third preseason game against one playing their second.  For more of a blow-by-blow account of the game, please check out the liveblog.

One of those bright spots came early, as the Titans held the Cowboys to a 3 and out on their first possession.  This wasn’t a harbinger of things to come, at least not for the Cowboys.  What was a sign of things to come was the Titans doing the same on their first possession, the first of seven possessions in which they failed to tally a single first down.

Beyond that first drive, though, the defense had no such problems staying on the field, as the Cowboys’ second and third possessions totaled 31 plays, or more than the offensive had in the first three quarters.  Though the third drive ended in a missed field goal and not in the end zone, the tone for the game was struck.

After an exchange of punts following the missed field goal, though, the Titans improbably took the lead.  In their only encouraging offensive possession of the night, Kerry Collins and Javon Ringer, in the game somewhat surprisingly early, led the Titans on a drive that not only provided the Titans the first first downs of the game but also ended up in the end zone and gave the Titans a 10-7 lead.  Ringer had a nice 16 yard run and a 17 yard scamper into the end zone called back on a hold downfield, while Justin Gage had the two big passes, a 10 yard conversion on 3&8 and a 17 yard grab for the score that counted.

In addition to the two big runs that counted, Ringer that drive also had two receptions, one of them a nice one-handed grab in the flat where he got out of bounds and saved clock.  Surprisingly, Ringer also took kickoff duties.  I was a little skeptical about this, but he had a very nice return that, combined with a late hit penalty, set up the Titans’ first score of the game.  I think a later return out to the 20 was more indicative of his general kickoff return ability, but with 5 carries for 33 yards, two receptions, and the kickoff returns, he was probably the top Titan tonight.

Since it’s preseason, I’ll spare the rest of the recap, but will instead provide player/unit comments:

  • VY was pretty unimpressive.  He scrambled ineffectively and missed passes, including throwing late to Britt on a deep ball where an earlier throw would have produced a big gain and maybe even a score.
  • Ramsey didn’t get much work, but was unimpressive when in there, including getting flagging for grounding in the end zone to create a safety.
  • The base run game again did not perform well.  Teams will key on CJ and gang up on him, and he’s not getting anything done in the preseason.  White may have lost weight, but the early returns are he still plays like LenDale and not like CJ.
  • Collins completed 8 of the 11 passes he threw.  Whoop de doo, that doesn’t mean the passing game was any good.
  • Neither Washington nor Britt really made any plays, though Britt was open and would have had one with a better throw.
  • Cook had a nice grab against the second-string Cowboy defense.  I’d like to see him on the field earlier next week.
  • Dudley Guice had a nice downfield grab in 4th quarter garbage time.
  • Outside of the Colts’ game in Week 17 last year, when nothing mattered, I can’t remember the last time the defense looked as listless as it did today.
  • Tackling was generally atrocious today.  Not just lack of energy, but also what looked like poor form.
  • I mentioned this in the liveblog, but Jovan Haye to me does not look strong at the point of attack in the run game.  The Titans really seemed to miss Jason Jones at DT.
  • None of the defensive linemen who played tonight really stood out in a positive way.  They were mostly handled by the Cowboys’ first string offensive line.  More pressure against Jon Kitna and the Cowboys’ second protection unit, but still no actual sacks.
  • To give you an idea about how much pressure there was and how well the secondary covered, every Cowboy quarterback completed at least 75% of his passes.
  • Petey Faggins is still awful, and looked it against the Cowboys’ second and third stringers.
  • Other guys in the secondary who had poor games: Michael Griffin, Cortland Finnegan, and particularly Tanard Davis.
  • Nobody in the secondary stood out in a positive way.
  • None of the linebackers stood out in a positive way, at least that I remember.
  • Tuff Harris was the punt returner tonight, and did better at that job than I expected he would.
  • Hentrich, Bironas, and Trapasso all did their jobs reasonably well.
  • It’s preseason, and the result doesn’t count in the real standings.

Any bright spots I missed?  Did anybody else hurt or help their case for making the team?