The Tennessee Titans will continue their preseason schedule with a Saturday night matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
The Titans starters, who performed adequately in last week’s preseason home-opener against the Cardinals, will have another opportunity to get some reps as they’re expected to play roughly two quarters against Carolina.
As the case with most preseason contests, this evening’s game will also provide Titans’ roster hopefuls with additional chances to make their marks in their plights to earn roster spots.
Here are a few players/battles in particular that I’ll be keeping my eyes on as the Titans face the Panthers later tonight.
Welcome to the NFL, Derrick Morgan
Similar to most of you, I’m excited about watching first-round draftee Derrick Morgan make his debut Saturday night.
I’m not expecting a whole lot, especially considering his bout with the injury bug and only recently returning to practice. However, I’d like him to display a sign or two of why the Titans made him their first-round selection in April’s draft and more importantly, show us that he has the potential to become a solid player in the team’s defensive line rotation during his rookie season.
Williams vs. Mariani
There’s a nice little battle taking place between two rookies fighting for the right to become the team’s return specialist.
Despite Damian Williams being the heavy favorite, unheralded rookie Marc Mariani is certainly holding his own as he’s displayed the ability to be a solid returner on special teams.
Once again, I expect Williams; the guy the team selected in the draft to serve as their return specialist, to emerge as the winner in this contest but don’t be surprised if Mariani continues to make things interesting by coming up with a play or two against the Panthers.
Blount vs. Gado: My take
In their recent articles, Tom as well as Andrew had a thought or two surrounding the fight for the #3 RB spot between controversial rookie sledgehammer LeGarrette Blount and journeyman-turned-playmaker Samkon Gado.
Here’s my two cents: I think Blount ends up as the winner in this sweepstakes. He’s got the upside, runs with authority and perhaps most importantly, has the backing of Head coach Jeff Fisher. Gado’s a nice story and certainly made a solid first impression with his two touchdowns against Arizona but at the end of the day, I like Blount’s chances of sticking around a little more.
Needless to say, it should be interesting to see how both players perform against the Panthers.
Any positional battles/players you’ll be keeping your eyes on later tonight? As always, feel free to contribute your thoughts below, folks.