A wish list of some things the Titans’ offense wants to do against the Vikings:
1) Find the end zone early — Tennessee’s starters aren’t expected to play very much, if at all, but would like to be efficient at putting points on the board. The Titans have moved the ball effectively this preseason but had to settle for field goal attempts at Cincinnati. Tennessee put together a touchdown drive on its third possession against Atlanta to take the lead after the defense held the Falcons to two field goals and a missed field goal. Scoring touchdowns early is the best way to mitigate hostile crowds and a good habit.
2) Put something else on film — The Titans were able to use play-action passes against Atlanta to move the ball and score because Tennessee had run the ball so well in its first two preseason games. Offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains is unlikely to show his hand to Pittsburgh before the Sept. 8 season opener, but it’s plausible that the Titans could display something that will help set up part of the plan against the Steelers. Regardless, again showing the ability to run the football will continue to increase the effectiveness of play action in the future.
3) Protect the football and keep the clock moving — Tennessee didn’t commit a turnover in its first two games but had two — a fumble on a scramble by Jake Locker and an interception by Ryan Fitzpatrick—against Atlanta. Protecting the ball is important anywhere against anyone, but even more critical on the road to avoid losing momentum. The second part of this item involves moving past this game and onto Pittsburgh. The Titans have been preparing for the Steelers since the schedule was released, and players and coaches would be happy if the game at Minnesota has few stoppages because of incomplete passes, penalties or reviews.
4) Finalize roster decisions — Coaches and Tennessee’s personnel department must reduce the roster to 75 players to 53 by 5 p.m. CT Saturday. The Titans plan to start Rob Turner at center and replace him with rookie Brian Schwenke for most of the game and play Fernando Velasco and Chris Spencer at guard positions after pulling Andy Levitre and first-round pick Chance Warmack from the game. The Titans haven’t named a starting center yet, and will want to identify the “swing guy” who will be active on game days as a replacement for either guard or at center in case of injury.
Tags: Andy Levitre, Dowell Loggains, Jake Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Tennessee Titans
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