KANSAS CITY – Two preseason games and in the books, and two more remain.
Here on Friday night, the Titans face the Chiefs in preseason game No.3.
Here's a look at five things to watch:
The rookie quarterback is on the right track, there's no disputing it. In his first preseason outing he put together a nice touchdown drive to close out the contest, but it came after a pair of early turnovers. Against the Rams on Sunday, he played turnover-free football, and continued to show poise while dealing with adversity. Mariota figures to play more on Friday than in the preseason finale against the Vikings, so this game provides another chance to get comfortable. Will he find the end zone for the first time?
It's getting close to decision-making time here. Byron Bell appears to have the inside track at left guard, and rookie Jeremiah Poutasi is edging closer to claiming a starting spot at right tackle. A subpar outing by either player against the Chiefs could cause the Titans to rethink some things up front, however. Even in the preseason, Arrowhead Stadium can get a little noisy. If these two can answer the Bell, they could very well get the call for the regular season opener at Tampa Bay on September 13.
Bishop Sankey stole the show in the running game on Sunday vs. the Rams, and the Titans would love to see a nice follow-up performance here tonight against the Chiefs. Running back David Cobb didn't make the trip because of a calf injury, which is a setback in his development. Cobb's absence will give other backs more of a chance to shine. Look for Antonio Andrews to get more opportunities, and a chance to prove he belongs in the mix early.
Veteran Jason McCourty is out while recovering from groin surgery, and Blidi Wreh-Wilson still isn't ready to take the field as he works his way back from an ankle injury. Their absence from the lineup has given others a chance. But the Titans are still looking for answers here. Perrish Cox is locked in, and looks good. Coty Sensabaugh had a solid camp, and has performed well in the preseason. Rookie Cody Riggs could further solidify his spot on the team, while Marqueston Huff should get more opportunities to show off his versatility by playing corner in addition to safety.
The date to get down to 53 players is nearing, and I don't think the Titans can afford to keep a guy solely for his abilities as a return man. If someone rises to the occasion and makes a big play here, however, it would certainly give the decision-makers something to think about. Veteran Dexter McCluster is expected to handle punt return duties for the Titans. Will a kick returner make himself known here with an explosive play? Rookie Tre McBride and veteran Jacoby Ford should be itching to make something happen.