Saints Game Final Audition for Players on the Bubble

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Tennessee Titans on Tuesday waived five players, whittling down the team's active roster from 80 to 75 in compliance with a deadline set by the NFL.

Tennessee waived P Ricky Schmitt, CB Pete Ittersagen, LB Mike Rivera (injured), DT Kareem Brown (injured) and WR Bobby Sewall. The Titans must cut 22 more from their roster by Saturday afternoon to comply with the league's maximum number of 53 players.

Tennessee hosts defending Super Bowl champion New Orleans at 7 p.m. Thursday at LP Field in the final preseason game for both teams. The matchup is a last audition for some players who will make the team and a curtain call for others who won't.

Titans coach Jeff Fisher said winning the final preseason game and evaluating players are the two biggest goals that will need to be balanced. Fisher said he expects quarterbacks Vince Young, Kerry Collins, Rusty Smith and Chris Simms to play, and starting defensive tackle Tony Brown to receive some repetitions as he returns from injury. Fisher said the Titans will play Brown similar to the way the team played first-round draft pick Derrick Morgan Saturday at Carolina.

Fisher said special teams play might make the difference between who is kept and who is cut among players who have not already secured a roster spot.

"We have to do two things:  We have to get the young guys reps and we also have to get players at the positions in which they are going to be playing in the regular season. There's a fine line there. On one hand, you hope you get a lot of opportunities to return kickoffs, but on the other hand you don't because you're not playing well defensively."

Rookie wide receiver Marc Mariani, who was drafted in the seventh round, said this week is a realization of the business side of the game.  

"It's been a great experience," the 6-foot-1, 190-pound Mariani said. "That's why I am trying to make it last as long as I can, because I'm having a blast. At the same time, there's so much you need to be doing. You've just got to keep focus."

Mariani, who played collegiately at Montana, said he's enjoyed training camp, but he's tried to keep in mind that there are "always guys looking for your job."

"You hope all your hard work up to this point has paid off, and you've got to keep working hard," Mariani said.

Rookie safety Myron Rolle, whom the Titans drafted in the sixth round out of Florida State, said he would "stay sane" this week "by reading my Bible and putting things in God's hands. He's taken care of me for 23 years, and hopefully He will this week. That's the way you have to approach it. If you don't, then you'll drive yourself crazy and won't sleep at night, and you won't perform well when you need to."

Rookie linebackers Rennie Curran, a third-round selection out of Georgia, and Patrick Trahan, who played at Mississippi and signed as a free agent said they have enjoyed training camp.

"I'm very excited to go from where I started to where I am at now," Curran said. "I've learned so much. Every game I'm just trying to get better. We'll have a live audience (Thursday). We want to get in there and play our hearts out."

Trahan said he is thankful for every opportunity he's received.

"I think I made the most of it," Trahan said. "Whatever happens, I gave it my best shot, so that's all that matters. I did the most I could do on my part."

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