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Six Things to Watch

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Six Things to Watch for the Titans on Sunday vs the Saints


NASHVILLE – The Titans face the Saints in the regular season opener on Sunday at Caesars Superdome in New Orleans.

Here's a look at six things to watch in the contest:

Tim Kelly's Offense

The questions have been persistent all offseason: How much different will the Titans offense look in 2023? Will there be more passing? Will there be more imagination/less predictability? Since Kelly took over earlier this year, the Titans have talked primarily about an up-tempo approach, careful not to give too much away. While the game plan will certainly be different each week, Sunday will provide an unveiling of sorts.

DeAndre's Debut

Of course the Titans have some new weapons on the offensive side of the football, namely five-time Pro Bowler DeAndre Hopkins. After playing previously with the Texans and Cardinals, Hopkins signed with the Titans in July, and he's done his best to get up to speed in a new offense since. Titans fans didn't get to see Hopkins play in the preseason, but they'll finally get a chance to see him on the field on Sunday. More good news: Treylon Burks is also a go.

Rebuilt Offensive Line

The biggest question mark, make that marks, heading into the season on offense center on the team's rebuilt offensive line. Four new starters – LT Andre Dillard, LG Peter Skoronski, RG Daniel Brunskill, RT Chris Hubbard – will make their first starts in Tennessee against the Saints. A year after starting quarterback Ryan Tannehill's season was cut short because of injury, this group will be focused on protecting him – and opening holes in the running game.

Henry and Co?

Running back Derrick Henry is entering his eighth NFL season, and he sure looks like he's ready to keep on truckin'. In the final year of his contract, Henry is motivated to lead the Titans while proving he still has plenty of gas left in the tank. But the Titans also have another exciting back in Tyjae Spears, the team's third-round pick out of Tulane. How will the Titans use the two backs against the Saints?

Defense, Defense, Defense

The Titans are built to be even better on defense this fall. Harold Landry is back, and Arden Key is new to the pass rush attack. They'll join Jeffery Simmons, Denico Autry and others up front. Azeez Al-Shaair is poised to set a tone inside, while the secondary boasts returners Kristian Fulton, Roger McCreary, Kevin Byard and Amani Hooker, along with newcomer Sean Murphy-Bunting. The challenge is a tough one right out of the gate against the Saints and quarterback Derek Carr.

Special Teams

The Titans signed veteran kicker Nick Folk late last month, and the expectation is he'll continue to be his reliable self. Punter Ryan Stonehouse will look to pick up where he left off last season, while a rookie will handle things in the return game – Kearis Jackson is the team's punt returner, and he's also expected to be involved returning kicks, along with Spears. The Titans will have a bunch of new faces on their coverage teams, and they'll aim to avoid giving up any big plays.

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