Six Things to Watch for Titans vs Steelers on Saturday


NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans face the Pittsburgh Steelers in their third preseason game on Saturday at Heinz Field.

Here's a look at six things to watch:

Marcus Mariota and the offense

The Titans first team offense has played three series so far in the preseason, and things have gone reasonably well. Two of the drives have produced touchdowns, and Mariota has completed 6-of-10 passes for 122 yards with two TD passes, and a passer rating of 142.5. Take a long look at Mariota in Saturday's game. It should be his most extensive action of the preseason, and he probably won't play much - if at all - in Week 4 of the preseason vs. the Vikings.

The secondary

OK, cornerback Malcolm Butler won't play in this one after missing practices all week, and linebackers Brian Orakpo and Derrick Morgan won't suit up and get after the passer either. But front-line DBs Adoree' Jackson and Logan Ryan are expected to be out there, with safeties Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro. And Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger is expected to make his 2018 preseason debut. In the first two preseason games, the Titans starters haven't been an issue. But the back-ups have allowed opposing QBs to light it up, and they'll want to clamp down more in this one.

Corey Davis

Last week, it was the Taywan Taylor show at Nissan Stadium. The Titans second-year receiver caught two touchdowns, and the attention of NBA star LeBron James with his speed. It's been a quiet preseason so far for Davis, who played just 11 snaps last week against the Buccaneers after being held out of the preseason opener at Green Bay. Davis doesn't have a catch so far in the preseason. It would be nice to see him generate a little momentum heading into the regular season.

The back-ups

While the starters are expected to get their most extensive playing time of the preseason, don't look for them to put in a full day's work. I'm expecting them to be out by halftime. What that means is more work for the back-ups, and players trying to earn roster spots. The Titans have 90 players on the roster today. By next Saturday, the roster must be down to 53. A lot of guys are playing for their future right now.

No injuries

The injury list is a long one right now. On Thursday, TE Delanie Walker, LB Rashaan Evans, WR Michael Campanaro, RB Akrum Wadley, S Steven Terrell, S Kendrick Lewis all missed practice, along with Butler, Morgan, and Orakpo. WR Rishard Matthews and RT Jack Conklin remain on the team's Physically Unable to Perform list. The Titans don't want to see anyone added to the injury list at Heinz Field.

Fewer penalties

I guess this is one thing fans hope they don't see. In the first two preseason contests, the Titans have racked up 25 penalties for 258 yards. The penalties have come in different areas, including too many for the NFL's "lower the head to initiate contact rule." Coach Mike Vrabel said he'd like to see less laundry on the field moving forward. Will he get his wish?

Titans Online looks back at the all-time series between the Tennessee Titans and Pittsburgh Steelers. (AP Photos)

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