Six Things to Watch in Preseason Finale at Miami


MIAMI GARDENS, Fla. – The Titans face the Miami Dolphins in Week 4 of the preseason on Thursday night.

Here's a look at six things to watch…


QB Alex Tanney

Titans coach Mike Mularkey has already said starting quarterback Marcus Mariota won't play more than a series, if he plays at all. Veteran Matt Cassel is expected to get some work, but this will be Tanney's most extensive action of the preseason. It's a chance for him to show the Titans – and the other 31 NFL teams – how much progress he's made.

Perrish Cox

Veteran cornerback Perrish Cox returned to the practice field this week after missing the first three weeks of the preseason with an ankle injury. He's looked good, and plans to play in the preseason finale. While the starters are expected to play one series – some probably won't play at all – Mularkey said he could give Cox extra reps to work off the rust and get more comfortable for the regular season opener.

Return game

Rookie cornerback Kalan Reed has waited patiently in the return game and he'll finally get a chance on Thursday night. Reed, a seventh-round pick out of Southern Mississippi, has had a really good training camp. If he can show some promise in the return game, he'll help himself even more.

One last chance

The Titans trimmed the roster from 90 to 75 players this week. By Saturday, all NFL teams must be down to 53 players. It's a drastic reduction – 22 players won't survive. Thursday's game provides one more chance for players to earn a spot, whether it's one of the last guys on the 53, or a spot on the 10-man practice squad. This is it.

First team defense
Don't be surprised if some of the starters on defense start the game in baseball caps instead of helmets. Either way, the Titans would like to nip one thing in the bud to close out the preseason – allowing the opponent to score on their first possession. The Chargers, Panthers and Raiders all managed to do it. Titans defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau said he'd like to put an end to it headed into the regular season.

Lay of the land**

This one isn't as much for the fans as it is for the team itself. The preseason is all about getting ready for the regular season, and the preseason finale provides several opportunities for the Titans. In addition to on-field work, the Titans will have a chance to get familiar – and comfortable – with the surroundings here in Florida, from the playing surface to the locker room to the hotel. Remember, the team returns to face the Dolphins on October 9.

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