NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans face the Chicago Bears in preseason game No.3 on Sunday.
Here's a look at six things to watch:
Mariota's next step**
It's been so far, so good for Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota. In two preseason games, Mariota has completed 8-of-11 passes for 76 yards, with a touchdown. His passer rating (121.8) and completion percentage (72.7) are both impressive. In his most extensive action of the preseason, Mariota will get another chance to build momentum heading into the regular season opener.
The rookie cornerback electrified the Nissan Stadium crowd last weekend with his punt return for a touchdown. The fact it was called back because of a penalty didn't change anyone's opinion about what Jackson is capable of in the return game. The Titans plan to get Jackson more involved in the defense moving forward as well. How he performs with the increased workload could go a long way in determining how much he'll be on the field at the start of the season.
A new Titans receiver (Taywan Taylor) and a former one (Kendall Wright) will be decked out in jersey No.13 on Sunday. Taylor has been good from the get-go with the Titans. He leads the team with seven catches for 97 yards in two preseason contests, and he'll be on the field a lot Sunday with Corey Davis, Eric Decker and Harry Douglas sidelined. Wright, a first-round pick by the Titans in 2012 who signed with the Bears in the offseason, has three catches for 23 yards and a touchdown in the preseason.
Will Murray play? And the others RBs**
Running back DeMarco Murray hasn't yet played in the preseason, and Titans coach Mike Mularkey indicated on Friday he could be a game-time decision again this week. If Murray plays, he won't play much. Look for running back Derrick Henry to see action, and David Fluellen should have another chance to shine after a solid performance last week against the Panthers.
The Titans created three turnovers on defense against the Panthers, including two early and a big one late. The Titans will aim to keep the momentum going against a Chicago team still sorting things out at the quarterback position. Veteran Mike Glennon and rookie Mitch Trubisky will both play for the Bears, and they'll each present different challenges for the Titans defense.
Teams are required to trim their rosters from 90 to 53 players by September 2, so time is running out for young guys to make an impression, and earn spots. Mularkey said this week there's no doubt players on the bubble are fighting the temptation to ponder the future, and that only adds extra pressure. While the Titans plan to play most their starters a half, second half performers will need to perform well when they're in there. The clock is ticking on players who need to make a move.
Bonus item: Be on the lookout for No.19 in a Titans uniform, too. Receiver Tajae' Sharpe will make his 2017 preseason debut after being taken off the team's PUP list and returning to practice this week. Sharpe had a good week of practice, and he'll have a chance to build further chemistry with Mariota - and test his conditioning - against the Bears.
TitansOnline.com looks back at the team's all-time series against the Chicago Bears. (AP Photos)