NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans (0-0) begin the 2014 regular season this week with a trip to face the Kansas City Chiefs (0-0). Kickoff at Arrowhead Stadium (capacity 76,416) is scheduled for noon CDT on Sunday, Sept. 7.
This week's game will be televised regionally on CBS, including Nashville affiliate WTVF NewsChannel 5. Kevin Harlan will handle play-by-play duties, and Rich Gannon will serve as analyst.
The Titans Radio Network, including Nashville flagship 104.5 The Zone, will broadcast the game across the Mid-South with the "Voice of the Titans" Mike Keith, analyst Frank Wycheck, gameday host Rhett Bryan and sideline reporter Jonathan Hutton.
TITANS LAUNCH FIRST SEASON WITH WHISENHUNT
The Titans turn their attention to the regular season after finishing the preseason with a 2-2 record. In last week's preseason finale at LP Field, they suffered a 19-3 loss at the hands of the Minnesota Vikings.
Titans quarterback Jake Locker was held out of the Minnesota game, along with the rest of the starters on both sides of the ball. In three preseason starts, Locker completed 21 of 30 passes for 268 yards, two touchdowns and no interceptions. The fourth-year signal caller produced a preseason passer rating of 119.9, ranking second in the AFC and fourth in the NFL.
Locker helped the Titans offense as a whole rank highly in several categories during the preseason. The unit was seventh overall (349.0 yards per game), eighth in passing (236.3), third in yards per play (5.9), eighth in rushing average (4.3) and tied for second in efficiency inside the opponents' 20 (75 percent touchdowns).
For the first time, the Titans are led into the regular season by Ken Whisenhunt, who became the 17th head coach in franchise history and the third in the "Titans era" on Jan. 13. He owns 17 previous years of NFL experience as a coach and nine seasons as a player.
In 2013, Whisenhunt was named Assistant Coach of the Year by the Professional Football Writers of America after a successful one-year stint as offensive coordinator for the San Diego Chargers. Under his direction, the Chargers had the NFL's fifth-ranked offense (393.3 yards per game) and the league's top offense on third down (49.0 percent). Philip Rivers'105.5 passer rating matched the highest rating of his career and placed fourth among NFL signal callers.
Whisenhunt's first stint as a head coach was with the Arizona Cardinals from 2007 through 2012. He won a franchise-record 49 games, leading the club to a pair of NFC West titles and its first NFC Championship.
*THE CHIEFS *
The Chiefs are entering their second campaign under the direction of Andy Reid, who was named the franchise's head coach in 2013 after spending 14 years as head coach of the Philadelphia Eagles.
In his first season in Kansas City, Reid helped the Chiefs produce an 11-5 record and earn a Wild Card playoff berth. However, in the opening round of the playoffs, they fell to the Indianapolis Colts by a score of 45-44.
No NFL team in 2013 produced more Pro Bowl players than the Chiefs. Ten Chiefs received the honor, and seven of those remain with the club in 2014: safety Eric Berry, running back Jamaal Charles, inside linebacker Derrick Johnson, defensive tackle Dontari Poe, quarterback Alex Smith, and outside linebackers Tamba Hali and Justin Houston. One of last year's Pro Bowl selections, punt returner Dexter McCluster, signed with the Titans during the offseason.
Charles totaled 1,980 yards from scrimmage (1,287 rushing and 693 receiving) in 2013 to rank first in the AFC and second in the NFL. His 19 combined touchdowns (12 rushing, seven receiving) led the NFL.
Smith joined the Chiefs in a trade from the San Francisco 49ers in 2013. He passed for 3,313 yards as his team reached the playoffs for the third consecutive season (2011 and 2012 with the 49ers).