NASHVILLE, Tenn. — The Tennessee Titans (0-0) open their 2014 preseason this week, welcoming the defending NFC North Champion Green Bay Packers (0-0) to LP Field (capacity 69,143). Kickoff is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT on Saturday, Aug. 9.
Download Press Release (PDF) Fans are encouraged to participate in the LP PENCIL Box School Supply Drive at the game. LP PENCIL Box, a collaborative non-profit venture between PENCIL Foundation and LP Building Products, offers Nashville Metro teachers the opportunity to acquire school supplies for the city's most in-need children. Collection locations will be positioned outside of LP Field to collect items from erasers and pencil boxes to hand sanitizers, colored pencils, pens and rulers.
The game will be televised regionally on the Titans Preseason TV Network, including flagship WKRN-Channel 2 in Nashville. Cory Curtis will handle play-by-play duties while former Titans running back Eddie George provides analysis. Audra Martin will report from the sidelines.
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 and gameday host Rhett Bryan.
FIRST PRESEASON UNDER WHISENHUNT
For the first time, the Titans are led into the preseason by Ken Whisenhunt, who became the 17th head coach in franchise history and the third in the "Titans era" on Jan. 13. He arrives in Tennessee with 17 years of NFL experience as a coach and nine seasons as a player. He got his start in coaching as an assistant at Vanderbilt University from 1995 to 1996.
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). Quarterback Philip Rivers' 105.5 passer rating matched the highest rating of his career and placed fourth among NFL signal callers.
His first stint as a head coach was with the Arizona Cardinals from 2007 through 2012. He won a franchise-record 49 games and led the team to a pair of NFC West titles and their first NFC Championship.
In addition to Whisenhunt, several players are scheduled make their Titans preseason debuts. Early in the offseason, the Titans reached deals with a half-dozen free agents who could figure prominently in the their plans for 2014: Denver linebackers Wesley Woodyard and Shaun Phillips, Kansas City running back Dexter McCluster, Pittsburgh defensive lineman Al Woods, San Diego quarterback Charlie Whitehurst and Baltimore tackle Michael Oher. Those six players account for 37 NFL seasons, 15 playoff seasons and three Super Bowl appearances. Additionally, the Titans drafted six players in May who could see their first action in a Titans uniform this week, including first-round offensive lineman Taylor Lewan (11th overall pick from the University of Michigan) and second-round running back Bishop Sankey (42nd overall from Washington).
Starting quarterback Jake Locker heads into his fourth NFL season. The former first-round pick appeared in seven total games in 2013, completing 111 of 183 passes for 1,256 yards, eight touchdowns, four interceptions and a passer rating of 86.7. At the time of his season-ending foot injury, he ranked fourth in the NFL in third-down passer rating (103.7) and eighth in the league in fourth-quarter passer rating (105.9). He helped get the Titans off to a 3-1 start in the first month, during which time the offense did not commit at turnover.
*THE PACKERS *
The Packers are looking to defend their third consecutive division title. In 2013, they battled to an 8-7-1 finish, edging the 8-8 Chicago Bears for first place in the NFC North. The Packers' season came to an end with a loss to the San Francisco 49ers in the Wild Card round.
Under head coach Mike McCarthy, they have made the playoffs in six of their last eight seasons. McCarthy's .637 winning percentage (including playoffs) ranks fourth among all active NFL coaches (minimum 60 games).
Aaron Rodgers enters his 10th NFL season and his seventh as Green Bay's full-time starter at quarterback. The 2011 NFL MVP is the NFL's all-time career leader in passer rating (104.9).