Whisenhunt: Much Still to Learn About 2014 Titans


NASHVILLE, Tenn – Titans head coach Ken Whisenhunt said there is plenty to learn from Saturday night's preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers as he spoke to reporters Sunday at Saint Thomas Sports Park.

"You can always get something out of it," he said. "It was an opportunity to evaluate our team. There's always something you can assess from that situation. 

Heavy rain throughout the evening provided plenty of challenges, including miscommunication from the coaches on the field to the coaches upstairs after the headsets went out multiple times during the game.

Despite what Whisenhunt said was the worst weather he's ever seen in terms of playing with a wet ball, he was pleased with the overall success in the exchange between long snapper Beau Brinkley and punter/holder Brett Kern.

There's no denying the unexpected storm did change the game plan. Both Jake Locker and Whisenhunt said they would liked to have thrown the ball more, but in those conditions there was no point. Whisenhunt said, however, he isn't concerned about the reps Locker got last night. 

"We have a plan for Jake as far as trying to get him snaps," Whisenhunt said. "The conditions last night were very difficult. When Jake was playing it was hard to throw the football. You could say all you want that you should call more passes to see if Jake can throw it in that [weather] but you're being counterproductive from the standpoint of if you can't throw the ball then it's not doing you any good.

"He'll get opportunities to see where he is but you have to understand, too, that we've seen a lot of him on the practice field and it's been very positive," Whisenhunt continued on his quarterback. "I've said all along I'm very excited about Jake and have been very pleased with how he's working."

The lack of a sustained passing game made it hard for receivers to stand out, with Brian Robiskie being the exception. His diving 38-yard catch gave the Titans a first-and-goal late in the fourth quarter that preceded Jackie Battle's game-winning touchdown.

"One of the things that we talked about before the game was that this is your opportunity to make plays," Whisenhunt said. "The guys that make plays are going to get more opportunities. He [Robiskie] certainly warrants that with the catch he made in the Atlanta practice and the one he made last night. It was good to see him do that."

Two additional areas Whisenhunt was pleased in were red zone efficiency and third down percentage.

The Titans went a perfect 3-of-3 in the red zone while the Packers converted on only one of their two trips inside the 20. Additionally, The Titans converted 46.2 percent (6-13) of their third downs and held the Packers to just 33 percent (4-12).

Getting a win after spending 60 minutes soaking wet should help the Titans continue the positive trend they've built throughout camp. It's something that many players have mentioned, but everyone has taken the approach that there are "no bad days."

"Our work has been productive consistently through camp," Whisenhunt explained. "We haven't had a bad day yet where the guys haven't worked and so I don't expect that to change. The win was great, but to me what's more important is that in the fourth quarter the defense stopped them, the offense scored, and we won the game. That's a great lesson to learn as a team. That's significant, I feel like."

It's important for players to stand out in the Titans four preseason games, but Whisenhunt reminded everyone on Monday that so much more goes into evaluations.

"It's not about one or two plays in a preseason game," he said. "It's about a body of work. There's a lot that you're evaluating over the course of the preseason and camp. It is important how these guys bounce back [from mistakes]. You're going against good football players, so there's going to be times when you make mistakes. If you can respond from those that's what's really important."

The body of work continues Monday afternoon when the Titans return to practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park at 2:50 p.m. CT., the first of two final practices open to the public this week.

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