NASHVILLE, Tenn. –Titans players returned to Saint Thomas Sports Park on Saturday after landing from New Orleans at approximately 2:30 a.m. this morning. Players who were nicked up in last night's 31-24 loss to the Saints got treatment and everyone had meetings to go over last night's game film.
Head coach Ken Whisenhunt and the rest of the coaching staff arrived at the team facility early this morning to begin player evaluations. For the most part, Whisenhunt liked what he saw from his team in its second preseason game.
"There were a lot of things that went on during that game. From an evaluation standpoint it was really our first preseason game," said Whisenhunt referring to the storm that washed away most of the game plan in last week's preseason opener against Green Bay. "Offensively there were a lot of good things. Obviously, the turnovers are something we have to get eliminated but we were doing good on third down and good in the red zone."
Locker got his first real crack at running the team's new offense, registering points on both of his drives. His night finished 8-of-11 passing for 75 yards and one touchdown, a perfectly thrown four-yard fade to Justin Hunter in the back corner of the end zone.
"For his first chance at really operating the offense – there's a number of things in that situation with being on the road, handling the noise, and playing against a team that will bring a lot of pressure – so there's a lot of things you have to manage outside of just the offense and I thought he did a nice job of that," said Whisenhunt. "I thought he was in control of it and did a nice job. He made some accurate throws, was very efficient and we were successful when he was in there."
The Titans QB showed his willingness to run when given the opportunity. Locker had one scramble up the middle for a gain of seven yards when the Saints dropped into a prevent defense.
"If teams are going to drop eight into coverage and rush three, there are going to be opportunities for the quarterback to run," said Whisenhunt about Locker's running ability. "We saw an element last night of what Jake can bring to the offense which makes it tough. Teams have to be aware of that."
For the second straight week, the Titans began the game on defense and allowed a touchdown. Coach Whisenhunt said there's a lot to clean up, but he liked how his guys responded following the opening possession.
"Defensively the first drive we had some mistakes," he said. "We had some communication errors and we had some technique errors but we got those addressed after that first drive and did a decent job after that."
Bishop Sankey continued to show flashes of his talent Friday night, running for 31 yards on six carries as he showed the propensity to run through defenders at the end of his runs. Sankey did, however, lose a fumble on a missed exchange with quarterback Zach Mettenberger.
"He's a rookie. We have to work through a lot of things with him," Whisenhunt said of his rookie running back. "I'm impressed with a lot of things about Bishop. There are things that he needs time with and needs to get better at. Whether it's footwork, whether it's how he's taking the ball on handoffs, or understanding protections. He missed a lot of time. He's a smart young man, but some of those things you need to work with -- but there's no question he's a talented player."
Other players receiving praise from Whisenhunt included Avery Williamson, Marqueston Huff, Travis Coons, Maikon Bonani, and of course Justin Hunter, who starred on Friday with 111 receiving yards and two touchdowns on four receptions.
The Titans will have Sunday off before returning to the practice field on Monday – a place where the team has had no problem getting work done so far.
"These guys are working hard," Whisenhunt said. "That helps. If you can do what they're doing on the practice field then we will get better. We've just got to get better starting these games out with some of the mistakes we're making, but we can't lose sight of the (good) plays we're making, too. We're doing some good things."