ATLANTA, Ga. (WKRN) – We always have to temper our expectations in the preseason and that is especially true tonight when the Titans visit the Falcons in their preseason opener.
Injuries will severely limit who the Titans put on the field tonight. Players like Ty Sambrailo, Taylor Lewan and Bud Dupree are all coming back from major injuries last year and are not expected to play tonight.
Ben Jones, Nate Davis and Rodger Saffold are also not expected to play tonight because of nagging injuries suffered during camp.
That will give the Titans a good look at some of the younger offensive linemen like second round pick Dillon Radunz, but it also could lead to a lot of struggles for the guys trying to carry the ball.
There was a lot of excitement last year about third round pick Darrynton Evans, but he had no preseason and a nagging hamstring injury all last year held him to only 14 carries for the entire season. Evans is expected to get the start tonight and get a very good look.
Once Evans leaves, the battle is on in my opinion. Jeremy McNichols and Brian Hill are battling to be the Titans third running back. Hill was a Falcon the last few seasons and took over the starter roll the second half of last year. Practice is obviously very important, but these three preseason games could decide the winner between those two.
These are also valuable snaps for Logan Woodside who barely played last year because of the cancellation of the preseason. He may end up running for his life, but the Titans need to see him in some game situations. Matt Barkley should play the second half at quarterback, but it’s hard to expect much from him after just signing with the team this week.
Defensively, it will be good to see a couple of the young players in action like outside linebacker Rashad Weaver and second-year cornerback Kristian Fulton who struggled his rookie season with injury.
Something else to keep your eye on is the Titans process on offense. Todd Downing is calling his first game as an offensive coordinator since 2017 and we need to see that they can get the play calls in the game and the team on the line in plenty of time.