NFL Nation: 2014 NFL Preseason Week 2 GB at TEN

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- From the locker room after the Tennessee Titans' 20-16 preseason opening win over Green Bay:
  • Coach Ken Whisenhunt said that heavy rain meant "a lot of things we had planned went out the window" for the first team on offense. "We didn't handle it as well as we could have early," he said. But he liked that the offense made plays and the defense stopped the Packers late in the game when things were being decided, and that "the whole team was into it."
  • Brown
  • Inside linebacker Zach Brown has been a starter all of camp, but it was Zaviar Gooden who was on the field for the first series with the defense. Whisenhunt said that was punishment for Brown breaking a team rule. "I would describe it as pissing me off," Whisenhunt said. Brown said "If he ain't elaborating, I ain't either" and that he assured his coach it wouldn't happen against and understood the consequence.
  • Whisenhunt wasn't sure about the extent of the left ankle injury for interior offensive lineman Chris Spencer. But the shoulder injury for linebacker Colin McCarthy means he "is probably going to be out for a while."
  • Rookie running back Bishop Sankey had a solid showing in his debut with 13 carries for 37 yards to go with three catches for 38 more and the game-winning touchdown. He's been good in pass protection in practices but made an error that resulted in a Jarrett Bush sack of Charlie Whitehurst. "I just missed that backside corner coming off," Sankey said. "I just need to pay more attention, really just scan backside more. I took a glance, and got out into my route without really scanning backside completely."
  • Whitehurst had a fantastic run-around play where he looked to be in major trouble as he spun and dropped way far back to avoid Mike Neal. Then he rolled right and hit Sankey along the sideline for a key first down. As he got outside he said to himself, "Oh my gosh, something could happen here." The play had some on Twitter calling him "Charlie Football," which he said he preferred to his far more common nickname of "Clipboard Jesus."
  • Outside linebacker Brandon Copeland had a big chance to recover a ball Packers quarterback Scott Tolzien put on the ground when he dropped it as he cocked his arm to throw from near the right sideline. But Tolzien got his hands on Copeland, pulled him back and got to the ball to secure it. "I guess when the ball is free it's fair game," Copeland said. "That's just on me. I've got to be more prepared. I probably should have got the quarterback out of the way first. I saw the ball on the ground, and thought that he was out of the way, then I felt a weight on my back. I'm going to definitely take some grief. You live and you learn." Copeland said he might see that ball on the ground in his sleep the rest of his life.
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Heavy rains that produced flash flood warnings fell for much of the night, and the Tennessee Titans' first team had little chance to reveal much about itself Saturday night at LP Field.

The Green Bay Packers were better when it mattered most, but the Titans recovered and beat the visitors, 20-16.

Here are some other thoughts on the Titans' first preseason game of the year:
  • Backup strong safety Daimion Stafford laid two big hits and looks to be on a nice course to backup Bernard Pollard and maybe get in track to eventually succeed him. Titans coach Ken Whisenhunt singled him out for a compliment in halftime comments.
  • Second-team center-guard Chris Spencer suffered a left ankle injury and was carted off the field. That got undrafted rookie Gabe Ikard into the game ahead of schedule. Spencer is the top inside reserve, though Taylor Lewan can play guard, not center. Inside linebacker Colin McCarthy left the game with a left shoulder injury in the third quarter.
  • Charlie Whitehurst isn't known for his scrambling and looked to put himself in ridiculous trouble with a spin move and backward run under heavy pressure in the second quarter. But the Packers' Mike Neal missed him and Whitehurst recovered to find rookie running back Bishop Sankey at the first-down marker. Sankey turned it into a 24-yard gain.
  • The Titans defense gave up that eight-play, 64-yard touchdown drive at the start despite the fact that Green Bay's starting offense didn't include quarterback Aaron Rodgers, running back Eddie Lacy or receiver Jordy Nelson.
  • Third-string left outside linebacker Brandon Copeland had a chance at a big play after rolling quarterback Scott Tolzien lost a fumble as he cocked his arm to throw early in the third-quarter. But Tolzien grabbed him, flung him back and got back to the ball to recover.
The Green Bay Packers decided not to play starting quarterback Aaron Rodgers in Saturday's preseason opener against the Tennessee Titans in part so that they could take a long look at their backup quarterbacks.

They probably liked what they saw from Scott Tolzien in the 20-16 loss in tough weather conditions at LP Stadium in Nashville, Tennessee.

Not that there was anything wrong with Matt Flynn, who started and played most of the first half against the Titans' defensive starters, but he did not move the ball as well as Tolzien did against Tennessee's backups. After Flynn went 5-of-10 for 49 yards, Tolzien relieved him for the final series of the second quarter. He played into the fourth quarter and completed 8 of 12 passes for 124 yards. At least two of Tolzien's passes were dropped, not including Chris Harper's drop on a two-point conversion pass.

Each quarterback led one touchdown drive, both of which ended with rushing touchdowns, and neither threw an interception while playing in near-constant rain.

Some other thoughts on the Packers' first preseason game of the year:
  • It was startling to see first-round pick Ha Ha Clinton-Dix fail to tackle 5-foot-8, 170-pound running back Dexter McCluster, who turned the miss into a 10-yard gain, but the rookie safety recovered on the next play to dump Bishop Sankey after a 1-yard gain. Clinton-Dix also had a nice pass breakup on a seam route by Taylor Thompson. Thompson beat Clinton-Dix off the line, but he recovered to knock the ball out.
  • It was surprising to see rookie receiver Davante Adams get the first crack on punt returns, given that he has had limited opportunities to do so in practice, but he might not get another chance after muffing his two opportunities. He recovered the first one and returned it 8 yards, but the Titans got the second one, and it led to their lone first-half touchdown. Maybe it was the wet ball, because the normally steady Micah Hyde muffed a fair catch in the third quarter, although he recovered it. Running back DuJuan Harris returned the opening kickoff 40 yards, but bobbled his second turn.
  • With Eddie Lacy held out, James Starks looked like the same running back as last season, when he averaged a career-best 5.5 yards per carry as a backup. Starks made a nice cut on his 20-yard touchdown run in the first quarter and carried six times for 49 yards, mostly against the Titans' starters. Harris, in his first game action since the end of the 2012 season, carried seven times for 18 yards with a long run of 11 and had a pair of short receptions. Undrafted rookie running back Rajion Neal had an impressive debut with five carries for 39 yards (including a 12-yard touchdown in the third quarter).
  • The Packers had to like what they saw from starting center JC Tretter in his first NFL action. While the No. 1 offensive line played just one series, the second-year pro remained in for two more series with the second unit. He had a good block on the backside of Starks' touchdown and had no problems snapping the wet ball.
  • The only other injuries announced during the game were to Neal and linebacker Joe Thomas. Both undrafted rookies sustained knee injuries.




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