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W2W4: Tennessee Titans

8/8/2014

The Tennessee Titans (0-0) and Green Bay Packers (0-0) open the preseason Saturday night at LP Field.

1. Utilizing Locker: Quarterback Jake Locker plays in a game for the first time since he injured his foot on Nov. 10 against Jacksonville. He’s said getting hit will be the final hurdle in being all the way back. We get our first real look at how the new Titans staff might use him and what he’ll be asked to do. Don’t look for much designed movement; Tennessee will save most of that for the regular season. Poise, command, chemistry and all the typical preseason buzzwords for a quarterback trying to solidify his standing will be the things we evaluate after Locker comes out of the game.

2. Situational play from the 3-4. Ray Horton’s new scheme will be unveiled, though we don’t know how many wrinkles we'll see. Throughout recent practices, going to the nickel has meant nose tackle Sammie Hill leaves the field, ends Jurrell Casey and Ropati Pitoitua pinch toward the middle and outside linebackers Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley work as if they are stand-up ends. I’m curious to see how base vs. nickel looks and what, if any, confusion the Titans' defense can cause, particularly for Aaron Rodgers for however long he plays.

3. Kicker competition. Ken Whisenhunt has consistently minimized what the kickers in competition have done so far, but it has to start making positive or negative impressions starting here. Maikon Bonani has the superior leg, but he’s been less consistent and accurate than Travis Coons. This game will include extra points snapped from the 25-yard line, and that should increase the film the Titans get on these two. They’ve alternated kicks in practices, so I’d expect that is how they will be used tonight, though Whisenhunt couldn’t yet say the plan on Thursday.