The Saints (2-1) are set to host the Titans (2-1) tonight in their fourth and final preseason game. Last week New Orleans blew out the Oakland Raiders, while the Titans hung on to beat the Bears 14-13, so both teams should put up a good fight for a win to close out the preseason.
Getting “behind enemy lines” we exchanged questions with Brandon Clark, the editor of FanSided’s Tennessee Titans site titansized.com, to ask him some questions about the game and the team he covers.
1) What kind of a season are you expecting from the Titans?
I’m expecting a tease. The Titans this year are a growing team with an elder statesman at the head of the ship (Hasselbeck). What I’m looking for are glimpses of the future. A few young pieces like CB’s Alterraun Verner and Jason McCourty in the secondary, LB Akeem Ayers could win defensive rookie of the year and DT Karl Klug (pronounced Kloog) looks to be a keeper. Like with any young team, how do these guys fare over the course of the season, can they make an impact, and does the unit as a while gel? McCourty will now play on the outside with CB Cortland Finnegan changing to the ‘nickel’ position. In an interview with our site earlier in the off-season, Verner mentioned that the nickel was little harder to play. Finnegan seems to be a natural for it (the smaller, scrappy guy) and this personnel setup may work out for the best long-term. It does make you question Finnegans long-term value, with him being in a contract year.
2) How much playing team do you see the first team defense/offense getting against the Saints?
No more than a quarter should be played by the starters. That is, unless they want to start shuffling some interior linemen. I wouldn’t advise against it.
3) Do you expect Matt Hasselbeck to start?
I expect Hasselbeck to start both this game and the season. Hasselbeck needs this start. He’s never played with the much talked about Kenny Britt and as we saw in the last game, Hasselbeck needs to get some timing down with Nate Washington. The pass offense can be above-average but it may take the first quarter of the season to get it down.
4) What are your thoughts on Jake Locker, and do you expect him to challenge Hasselbeck for the start early?
In short, I like him. I think the Titans found a guy they liked and made the bold move to take a quarterback in the top-10. Locker has great character and work ethic, but so does Tim Tebow who is now rumored to be #3 on the depth chart in Denver. Locker needs some technique refinement. I look for this to essentially be a red shirt year for him, even though he may play in mop-up duty at some point. He could emerge as a force next year, but let’s not look to far down ‘Speculation Avenue’.
5) What has Mike Munchak done this off-season to change the culture of the team after Bud Adams release of former head coach Jeff Fisher?