After an entire off-season of OTAs and two weeks of training camp, Titans players finally get a chance to compete against someone else when they host the Washington Redskins in the preseason opener for both teams Saturday at LP Field (8:00p, The NFL Network).
“Going against our defense, those guys have helped us a lot, but now it’s time for us to see someone different,” said quarterback Vince Young, who earned his first regular season career victory at Washington last season. “There are some great players on Washington’s football team and I’m looking forward to matching up with them and seeing what our receivers can do.”
Head coach Jeff Fisher said he will use the preseason to help determine the starters of positions that are still open for competition.
“I think what you’ll find, even though we’re not ready to disclose specific play time, is that in the competitive positions we’ll probably start one player this week and then start the other player next week,” Fisher said. “So that kind of will be our plan in a lot of those positions.”
Titans players say Saturday’s game will tell them a lot about where the team is at two weeks into camp.
“The preseason gives us a chance to see where we are as a group, start fine-tuning our chemistry as a team and see where guys stand,” linebacker David Thornton said. “We have a lot of new guys and I want to see how they are going to contribute and fit in to help this team.”
Added linebacker Keith Bulluck: “It’s good because we get to go out there against another offense that has been working on different things that we haven’t seen yet. We’ll get to play our base defenses and see how they match up and we’ll kind of see where we are as a defense.”
Saturday will mark the first NFL game of any kind for rookie running back Chris Henry, who saw a handful of NFL stadiums during his pre-draft team visits, but never attended a game growing up.
The closest he’s been? As a collegiate player at Arizona, he played against Washington at Qwest Field, home of the Seattle Seahawks.
“I’ve never even been to an NFL football game, so it’s going to be exciting just being in the stadium and also competing on Saturday. I’m really looking forward to it,” Henry said.
Executing, minimizing mistakes and reacting instead of thinking are Henry’s primary goals Saturday night. Before then, he’ll try to remain calm as he prepares to kick off his NFL career under the lights at LP Field.
“It’s starting to settle in a little bit, but I can only imagine once it goes live on Saturday it will probably start to swirl a little bit” Henry said. “But it’s the ability to calm everything down, play at your pace and make everything come to you slowly that sets you apart from everyone else. I just have to play to the best of my ability and everything else will take care of itself.”
Young said he will focus on the game’s fundamentals during his play time, however long that may be.
“I love the work,” he said. “It’s always coach’s decision, but when it’s my time and I’m out there, I’m going to work hard and take care of my responsibilities, doing everything that coach wants me to — getting the guys in and out of the huddle, executing the play, not trying to take the big shots all the time and check it down if it’s not there. That’s the kind of game I want.”
Once he’s done for the night, Bulluck said his work still won’t be finished.
“I watch the whole game, so once I’m finished I’m on the sidelines just checking everything out,” Bulluck said. “If I can help a rookie linebacker or somebody else, I’m definitely there for that. For the most part, I’m there to try to help these guys give their best shot to make the team.”
Story Courtesy: The Tennessee Titans
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