People across the U.S. may not be huge Titans fans, but one thing is for certain: Nashville loves their Titans. Since the move to Nashville at the end of the 1990s, residents both local and imported have come to understand what it means to be a Titans fan.
It has its highs and lows. Excitement, yet a bit more disappointment. It means running the football and kicking field goals. It means being hesitant to force that “flash of lightning” and instead, opting to bring the thunder.
The Titans sure brought the thunder on Saturday night for the preseason opener at Nissan Stadium.
DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry look to contend for the best one-two punch in the league, showing their power, speed, athleticism, and intellect. The Titans ran for an impressive 288 yards behind Murray’s 93 yards, while Henry (73) and Sankey (53) continued the domination after Murray’s exit. All 3 running backs scored touchdowns in the Titans’ 27-10 preseason win against the San Diego Chargers.
Murray snuck loose for a 71-yard touchdown run (concluded by a stiff-arm) in the first quarter to give his team an early 10-7 lead. Henry followed with multiple strong, sneaky runs and added to the Titans lead with a 6-yard touchdown run. The much anticipated beginning for this duo was as impressive as it could have been, adding to the optimism fans have for a running game that has suffered since the Johnson/White era.
The important aspect to note that has been overlooked thus far by the media is the performance of the offensive line. Healthy, young, and stronger than ever, the line looks to be much improved from last year, giving Mariota more time to make his own decisions and get the ball downfield.
Mariota looked consistent, going 5-5 for 45 yards, and Matt Cassell looks to be a terrific acquisition for the Titans in both their development of Mariota and the ability to survive if something bad were to happen.
Rookie Kevin Byard of MTSU had an interception in the second half to guarantee a win for the team.
There is a good chance the Titans will have an improved, yet bumpy season in 2016. The ownership constructed one of the best off-seasons of any team in the NFL, with additions of Murray, Henry, Rishard Matthews, Cassel, and a terrific draft. The offensive line and running back crew look like the days of old, and Mariota will only get better.
We will have to wait a bit longer to see just how this defense will hold up against the best football players in the world, but for now, Titans fans expect to win, and it looks like they just might.