At long last, pre-season football has arrived in middle Tenneesee. After weeks of the off-the-field distractions of Adam Jones and his contract dispute, it was nice to head out to the stadium and actually focus on what happened on the field rather than who is suing who and will Pacman ever sign a contract? (Honestly, I am beginning to doubt he ever will and his agent is not helping matters by sending an e-mail out informing the media he's leaving town but not telling Floyd Reese or the Titans organization).
But let's face it here--for the most part, pre-season games are little more than a glorified scrimmage. Sure, it's a glorified scrimmage in which the fans can buy beer, but if you really think you're going into a contest where you're going to see the best of the offense, defense and special teams, you've got another think coming. Friday night was all about going full speed against another team for the first time since January and keep all the star players from getting injured. Hence why Chris Brown was held out with tightness in his hamstring and we saw nothing of Tyrone Calico.
But even with these two components out of the game, we still got a small preview of what the Titans offense will offer this year. And if this is the vanilla version for pre-season, I have hopes for the offense this year. Steve McNair looked good in his return to play for the first time since last October. He scrambled twice, one time taking a huge hit, but he bounced back up quickly. So, ::knocks wooden object:: so far, so good. Travis Henry got some playing time with the first team offense and it was great to see Henry back in a uniform for a Tennessee team. Henry didn't get a great deal of production on the night, but the thing with a running back like Henry is that it takes three quarters to wear down a defense. I am interested to see how Henry would do given a half or in a whole game scenario as the defense wears down.
And certainly as the second team got in, there were some issues. I wonder how well Billy Volek is adjusting to the new system implemented by offensive coordinator Norm Chow. He just didn't seem quite as in sync as he was during the late season run last year when he had the reigns of the team. Of course, part of that could be that he was separated from his favorite target, Drew Bennett.
Then, there's the defense that gave up a drive and an easy TD to start the game, but settled down after that. There were two big pass interference calls against us (one of them totally bogus as the ball was uncatchable) that helped the Bucs move score 10 points--including a field goal to win the game in overtime. And while I know we've got issues at cornerback, if Tony Beckham in the answer I wonder if we ought to re-evaluate the questions we're asking.
And I still continue to wonder if Jeff Fisher is going to ban me from the stadium. I've been to four games now and the Titans have only won one of them. And as we all know, it is all about me.
Now, heading over to the stadium, we did get caught in the thunderstorm that blew through early Friday afternoon. This after checking numerous weather forecasts in which no rain or storms were expected. Guess they got that one a wee bit wrong. Barry and I had to huddle in the TitansRadio tent for a few minutes during the worst of the storm. It was blowing so hard that at one point, George Plaster advised us that the tent could blow over and he wasn't making us leave but we stayed at our own risk. This might have been in response to the fact that less than a minute before we got in the tent, some scaffolding holding some banners blew and hit a fan. From what I heard on the radio this morning, the fan is alright, though he was going to his first Titans' game. I think he had to miss it or at least only listen to the Mike Keith radio broadcast or watch the coverage of WKRN instead of being there as he got carted off in an ambulance. I don't know who he was, but I hope and pray he's OK. If anyone was there or knows anything on his condition, please feel free to comment and let me know. Or drop me a line via e-mail.
During all this, we got out very own free Titans' foam fingers which Gracelyn and Davis had a good time with Saturday afternoon. Davis thought it was funny to bonk Uncle Michael on the head with a giant number one foam finger.
Also intereting about the experience was that we got two 2-minute warnings to end the first half. Jeff Fischer reviewed a call, thus setting the clock back to 2:05. This was after we'd done the 2-minute warning thing. Another play was run and then we got ANOTHER 2-minute warning. Listening to Mike Keith and Frank Wycheck on the radio, we got a few minutes of them filling time as they'd obviousy used the commercials already for the 2-minute warning. I will admit that Keith and Wycheck did well on their first broadcast together. Keith is the best play by play guy out there and while I miss the chemistry he had with Pat Ryan, Wycheck did a good job. You could tell Wycheck was nervous and excited, but he quickly got comfortable and offered some good insight. I was worried he'd be too much of a homer for the Titans, but so far no really legitimate complaints here. (I mean, I still miss Pat Ryan, but then again I also still miss John Ward...complaining about it ain't gonna change it).
And you know a game is on the less than interesting side when the most excitement our upper deck section could generate was over a huge bug that was flying around during the game.
I mean, sure there was that huge 53-yard field goal to tie the game and go to overtime but it was just a few moments of excitement whereas the drama with the bug was spread out over an entire quarter and a half...
posted by Michael Hickerson at 8/15/2005 09:25:00 AM