The Titans don’t know who their starting quarterback will be this season. But they do know they need both candidates to play better than they did in the first preseason game.
The Titans do know who their starting running back will be this season. And they know they need him to play better than he did in the preseason opener, too.
Titans running back Chris Johnson, who last year followed a contract holdout with his worst NFL season, was nothing short of terrible on Saturday night in Seattle. Johnson gained just eight yards on five carries, and he was even worse in the passing game: The Titans threw three screen passes to Johnson, and all three fell incomplete, with two of them going right through Johnson’s hands.
Quarterbacks Matt Hasselbeck and Jake Locker were up and down for Tennessee. Hasselbeck didn’t play particularly well, but his numbers — 5-for-9 for 45 yards with two interceptions — look worse than he was. The first interception (on the first play of the game) was the fault of receiver Nate Washington, not Hasselbeck. Washington had the ball in his hands, bobbled it, knocked it into the air and watched helplessly as Seattle’s Brandon Browner picked it off and returned the interception 23 yards for a touchdown.
Hasselbeck was also victimized by Johnson dropping a third-down pass to end the Titans’ second drive. On Tennessee’s third possession, Hasselbeck started to get the offense moving but eventually forced a deep ball into double coverage for another pick.
Locker needed some time to settle down after coming in to replace Hasselbeck in the second quarter, but he eventually engineered an 11-play, 79-yard drive at the end of the first half to get the Titans into field goal range for their only points of the first half. Locker went into the locker room at halftime having gone 7-for-13 for 80 yards with no interceptions, and the Titans trailed 10-3.