Friday Night Preseason Football: Titans vs. Buccaneers Preview
The Tennessee Titans and Tampa Bay Buccaneers go to battle tonight, as both teams take the field for their second preseason game of the year. We’re looking to see separation in the Titans’ quarterback battle, as well as the Bucs’ running back battle. In addition, we get another look at Vincent Jackson with the Buccaneers, and we also get to look at rookie receiver Kendall Wright.
Let’s see what you should be looking for if you’re able to watch or follow tonight’s preseason action:
How Comfortable is Locker in Starting Role?
Head Coach Mike Munchak announced earlier in the week that second year quarterback Jake Locker will get the start Friday versus the Buccaneers over Matt Hasselbeck. Munchak hasn’t officially slated the job to Locker yet, but he has gone on the record saying that it is essentially Locker’s to lose, as long as he continues to play how he has this entire offseason. “I think Jake Locker just has to do what he’s been doing out here. He needs to do what he did last week,” said Munchak. Locker is said to get 20-25 snaps Friday; Munchak says he wants to see two solid drives from him with the chains moving and Locker finishing drives. Locker could move up to a QB2 value in fantasy, but he is also obviously a commodity in dynasty league formats.
Will CJ2K Show Up?
There has been a lot of hype around the league that Johnson will return to his elite ways and get close to the 2,000 yard mark again. In the Titans’ preseason opener though, Johnson seemed lost. Johnson had only eight yards on five carries in the opener, with simply nowhere to run behind his mediocre-at-best offensive line. Johnson also dropped a pair of passes and simply didn’t possess the sharpness many of us were expecting to see return. If he has a bounce-back week against the Bucs, I would feel more comfortable taking him in the late first round, but if he looks lost again, especially against the Bucs’ defense, it’s time to move him down your boards a little.
LeGarrette Blount vs. Doug Martin
Rookie RB Doug Martin’s fantasy stock was on a steady rise prior the preseason opener against the Dolphins, where LeGarrette Blount surprisingly got all of the first team rushing reps with a extra heavy dose around the goal line. Martin came in on passing downs with the first team and then ran with the second team and ran very well, showing great shiftiness and agility despite mediocre-looking stats. The big question Friday will be if Martin gets any touches with the first team. If so, both Blount and Martin could definitely split first-team duties during the season. But if you see more Blount with the first team again this week – and he deserved first team reps the way he ran in the opener – it could spell trouble for Martin’s high stock while also revitalizing Blount’s stock, which was next-to-dead before the preseason opener.
Will There Be More of a Vincent Jackson Sighting?
Vincent Jackson did not have a reception in the preseason opener, which starts to make you think about the overwhelming fantasy predictions that Jackson will have a down year in 2012. Quarterback Josh Freeman and Jackson seem to have a strong connection in camp and Jackson has reportedly been wowing onlookers this entire offseason, but will it translate to the field? It would only take a few looks at the Freeman-Jackson connection on Friday to tell if Jackson will be ready to roll in 2012.
Which Titans Receiver Will Locker Favor?
Matt Hasselbeck, the starter in the Titans’ opener, seemed to favorite Nate Washington, but when Locker entered the game, Locker targeted speedy rookie Kendall Wright plenty. With Locker now gaining a start, will Wright have a steady role with the first team offense with Locker under center? Or will Nate Washington continue to get the first team looks no matter the quarterback starting? Washington could be a serviceable WR3 option if he is targeted often by Locker, who looks to have the starting job as long as he doesn’t implode.