Titans open preseason tonight
Terry McCormick TitanInsider.com
Dec 17, 2015 at 6:57 PM
Saturday night will be the first chance for fans to see the first edition of Ken Whisenhunt's Tennessee Titans.
It will also be their first chance since last Nov. 10 to see Jake Locker at quarterback. Locker is fully recovered from the foot injury that cost him the final seven weeks of the season last season.
“I'm excited about it. It's exciting to be able to go against somebody else, so I'm looking forward to that Saturday night,” Locker said.
Locker and the first-teamers probably won't see a whole lot of time on the field, perhaps a couple of series, but for a quarterback who has immersed himself in a new offensive system, he is eager to take it for a test drive Saturday night.
“If there's a healthy balance, but we want to make sure we're comfortable running the offense in a game setting,” Locker said. “I think it's gonna kind of a thing where we come out and do the things that we feel we need to do to keep moving forward as a football team, and kind of go from there.
“I just want to go out and play with a good tempo, a good intensity in and out of the huddle, be crisp and not make any mental errors.”
Whisenhunt said Locker has worked hard and is ready to get started Saturday night.
“I know he is excited to get out there and play, especially with some of the things he's worked on in the off-season,” Whisenhunt said.
One thing that will change for Locker and the Titans is that more responsibility will be placed on his shoulders in this system. That means becoming more than just a game manager on game days.
“He's growing and doing a good job. That's what this whole process is about, doing that. I think he's said that himself. He's done some things that he hadn't done before, and now he's glad that he did,” Whisenhunt said of challenging Locker. “So we'll continue to keep growing and pushing, and hopefully, we'll have success.”
After Locker and the first-team are done, the Titans will turn things over to veteran Charlie Whitehurst for a few series before rookie Zach Mettenberger, who could wind up playing a lot of snaps in the second half, takes over to finish the game for Tennessee.
Five players sat out practice for the Tennessee Titans on Thursday, but Coach Ken Whisenhunt did not rule any of them completely for Saturday night's preseason opener against the Green Bay Packers.
Defensive linemen Antonio Johnson has not practiced in more than a week with a knee injury, while Mike Martin has been out since Saturday with a hamstring injury.
Linebacker David Gilbert was out due to a shoulder injury, while linebacker Jonathan Willard sat out Thursday's closed practice with what Whisenhunt would only term as a “lower body” injury.
Fullback Collin Mooney was not at practice because he became ill earlier in the day.
It's just a preseason game, and the first one at that.
But it will be a little bit special to one Tennessee Titans player because of who the opponent is.
Titans backup quarterback Charlie Whitehurst grew up a Packers fan because his father David played for the Pack from 1977-83, and was Green Bay's starting quarterback in 1978 and '79.
“It does mean something a little extra to me. I think it's a great organization. I grew up a Packers fan obviously, and it's always fun to see that helmet coming out of the locker room, for sure,” Whitehurst said.
Whitehurst, born in 1982, was just a baby while his father was with the Packers.
“I remember very little of it, but it was cool. I remember seeing a Packers helmet around the house when I was a kid and I obviously watched (Brett) Favre and Aaron (Rodgers) and I still kind of pay attention to them.”