Game Info: Thursday, August 9th, 7:00 PM CT. 58th Annual Bishop’s Charities Game- The Packers are 32-24-1 All-Time in the exhibition game series’ history.
Odds: Even; Over/Under 35
Tennessee Titans 2017 Record: 9-7 (2nd in AFC South, Wild Card: W 22-21 @ Kansas City; Divisional Round: L 35-14 @ New England)
Head Coach: Mike Vrabel (0-0; First Year Head Coach)
Key Additions: RB-Dion Lewis (FA-New England), CB-Malcolm Butler (FA-New England), S- Kenny Vaccaro (FA- New Orleans), DT- Bennie Logan (FA-Kansas City), LB-Rashaan Evans (1st Rd. Pick, Alabama)
Injuries: RT- Jack Conklin, DB Demontre Hurst, LB Rashaan Evans, LB Sharif Finch, OL Kevin Pamphile, DL Bennie Logan, LB Nate Palmer and LB Brian Orakpo. *The Titans do not reveal player injury specifics in the preseason.
With many of the regular starters expected to be limited or inactive, the first preseason game is always a wild card of what to expect in terms of playing time and the play calling is typically pretty vanilla. Regardless, the Packers’ will be licking their chops as it’s the first time they will get to line up against another colored jersey and with several roster battles it will be fun to watch who steps up when the lights are on. Here are some intriguing things to watch:
Packers WR vs Titans DB: After Aaron Rodgers’ comments regarding the recent lack of effort by the Packers’ young receiving core the Packers WR battle is sure to be under a microscope under the lights of Lambeau Field on Thursday. After Davante Adams, Randall Cobb and Geronimo Allison, the Packers’ depth chart at the receiver position is basically up in the air for the final 3-4 spots and the final spots will be highly based on special teams play.
All three draft picks in J’mon Moore, Marquez Valdes-Scantling and Equanimeous St. Brown along with third year man Trevor Davis, undrafted training camp star Jake Kumerow and practice squad member Deangelo Yancey will be tested by the newly revamped Titans secondary. Safety Kenny Vaccaro, who signed with Tennessee over the weekend, provides a nice addition to fellow safeties Kevin Byard and Kendrick Lewis. While Malcolm Butler, Logan Ryan and Adoree Jackson form a solid group at cornerback.
Davis is by no means a lock to make this year’s roster, even with his return skills. St. Brown has shown some flashes this past week and Kumerow has been highly spoken of by Rodgers. Moore, Yancey and Valdes-Scantling all being recent Packers’ draft selections make it a very youthful, competitive competition. Whoever doesn’t make the Packers’ roster will likely have a legitimate chance to find a spot elsewhere or on a practice squad, unless of course, they were to completely flop during preseason game opportunities.
Titans Defense vs Packers QB: Defense has been rumored to be dominating the Titan’s practice field so far in Training Camp and the Packers’ young QB trio of Brett Hundley, DeShone Kizer and Tim Boyle will need to rise to the challenge and claim the top (and possibly only) roster spot behind Rodgers. The main battle will be between last year’s incumbent Hundley looking to right his various wrongs of 2017 against newcomer Kizer who went winless as a member of the Cleveland Browns. Hundley is listed ahead of Kizer on the depth chart currently, but that could change with Thursday night’s performance. Boyle, undrafted FA from Eastern Kentucky, may get some late mop up action. He has reportedly looked solid in practices so far with a rocket arm, however things get much different once the red “don’t touch” jerseys come off.
Mike Pettine Debut: During a press conference this week Pettine confirmed he will spend games from the coaching booth high above the action on the field. He says he “prefers to have all his information laid out in front of him,” and his first test comes against a run heavy team with a mobile quarterback. Titans’ QB1 Marcus Mariota is expected to play at least one series which will help display a good test in a different jersey. Running backs Derrick Henry and Dion Lewis provide a nice tandem with Henry being the bruiser and Lewis being the quick flash, but the receiving corps leaves plenty to be desired. Rishard Matthews, Corey Davis and Taywan Taylor form the top three receiver group, but tight end Delanie Walker remains the favorite target of Mariota and he will be a nice early test for the Packers’ safeties and linebackers.
The Packers secondary, which was revamped with the first two draft picks in Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson at cornerback and veteran Tramon Williams, who was brought back to Green Bay to help shore up depth, all need to have a strong showing against a weakness of the Titans to help ease Packer nation. Clinton-Dix claims his starting role at free safety and looks to improve on a down 2017 season. Who will join him is still up in the air. Pettine has been using a variety of different safety combos in training camp so be ready to see a nice mix of Josh Jones, Kentrell Brice, Jermaine Whitehead and Marwin Evans along with Quinton Rollins who will play some corner and safety to try and hang on to his roster spot in Green Bay.