2014 DRAFT GUIDE
5 things about Titans, Vikings from preseason

By JON KRAWCZYNSKI - AP Sports Writer
    2013-08-30 03:14

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Tennessee Titans and Minnesota Vikings both enter the regular season relying on third-year quarterbacks to make significant improvements and justify the faith both teams have showed them early in their careers.

Jake Locker, who was taken eighth overall in the 2011 draft, was coming off an injury-plagued first full season as a starter for the Titans. Christian Ponder, who was drafted four spots later, has been wildly up and down in his first two years on the job.

The preseason was important for both young players to establish rhythm, chemistry and leadership going into what could be make-or-break years for them. Here's a look at how they did, and four other things we know about each team following the preseason.

---

Five things we know about the Vikings:

PONDERING THE QB: Ponder is throwing to a revamped receiving corps and has had to do most of his work with newcomers Greg Jennings and Cordarrelle Patterson in practice. He played two plays in the opener - one completion and one interception - and was up and down in more extensive playing time in Games 2 and 3. He did not play in the preseason finale and enters the regular season with plenty of question marks.

INTRIGUING ROOKIE: Patterson has shown flashes of the ability that made the Vikings pay a big price to trade back in the first round and grab the WR out of Tennessee. He needs work on his route-running, but the athleticism, speed and versatility in the return game have the Vikings excited about his future.

SUSPECT SECONDARY: The Vikings let CB Antoine Winfield, a revered veteran in the locker room, go this summer, preferring to go with a youth movement in the secondary. But Chris Cook appears to be the only reliable, veteran cornerback they have at the moment, and he has struggled with injuries and off-the-field issues early in his career. The second unit was torched by Tennessee's backup quarterbacks and receivers in the preseason finale.

DT DEPTH: Kevin Williams went down with a knee injury in the third preseason game, and coach Leslie Frazier is hopeful his six-time Pro Bowler will be ready for the opener. But there is a decent chance Williams won't be, and the Vikings have also had rookie Sharrif Floyd miss three weeks with a knee injury and Christian Ballard leave the team for personal reasons. So depth remains a concern in the middle.

WHO NEEDS PRESEASON? Adrian Peterson didn't play a down of preseason ball last year while recovering from a torn ACL, and he followed that up with a 2,000-yard season and an MVP trophy. He only played a few snaps on one drive this preseason, but there's no doubt he'll be ready to roll on Sept. 8 against the Lions.

---

Five things we know about the Titans:

LOCKED IN: Titans coach Mike Munchak took the unusual approach of playing many of his offensive starters, including Locker, in the final preseason game. He wanted Locker to continue building on a solid preseason, and he did just that on an 18-play opening drive against the Vikings. For the preseason he completed 67 percent of his passes for 338 yards and one TD. ``I feel really comfortable with this group,'' Locker said. ``I like what we're doing offensively and I've got a lot of confidence in what we're doing, so I'm excited.''

MCCARTHY MENDING: LB Colin McCarthy was a defensive captain last year, but he's missed three weeks because of hamstring problems in the preseason. His action against the Vikings was his first this year, and he's trying to ramp up to get ready to help the unit when it opens at Pittsburgh on Sept. 8. He led the Titans with six tackles in the game. ``It felt great to get an opportunity during the preseason, when it doesn't really count, to go out there and knock some of the cobwebs off,'' he said.

MUNCHAK ON HOT SEAT: The Hall of Famer went 6-10 in his second season and knows that the clock is ticking. That may be why he wanted to play so many offensive players in the preseason finale. The urgency is high. ``This is my opportunity, too,'' Munchak said earlier this week. ``Only so many guys get an opportunity to do what I'm doing. I appreciate it greatly to be in this spot. I don't want to let people down, and I want to give it all I've got.''

CORNERBACK SHUFFLE: Jason McCourty is the starter at LCB. Alterraun Verner and Tommie Campbell have alternated starts on the right side. Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said they could alternate starts between the two during the season depending on opponents. Verner struggled last week giving up a big completion to Julio Jones and was flagged twice for interference.

ZOOM ZOOM: Chris Johnson raced a cheetah as part of a cable television special in the offseason, and he hit the ground running in the preseason. After a bounce-back year in 2012, Johnson has looked prime for another big season with an impressive exhibition campaign. He rushed for 155 yards and a touchdown, averaging 7.8 yards per carry, in the preseason.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Josh GordonAug 27 01:03p

Updating a previous report, Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will not be allowed to file for reinstatement during his one-year suspension, according to a source. His representatives will look [ More ]

Josh GordonAug 27 12:53p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon will be suspended for the 2014 season after his appeal of the suspension was denied, according to a source.

Matt SchaubAug 26 04:33p

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub (elbow) missed his third straight day of practice with elbow soreness Tuesday, Aug. 26, but head coach Dennis Allen doesn't think Schaub's injury is [ More ]

Josh GordonAug 26 01:23p

Cleveland Browns WR Josh Gordon's hearing for a drunken-driving charge has been rescheduled for November. He was originally scheduled to appear in court Tuesday, Aug. 26. He was arrested [ More ]

Matt SchaubAug 25 07:33p

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub (elbow) is expected to start in Week 1 against the New York Jets, according to head coach Dennis Allen. Allen is not worried about [ More ]

Richie IncognitoAug 25 04:53p

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have thoroughly looked into free-agent OG Richie Incognito's (Dolphins) background before inviting him for a visit, according to sources. The team has considered meeting with [ More ]

Wes WelkerAug 25 04:13p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) could play in the team's regular season opener Sunday, September 7, if he does not have any concussion symptoms by Monday, September 1. [ More ]

Chase BlackburnAug 25 01:33p

Carolina Panthers OG Trai Turner (groin) and DEs Greg Hardy (shoulder) and Charles Johnson (hamstring) sat out of practice Sunday, Aug. 24. SS Roman Harper (toe), who missed the [ More ]

Dennis DixonAug 25 10:52a

The Buffalo Bills released RB Ronnie Wingo, OT Joe Unga, WR Chris Summers, C Macky MacPherson, DT Damien Jacobs, PK Dustin Hopkins, QB Dennis Dixon, WR Tori Gurley, DB [ More ]

Otis HudsonAug 25 10:32a

The Kansas City Chiefs released WR Deon Anthony, DL Jairus Campbell, DT Jermelle Cudjo, OG Otis Hudson, WR Jerrell Jackson, CB Brandon Jones, CB Vernon Kearney, S Jerron McMillian, [ More ]

Stevan RidleyAug 25 10:03a

New England Patriots RB Stevan Ridley may not make the team out of the preseason.

Matt CasselAug 25 09:53a

Minnesota Vikings QB Matt Cassel was named the team's starting quarterback over QB Teddy Bridgewater.

Matt SchaubAug 25 09:53a

Oakland Raiders QB Matt Schaub (elbow) had an MRI reveal no major structural damage in his right elbow.

Bishop SankeyAug 25 09:03a

Tennessee Titans RB Bishop Sankey, who has had fumbling issues due to poor footwork before the hand-off, was better in that regard in the third preseason game over the [ More ]

David SimsAug 25 08:42a

The Indianapolis Colts released CB Johnny Adams, CB Qua Cox, OG Andre Cureton, OG Marcus Hall, CB Kameron Jackson, WR Nu'Keese Richardson, LB Jonathon Sharpe, S David Sims, WR [ More ]

Torell TroupAug 25 08:32a

The Oakland Raiders released DT Torell Troup, TE Kyle Auffray, OT Emmett Cleary, LB Justin Cole, WR Mike Davis, WR Rahsaan Vaughn and CB Jansen Watson.

Alex TanneyAug 25 12:43a

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers waived LS Jeremy Cain, WR Eric Page, QB Alex Tanney, FB Ian Thompson, WR Tommy Streeter, WR Skye Dawson, OT Jace Daniels, OG Jason Foster, [ More ]

LeSean McCoyAug 24 11:53p

Philadelphia Eagles RB LeSean McCoy (thumb, toe) said he will be fine for Week 1 after suffering a thumb injury in the team's preseason game Thursday, Aug. 21. McCoy [ More ]

Chase BlackburnAug 24 11:42p

Carolina Panthers LB Chase Blackburn (back) and SS Roman Harper (toe) returned to practice Sunday, Aug. 24.

Tarell BrownAug 24 11:22p

Oakland Raiders DL Justin Ellis (concussion) returned to practice Sunday, Aug. 24, after missing a couple of weeks with a concussion, and CB Tarell Brown (concussion) practiced after leaving [ More ]

Wes WelkerAug 24 11:22p

Denver Broncos WR Wes Welker (concussion) has a good chance to play in Week 1, according to Mike Klis of The Denver Post. Welker suffered a concussion in the [ More ]

Charles MitchellAug 24 10:32p

The Denver Broncos waived RB Brennan Clay, RB Jerodis Williams, WR Greg Hardin, WR Greg Wilson, QB Bryn Renner, LB Jerrell Harris, CB Charles Mitchell and DL Will Pericak [ More ]

Tahir WhiteheadAug 24 10:30p

Detroit Lions LB Tahir Whitehead had 10 tackles and three sacks during his team's exhibition game against the Jacksonville Jaguars. 'He was really playing at a level of one [ More ]

Zac StacyAug 24 10:28p

St. Louis Rams QB Sam Bradford (knee) is out for the season after an MRI revealed a torn left anterior cruciate ligament. Zac Stacy will be relied upon even [ More ]

Richard RodgersAug 24 10:19p

Green Bay Packers TE Richard Rodgers may be the starting tight end for Week 1 of the regular season. An injury to TE Brandon Bostick, combined with strong play [ More ]

Josh BoyceAug 24 10:06p

New England Patriots WR Josh Boyce did not play an offensive snap until there was 1:26 remaining in the third quarter of the preseason game Friday, Aug. 22, against [ More ]

Johnny ManzielAug 24 09:47p

Cleveland Browns QB Johnny Manziel could play with QB Brian Hoyer in a two-quarterback system later in the season, according to head coach Mike Pettine. Pettine said a package [ More ]

Winston JusticeAug 24 09:42p

The Denver Broncos released OT Winston Justice and LB Jamar Chaney Sunday, Aug. 24.

D.J. HaydenAug 24 09:12p

Oakland Raiders CB D.J. Hayden (foot) had a good day of work with team trainers, Sunday, Aug. 24, and could return to practice this week, according to head coach Dennis Allen.

Terrell ThomasAug 24 09:02p

The Seattle Seahawks released CB Terrell Thomas Sunday, Aug. 24, a league source told ESPN's Adam Schefter.

Tyrell JohnsonAug 24 08:22p

The Atlanta Falcons released SS Tyrell Johnson Sunday, Aug. 24.

Jordan SennAug 24 07:22p

The Chicago Bears released LB Jordan Senn.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group