building off their productive preseason.
You really like to see your team play well in the third preseason game that is basically a dress rehearsal. The Titans did just that by defeating the Arizona Cardinals 32-27 on a national stage.
Overall the entire team has looked solid in three preseason games, but these five players have set themselves apart from the rest of the team.
5. LB Zach Brown
There was a lot riding on this preseason for Zach Brown, who marked the second-straight season that the Titans have taken a linebacker in the second round of the NFL Draft.
Brown had the challenge of overcoming veteran Will Witherspoon for a starting role coming into the preseason, and it’s safe to say he’s won that position battle by a landslide.
Using his speed as his main weapon of choice, Brown will add a ton of athleticism to a young Titans defense that will be tested early and often in 2012.
Preseason Stats: 15 tackles, 3 tackles for loss
4. WR Kendall Wright
What has been most impressive about Wright’s play in the preseason is his crisp route running.
On almost every occasion Wright has seemed to be exactly where he needs to be on a particular route, and it has translated into some nice numbers.
Wright has also shown that he’s lethal when given space after making a catch. That figures to move the chains on numerous instances this season.
If this solid play translates to the regular season, then it will certainly help with the pain of Kenny Britt‘s inevitable absence to start the season.
Preseason Stats: 8 receptions, 100 yards, 1 TD
3. RB Darius Reynaud
If there’s one guy who has come out of nowhere for the Titans this preseason, it’s Darius Reynaud. He has showcased his speed in all three preseason games and has left the coaching staff no choice but to find a roster spot for him.
Now with the unfortunate injury to Marc Mariani, Reynaud figures to play a huge role in the return game this season.
Reynaud probably won’t see a ton of action at running back this season, but there’s no reason why he can’t get on the field in special situations. He’s shown that his athleticism is too much to deny, and it won’t do the Titans any good if he’s on the bench.
Preseason Stats: 16 carries, 117 yards, 1 TD
2. QB Jake Locker
Entering preseason, no player had more pressure in these preseason games than QB Jake Locker.
With the exception of a couple bad throws here and there, Locker has played like he’s more than ready to take over the reigns from Matt Hasselbeck as the starting quarterback.
The most positive sign that we’ve seen from Locker under center is his ability to move the offense one way or another. He’s done it with both his arm and his legs.
Locker’s most impressive performance came in the game that mattered most against Arizona. With all of the questions laid to rest on who will win the starting job, Locker settled down and had a great performance that ended with two touchdown passes.
The future of the Titans franchise has finally been put into motion now that head coach Mike Munchak has chosen to go with Locker as the starter.
Preseason Stats: 22/44, 235 yards, 2 TD, 1 INT, 35 rushing yards
1. LB Colin McCarthy
Is there anything Colin McCarthy can do wrong at this point?
Ever since he was inserted into the starting lineup for Barrett Ruud last season, he’s been playing like a seasoned veteran.
McCarthy has followed up his impressive play in 2011 with some strong showings in preseason, including an interception returned for a touchdown in last Thursday’s win over the Cardinals.
However, his vocal leadership has been just as impressive as his on-field performance.
The 6-1, 238-pound former fourth-round selection (109th overall out of Miami in 2011) registered a total of 68 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception in 13 games (seven starts) last season.
While this is a very young unit overall on defense, at least Tennessee is equipped with a very mature 24-year-old individual lining up at middle linebacker. Expect McCarthy to push for 100 tackles in 2012.
Preseason Stats: 15 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 3 pass deflections, 2 interceptions, 1 defensive touchdown