The Tennessee Titans improved to 2-1 with a 32-27 preseason victory over the Arizona Cardinals on August 23, 2012. The Titans had a 23-10 lead before they started to remove starting defensive players early in the third quarter. The Cardinals played many of their starters (and Kevin Kolb) deep into the third quarter. That's when they made their comeback.
Here were a few observations from this contest.
From Barrett Ruud to Colin McCarthy? Wow! McCarthy had an incredible game that included seven tackles, two pass deflections, two tackles for losses (TFL), and two touchdowns that included a 31-yard interception return for a touchdown in the third quarter.
All in what was basically one-half-of-a-day's work. McCarthy is playing like a Pro Bowl linebacker now that he has a productive defensive line in front of him.
Jake Locker completed 11-of-20 passes for 134 yards with two touchdowns. The Jake Locker-to-Kendall Wright connection resulted in four completions for 44 yards and a 10-yard touchdown reception.
Locker played much better than he did against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He wasn't perfect. Locker sailed a few passes over his receivers. He could've had a touchdown on a pass that he sailed over Nate Washington in the second quarter. Locker also must stop chucking passes at his running backs on screen plays. He appears uncomfortable in that department.
The Titans' defensive dominance started with their trench play. The Titans had 10 quarterback hits, eight TFLs, seven pass deflections and four sacks. Kamerion Wimbley had two sacks with two TFLs. Keyunta Dawson continues to make his case for a roster spot as he had three quarterback hits.
How good is the defensive line? Hard to say since they haven't faced any great offensive lines. One thing that they've proven is that they're very good at exploiting weaknesses. Wimbley dominated an offensive tackle who was on the practice squad in 2011.
The Titans will likely rely on Darius Reynaud as their return specialist because Marc Mariani suffered a broken tibia while he was returning a punt in the first quarter. Reynaud has had some good returns. However, he has been shaky with fielding them. Fumbles are a concern with him. D.J. Woods probably killed any chance he had of making this team when he fumbled a kickoff return in the fourth quarter.
The Titans continue to struggle with third-down conversions. They were 3-for-13 in this contest. Much of this deals with receivers dropping passes and Locker being inaccurate. They must improve in this area. A two-down offense is too dependent on the big play.
The Titans will finish their preseason schedule when they host the New Orleans Saints on August 30. Keep an eye on the wide receivers. Since most of the starters will likely have limited playing time, somebody has an opportunity to secure a position on the depth chart at wide receiver.
Joshua Huffman graduated from Middle Tennessee State University as a marketing major in 2009. He's been a Middle Tennessee resident from 1986-88 and 2001-present. He lived in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Wisconsin from 1988-01 and for approximately eight months in 2009-10 as he completed a 20-game volunteer position with the USHL's Green Bay Gamblers. His favorite sports organizations include the Green Bay Packers, Chicago Cubs, Nashville Predators and Tennessee Titans. He can be found on Twitter HERE.
More from Yahoo! Contributor Network