Which Titans have stood out through three pre-season games and camp, on the offensive side of the ball?
The most obvious performer so far has been Jake Locker. The fourth year passer entered this past training camp with a future clouded in doubts. So far, at least, he's done a lot to dispel the idea that he's incapable of picking up yet another offensive scheme. Through three games Locker sits at 4th in AFC passer rating metrics, and has led the Titans to the 4th overall offense in the NFL, both despite a waterlogged opener against the Packers that stymied a lot of offensive production.
Locker has been judicious with the ball; standing tall in the pocket and delivering accurate strikes to all regions of the field. The emergence of Justin Hunter to go along with proven play-makers like Kendall Wright have helped Locker along the way tremendously, but he's also made much use of some lesser touted players like Tight End, Taylor Thompson, and his running backs; Shonn Greene, and Dexter McCluster.
Aside from being mostly accurate, Locker is also still flashing the athletic talent that can give the offense a new dimension, this coming on the back of his injury-riddled 2013 campaign. So far, he's been pre-season standout number one.
Hunter had a tremendously impressive camp, and his hard work seems to be paying off. Hunter has been an active contributor so far in preseason action, flashing improved consistency from his performances last season, where he was slowly worked into the rotation. Hunter still has a lot to learn, but he looks far more polished at this juncture, and appears poised to break out in a big way. He's attracted the attention of many national analysts who share that opinion.
With Kendall Wright as his opposite number, Hunter should be able to thrive in this new Titans offense, and bring his vertical skill set to the regular season.
Despite undergoing a recent appendectomy and missing some camp time, Levitre has been impressive during pre-season action, continuing his improvement from last season where he came around late, flashing the technical skills and power that the Titans splashed the cash for last season. The offensive line is still a work in progress, as would any group be with only a single starting member (Michael Roos) having been a Titan for more than one year. Aside from this work in chemistry, Levitre has been a leader of the group so far, mostly by example. I look for him to have a big year on the inside of this Tennessee line.
Thompson was being written off by many coming into this season, and he still has plenty of doubters. Who can fault them? He was a converted DE coming out of college and instructed to play Tight End at the highest level. Having not played the position since high school, the odds were firmly stacked against him. Here we are a couple seasons later and Thompson is finally flashing that potential that has made him a talking point for a few pre-seasons now. An excellent in-line blocker, Thompson has been using his excellent frame to best effect, nabbing a good number of passes, many of them against starting defenses too. While he's firmly entrenched at the number three spot behind Delanie Walker and Craig Stevens, I expect Thompson to be utilized more often this season as a passing target, and think he deserves credit for a very good camp and pre-season.