Tennessee Titans: Passing Game Needs to Be the Focus in Preseason Opener

Chad MintonCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2012

JACKSONVILLE, FL - SEPTEMBER 11:  Jake Locker #10 of the Tennessee Titans against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their season opener at EverBank Field on September 11, 2011 in Jacksonville, Florida.  (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

A lot needs to be accomplished by the Tennessee Titans as they head into their preseason opener with the Seattle Seahawks on Saturday.

Since it's unclear how much time Kenny Britt will miss due to his latest altercation with police, the Titans really have to get a good feel for the passing game.

One player in particular who needs to show positive signs during the preseason is Marc Mariani.

Mariani was virtually a no show as a wide receiver last season, and that certainly cannot be the case this season if the Titans are going to have a solid passing attack.

We already know Mariani's high value as a return specialist, but needs to become more reliable as a receiver.

That might mean improving on his route running, or might mean catching passes in shorter routes and getting open space to use his strengths as a return guy.

Of course rookie Kendall Wright also has to get plenty of work in the preseason, but he has shown positive signs during mini camp and training camp.

Both Mariani and Wright need plenty of targets starting Saturday against the Seahawks.


Then you also have Lavelle Hawkins and Damian Williams jockeying for position on the depth chart. 

Hawkins and Williams saw their first significant action as NFL receivers last season and Williams really seemed to take a step in the right direction as a consistent contributor.

The tight end position also needs plenty of reps, starting with Jared Cook.

Cook could be poised for a breakout year, but he needs to be more consistent.

Last season Cook seemed to either be unstoppable, or virtually invisible on the field.

Jake Locker, who is said to be currently winning the starting quarterback battle over incumbent Matt Hasselbeck, needs plenty of reps throughout the preseason as well.

If a strong formula can be created between Locker and the young receivers for the Titans then Locker should have a high probability of getting the nod over Hasselbeck in the regular season opener.

Don't expect Hasselbeck to get a ton of work against the Seahawks. Quite frankly the Titans know what they have with Hasselbeck.

Hasselbeck brings you that veteran presence, but he also leaves you with a lot be desired.

Let's face it. Hasselbeck's best days are long gone. He's better served as a backup and mentor to Locker from here on out.

That doesn't mean the Titans can't win with Hasselbeck, because they proved last season that they can. As for the future of this franchise, the Titans need Locker to take over and get out of the way whatever growing pains are to come.

This preseason should mainly be focused on an offense that will need to put up plenty of points thanks to the opening portion of the schedule, and Saturday against the Seahawks should give us an opportunity to see where this offense is heading.