Tennessee Titans vs. Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Titans' Biggest Winners and Losers

Benjamin MottCorrespondent IIIAugust 17, 2012

August 17, 2012; Tampa, FL, USA; Tennessee Titans running back Darius Reynaud (39) returns a punt against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium.  Mandatory Credit: Jeff Griffith-US PRESSWIRE
Jeff Griffith-US PRESSWIRE

Under the Friday night lights, the Tennessee Titans battled the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in Raymond James Stadium in Tampa.

The final score was 30-7 in favor of the Titans, but it was far from a perfectly played game, especially early on. On the flip side, in the second preseason game of the season, there were aspects of the game in which the Titans looked a lot better than they did against Seattle. Then again, the Buccaneers aren't that great of a team, to say the least.

Here are the biggest winners and losers for the Titans on Friday night.



QB Matt Hasselbeck

Hasselbeck went 4-of-5 passing for 29 yards, which was pretty solid. How he really won was in the fact that Jake Locker had a very poor performance, possibly earning Hasselbeck the starting job at quarterback. 

HB Chris Johnson

Tampa Bay doesn't have a top-five-caliber defense, but regardless, Johnson needed a big game in order to get his confidence back from last season. It didn't happen against Seattle.

However, on Friday night, Johnson ran for 46 yards on 10 carries for two touchdowns. He also showed the same burst that he was once renowned for a few years ago. Is he back in CJ2K form? It's too early to tell, but he definitely had a solid performance on Friday. 

HB Darius Reynaud

Reynaud may have solidified his spot on the team on Friday. Playing in both the second and third quarters on offense, and most of the game as a return man, Reynaud busted off a huge punt return that nearly went for a touchdown. He also ran for 76 yards on eight carries, including a 39-yard scamper in the third quarter.

He is just too explosive not to make the team at least as a special-teamer.

The Titans Defense

They forced two turnovers in the game, had four sacks and held the Buccaneers to just six first downs and 118 yards of total offense. This defense looked a whole lot better than they did a week ago against the Seahawks.



QB Jake Locker

Almost just as easily as he took the lead in the Titans' quarterback battle, Locker let Hasselbeck right back into the race with his abysmal passing performance. Going 4-of-11 with just 21 yards and an interception with a passer rating of 7.0 wasn't at all what the team had in mind. That interception was inexcusable.

He will be lucky if head coach Mike Munchak names him the starter after Friday night. 

WR Marc Mariani

Mariani didn't do too poorly, but he wasn't too impressive either. With Reynaud showing off in the preseason, Mariani is in grave danger of losing his job as the return man, especially after a pedestrian season last year.

With the Titans already stacked at receiver, Mariani is in danger of being cut.


LB Will Witherspoon

Witherspoon didn't have a bad game, but Zach Brown, who is right behind him on the depth chart, had a solid performance, netting six tackles. Brown is proving himself more and more throughout training camp and the preseason, despite reports of him being "soft."

After a quiet end of the season last year, Witherspoon might just be in danger of losing his starting job this season.