Tennessee Titans: 5 Things to Watch for on Thursday Against the Cardinals

Benjamin MottCorrespondent IIIAugust 22, 2012

NASHVILLE, TN - AUGUST 23:  Nate Washington #85 of the Tennessee Titans breaks away from the Arizona Cardinals defense after making a first down catch during a preseason game at LP Field on August 23, 2010 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Grant Halverson/Getty Images)
Grant Halverson/Getty Images

On Thursday night, the Tennessee Titans will play against the Arizona Cardinals at home in the first of two preseason home games.

The game will be nationally televised on ESPN, which is huge for both teams. In the final game before the first preseason cuts, their talents will be viewed worldwide.

Here are five things to look out for in the third preseason game for the Titans.


Can Jake Locker Handle the National Spotlight?

This will be the first time that Locker plays a nationally televised game in the NFL. Many will be watching him, which adds a whole new type of pressure to the second-year gunslinger.

He played very poorly against Tampa Bay after having a solid game against Seattle. Regardless of what he does in the next two games, Locker will be the starting quarterback for the first game of the regular season against the New England Patriots; but how he does against the Cardinals in front of a national crowd will be the first test in finding out if he is truly ready to be a starting quarterback in the NFL.


Darius Reynaud Has His Chance To Lock Up a Roster Spot

Darius Reynaud probably has had the most solid preseason performance on the team. He followed up his big game against Seattle with a more-than-respectable performance against Tampa Bay.

If he has another big game on Thursday, not only will Reynaud virtually lock up a roster spot, but he could earn some regular-season touches as well.


The Defense Looks for a Repeat Performance of Last Week

After the defense was torched by the Seahawks just two weeks ago, they held the Buccaneers to just 81 total yards and six first downs. That includes giving up minus-one net passing yards due to four sacks for 39 total yards. They went 7-of-17 passing as a team and just could not move the ball.

Tennessee plays an almost equally abysmal offense in Arizona, with their quarterback situation still in flux and their only real offensive weapon being Larry Fitzgerald. Look for them to try to repeat what they did last week.


Zach Brown Moves Closer To Starting As the Will Linebacker

Brown had six tackles last week against Tampa Bay, and if he continues to be the ball hawk that he's been this preseason, he'll wrestle away the starting will linebacker job from Will Witherspoon.

Brown is quickly starting to prove the draft scouts who labeled him as "soft" wrong. He was able to get some hits on the Buccaneers' big back LeGarrette Blount. Look for him to continue to impress against the smaller Cardinals running backs in Chris "Beanie" Wells (Wells is taller, but Blount weighs more) and Ryan Williams.


Last Chance for The Bubble Players To Impress Before Monday's Cuts

The deadline to cut down all NFL rosters to 75 players is August 27th, next Monday. So this is the last chance for bubble players like Reynaud, Robert Johnson and Colin Mooney, just to name a few, to impress the team before the cut-down date.

Even the hardest-working players will be cut, but surely just about everyone on the bubble will be playing their hearts out in order to stay on the team.