JOE BIDDLE: Titans sluggish in opener

(Photo: WKRN)

NFL training camp is all about getting ready for teams to play a 16-game regular season schedule.

From what Titans fans saw Saturday night in the preseason opener the two-tone blue still has a long way to go. Coach Mike Mularkey could not have liked what he saw.

The first half against the New York Jets was not pretty. Matter of fact, other than none of the Titans getting injured, it was U-G-L-Y, they didn’t have no alibi.

Titans quarterback Marcus Mariota was trying to shake off the rust, but really wasn’t a factor as he only played the first two series.

The projected starting offensive line stayed in the first half, but the offense never mounted a threat to the Jets.

It was 7-0 Jets, as they struck early in the game and held on to blank the Titans. It was 7-3 at intermission, thanks to a Ryan Succop field goal.

In the first half the Jets ran up 142 yards while the Titans passing game was held to 54 yards. There was nothing for either team to brag about.

After giving up the first quarter touchdown, the Titans defense was hard to penetrate. Not that the Jets are projected to set records this season.

Perhaps the Titan players were buying in to all the preseason chatter about winning the AFC South, winning the AFC title and punching their ticket to the Super Bowl.

They better want to hold off if they put stock in the first preseason game.

I have always said preseason games do not translate into what teams do after the four fake news games.

I still stick to my mantra. Yes, it was nice for third string quarterback Alex Tanney to hit former Western Kentucky wide receiver Taywan Taylor early in the third quarter for what was thought to be a touchdown.

But, no, the officials reviewed it and proclaimed Taylor was down by contact. Bummer. By the way, the game officials were in midseason form. They must have mistaken the date for Flag Day.

The Titans will want to go back to work. They should be embarrassed by the 7-3 loss. This one can’t help but get their attention. This team wants it. They have character that will get them through the tough times.

You have to consider Mariota was only in two series, hitting 2 for 3 in the air for 15 harmless yards. Starting running back DeMarco Murray was held out with injury. Backup Derrick Henry showed some bursts; he also showed he is not Murray.

The Panthers come to Music City for a Saturday afternoon preseason game 2 next Saturday.

The offense is always the last unit to catch fire.

Forget this game. Turn the page.

Joe Biddle is a sports columnist. He is also a member of the Tennessee Sports Hall of Fame. Contact him at