New QB and new name as Titans host old foes

The Tennessee Titans host the St. Louis Rams this weekend in their preseason home opener. Kickoff at Nissan Stadium is scheduled for 7 p.m. CDT on Sunday, Aug. 23. The matchup will be televised nationally on FOX, including WZTV FOX 17 in Nashville.

The Titans opened the preseason last week with a 31-24 loss on the road against the Atlanta Falcons. Despite falling behind 17-0 in the first quarter, the Titans fought back to force a 24-24 tie in the second half, only to watch Falcons running back Michael Ford score the game-winning touchdown on a one-yard run in the fourth quarter. Rookie starting quarterback Marcus Mariota made his highly anticipated preseason debut against the Falcons. The second overall draft pick was victimized by two turnovers to begin the game—one drive ended with an interception and another with a fumble return for a touchdown. However, Mariota and the starting offensive cast rebounded to produce a 10-play, 80-yard touchdown drive on their third and final series of the evening.

Mariota was on the field for 19 plays, completing seven of his eight pass attempts for 94 yards (76.0 passer rating). On his third and final drive, he was a perfect 5-for-5 for 78 yards, including a 26-yard toss to running back Antonio Andrews to set up a touchdown on the next play. With Mariota out of the game, Zach Mettenberger (8-of-11 for 129 yards) entered and engineered a pair of touchdown marches, including one that was capped by a 30-yard touchdown strike to wide receiver Rico Richardson.

In addition to Mariota, seven newcomers started, including six free agent signees: tight end Anthony Fasano, wide receiver Hakeem Nicks, right tackle Byron Bell, outside linebacker Brian Orakpo, cornerback Perrish Cox and safety Da’Norris Searcy. All nine members of the 2015 draft class saw action in Atlanta. Second-round wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham provided a 32-yard reception, and fifth-round running back David Cobb led the team with 53 rushing yards on 11 carries (4.8 avg.).

The Rams are led by head coach Jeff Fisher, in his fourth season in St. Louis after spending 16 full seasons as head coach of the Titans, who marks his first return to Nissan Stadium since the final game of the 2010 season. In Tennessee, Fisher guided the Titans to six playoff appearances (1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2007, 2008), three division titles (2000, 2002, 2008), two AFC Championship games (1999, 2002) and one Super Bowl appearance (XXXIV).

Several other members of the Rams organization previously spent time with the Titans: Rams defensive coordinator Gregg Williams, assistant head coach Dave McGinnis, senior defensive assistant Chuck Cecil, wide receiver Kenny Britt and tight end Jared Cook. The Rams new starting quarterback Nick Foles, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Philadelphia Eagles, played two series and was 3-of-5 for 69 yards passing in a loss to the Raiders.