Titans confident they can clean up mistakes before opener
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) The clock is ticking for the Tennessee Titans, who have had two ugly preseason losses and need to clean up what coach Mike Mularkey says are too many mistakes.
The Titans insist they're not worried, even with the season opener against Oakland looming on Sept. 10.
''That is what the preseason is for, to get all the wrinkles out,'' wide receiver Rishard Matthews said after a 19-7 loss to Chicago . ''The good thing is that it is happening now and hopefully won't happen in the season. Nobody is perfect, go out there and do what you do and (Monday) we will correct our mistakes and move forward. I look forward to KC on Thursday.''
Tight end Delanie Walker noted the Titans still have two weeks left.
''We got the Chiefs, another game that we can clean it up,'' Walker said. ''Hopefully we can get everything situated, set for the opener.''
And Mularkey agrees after watching tape of a loss that dropped Tennessee to 1-2. The Titans' first-team offense didn't score until the first play of the fourth quarter and gave up four sacks. Kicker Ryan Succop missed a 40-yard field goal wide left, and punter Brett Kern had a punt blocked for a safety with both working with a backup long snapper.
The Titans were flagged eight times for 69 yards, and left guard Quinton Spain was ejected for throwing a punch.
''We didn't play well enough, and they did,'' Mularkey said of the Bears. ''Again, in this league you can't afford to do what we did against a good team that's playing well.''
The defense wasn't much better, failing to stop Chicago from driving 96 yards on the Bears' opening possession for a touchdown. Pro Bowl linebacker Brian Orakpo said the Titans have to minimize their mistakes and start games with their normal intensity.
Orakpo does want to see more consistency from a young team that opened the preseason with a 7-3 loss to the Jets followed by a 34-27 win over Carolina .
''I can't explain it,'' Orakpo said. ''It's just definitely disappointing. We preach on minimizing those mistakes because it hurts our drives, it hurts offense and defense and you know, that resulted in a loss (Sunday). The great thing about preseason is you can watch the film, dissect it and hopefully minimize those, once we open the regular season against Oakland.''
Quarterback Marcus Mariota criticized his own play as not being at the level he expects of himself. After completing 6 of 8 passes against Carolina, Mariota said he had trouble finding a rhythm against Chicago. He was 7 of 13 for 106 yards in the first half where the Titans punted twice, had another punt blocked for the safety and the missed field goal.
''I was trying to move around in the pocket, move too much, it leads to inaccuracy,'' Mariota said. ''Again, those are things I've got to get better at, and I will.''
Mularkey said the mistakes are clear enough that he shouldn't have to say much. The coach said the Titans need to find a way to consistently well game to game - like good teams do.
Notes: Mularkey said the Titans would test WRs Eric Decker (ankle) and rookie Corey Davis (hamstring) at a walk-through later Monday. How the receivers respond will determine if they do anything Tuesday. Mularkey said CB Jeremy Boykins (groin), safeties Brynden Trawick (ankle sprain) and Curtis Riley (hamstring) and LB Aaron Wallace (back) will not play Thursday night.
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