We’ve made it everyone…the preseason is officially over. There has been a mountain of speculation about seemingly every player in the league (including about how Jordan Howard has once again improved his pass-catching), one shocking retirement (Andrew Luck of course), and now it’s time to move into the first real game. Before we do, though, here is what we saw in week 4 of the preseason–along with some thoughts about the coming season.
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Tennessee Titans vs Chicago Bears
- Logan Woodside: 11/19 140 yards, 1 TD, 1 sack | 2 carries, 17 yards
We didn’t see Marcus Mariota or Ryan Tannehill tonight, and the Bears defense did a good job of stymieing the Titans offense early on. Still, Logan Woodside eventually heated up and looked decent in leading the Titans offense. Looking forward to the season, Mariota will be the starter, though something is certainly on everyone’s mind: how long would it be before Ryan Tannehill became the starter? I loved Mariota coming into the league, but he has failed to impress. He’s only completed one full season in his four years. He’s also only thrown 20 touchdowns in a season once. If the Titans start slow (think 1-3) expect them to see what they have in Ryan Tannehill. If Mariota gets hurt again, Tannehill might not give the job back.
- Dalyn Dawkins: 9 carries, 58 yards | 2 receptions, 20 yards, 1 TD
- Jeremy McNichols: 3 carries, 8 yards | 1 reception, 0 yards
Dalyn Dawkins was the lead dog tonight and he looked pretty good. He’s still only a 4th option on the team at best, but it’s still playing time on an NFL field. Derrick Henry is the lead dog in this backfield and should be the early down workhorse. He is impressive as a runner, but he relies on positive game script; this made him extremely inconsistent last year. Dion Lewis is the third-down back and he is basically free in drafts. I am passing on Henry and investing in Lewis this year.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
- Kalif Raymond: 1 reception, 45 yards
- Cody Hollister: 4 receptions, 50 yards
- Anthony Ratliff-Williams: 1 reception, 23 yards
My play of the night for the Titans came when Kalif Raymond broke free from the defense and caught a long 45-yard pass. He made a good adjustment to make the catch, and the result was a huge gain. Looking towards the regular season, expect Corey Davis to continue as the WR1. I think it’s too early to judge him a flop, and I blame his inconsistent play more on Mariota. I like him at his current ADP, but I temper expectations until he has a more reliable QB. New in the fold is rookie A.J. Brown, but he has been dealing with a hamstring injury throughout the preseason. He was expected to challenge Davis for the top spot, but that looks to be on hold for now as he recovers. I have tempered expectations for this offense overall, and the Titans will best find success if their defense can hold opposing teams. If it can’t, things could get ugly.
- Tyler Bray: 22/31, 252 yards, 1 TD, 2 sacks
Tyler Bray looked excellent early, finishing the first half with 200 yards and a touchdown. He did a good job hitting his receivers, and he looked poised in the pocket. Mitch Trubisky is the obvious starter for Chicago in the regular season, and the big question is how much can he improve in year three. My take is that Trubisky’s first year was a throwaway. John Fox ran a laughably bad offense, and Trubisky had no chance to develop. Matt Nagy came in, overhauled everything, and Mitch suddenly started flashing his potential. So how about year three? I expect another step forward and the start of something really good. It’s safe to say Mitch will never be Patrick Mahomes, be he looks like a QB Chicago can win because of–not in spite of.
- Ryan Nall: 10 carries, 31 yards | 1 reception, 2 yards
- Josh Caldwell: 16 carries, 68 yards | 4 receptions, 35 yards
Josh Caldwell was the lead runner in preseason game four, and he had some nice carries. Looking forward to the regular season, David Montgomery is receiving a mountain of hype as the lead back. He’s now going in the third round and is already being treated like a high-end RB2. Although I love what I’ve seen from Montgomery as a player and a person, his ADP seems crazy high. I’d probably avoid him. Tarik Cohen is going much later and should be expected to have a similar role to last year. He is an explosive mismatch and we know he can take any play to the house. I like his current ADP and I’m not worried about a rumored ‘reduced workload’.
Wide Receivers/ Tight Ends
- Thomas Ives: 5 receptions, 99 yards
- Jesper Horstead: 5 receptions, 83 yards, 1 TD
- Taquan Mizzel: 4 receptions, 34 yards
I can only hope this is what we see on a regular basis from Allen Robinson and Anthony Miller. Thomas Ives and Jesper Horstead were all over the field making plays, and they were a great end to the preseason. Looking forward, I have high hopes for Allen Robinson in his role as lead dog for the Bears. He appears healthy, and I see his 2015 season with the Jaguars (1400 yards, 14 TDs) as the ceiling. I think Robinson is a bargain at his current ADP. Anthony Miller has been banged up, but he flashed his talent last year en route to 7 touchdowns. I love how he plays, and I see him eventually being a big contributor. Still, expect a slow start until he’s fully healthy. Once he is, the sky’s the limit.