MIAMI (AP) — It’s easy to wonder which quarterback will make the biggest impact on Sunday’s game between the Titans and Dolphins.
Yes Sam Gagner Jersey , Falk, a fourth-string rookie who won’t even play, has altered preparations by both teams. Miami signed him last week after he was released by Tennessee on cutdown day, and the Dolphins are sure to pick his brain about the Titans’ scheme under rookie coach Mike Vrabel.
All of which adds lends another layer of unpredictability to the season opener.
Here are things to know about two teams who didn’t excite preseason prognosticators:
Ryan Tannehill returns after missing the Dolphins’ past 20 games, and says he’ll be ready rather than rusty. He’s coming off reconstructive knee surgery that wiped out his entire 2017 season, and says he never doubted he would be ready for the 2018 opener.
“I always felt confident that this would be where we ended up,” he said. “It’s finally here and I’m ready to go.”
While Tannehill has never played in the postseason, counterpart Marcus Mariota is trying to become the first quarterback to lead the Titans to the playoffs in back-to-back years since Steve McNair in 2002-03.
That will require proving wrong the oddsmakers who predict Tennessee will win eight games. Miami, led by third-year coach Adam Gase, is widely projected to repeat last year’s 6-10 record.
THE OTHER QB
While Falk will be able to provide the Dolphins some insight into Sunday’s matchup, Vrabel says it could have been worse.
The Titans’ new coach wanted to install the entire offense during training camp, but offensive coordinator Matt LaFleur — mindful the team would have to waive some players — talked him out of it.
“He wanted to hold some stuff,” Vrabel said. “I said, ‘OK, I’ll defer to you on this one.’ As it turns out Anton Stralman Jersey , he was kind of right. There’ll be some things that I’m sure Luke can give them. But then again, I am glad that Matt was adamant about holding some stuff until cutdown day. I think he had been burned by some of that stuff in the past.”
The Dolphins kept some of their playbook under wraps during the preseason, too. They’re expected to have packages for veteran newcomer Albert Wilson and rookie tight end Mike Gesicki that they didn’t show in exhibition games.
“There were a few plays going into Week 3 that Gase wanted to run,” Tannehill said with a smile. “I said, ‘Hey, those are great plays. Let’s save those.’ We have some things that we haven’t shown that we’re excited about.”
NFL active rushing leader Frank Gore will make his Dolphins debut, and at 35 he’s thrilled to return to South Florida, where he was born and raised and starred for the Miami Hurricanes.
Gore will play in his 113th consecutive game, and he needs 76 yards to become fourth-leading rusher in league history.
HEY, I KNOW YOU
Miami and Tennessee added former Patriots teammates during the offseason. Receiver Danny Amendola joined the Dolphins, while the Titans acquired cornerback Malcolm Butler. The Titans’ other starting cornerback, Logan Ryan, is another Amendola friend and former Patriots teammate.
Tennessee’s secondary also includes All-Pro safety Kevin Byard and cornerback Adoree Jackson, who started every game as a rookie last year.
“We’re super excited to see what we’ve got,” Ryan said. “It’s the most excited I’ve been to start a season off.”
STREAKING IN TENNESSEE
The Titans have won five consecutive road openers Brandon Scherff Jersey , the NFL’s longest such streak. Three of those came in season openers. The streak includes three coaches, and three of the victories came by 16 points or more, including last year’s 37-16 victory at Jacksonville in Week 2.
“The mindset is to win,” linebacker Brian Orakpo said. “I mean, it’s point blank, period, win. Win ballgames. Take it week by week and win, no matter if it’s 50-49 or 3-0.”
GLENDALE, Ariz. (AP) — The first-team offensive line looked powerful in its brief appearance in the Arizona Cardinals preseason opener. The second unit, not so much.
On Monday, Steve Wilks parsed the good from the not-so-good in the wake of Saturday night’s 24-17 victory over the Los Angeles Chargers in his first game as Cardinals head coach.
“I liked the way we ran the football early on with the first group, setting the tone up front as we talked about,” he said. ” … We need to improve with the second offensive line. We talked about that and giving the quarterback, whomever may be back there, the opportunity to be able to step up and go through his progression.”
There was one serious injury for Arizona. Backup linebacker Jeremy Cash went down with a season-ending torn ACL Womens Robin Lehner Jersey , not long after he returned a fumble 12 yards for a touchdown. The Cardinals waived/injured Cash on Monday and signed linebacker Gerald Hodges to a one-year contract.
Hodges is a five-year NFL veteran who played with New Orleans last season, San Francisco in 2015 and 2016 and Minnesota from 2013-2015. He was a fourth-round draft pick of the Vikings out of Penn State.
The Cardinals worked out inside air conditioned University of Phoenix Stadium on Monday and have an outdoor practice Tuesday before wrapping up training camp with another indoor session Wednesday.
Arizona plays at New Orleans on Friday night and next week will move workouts to its training facility some 40 miles to the east in Tempe.
Quarterback Sam Bradford played in only the opening series, completing his only pass for 6 yards.
David Johnson, back after missing all but the season opener a year ago with a fractured wrist, looked like his old self in his short time on the field, gaining 14 yards in each of the offense’s first two plays before calling it a night.
The front five — rookie center Mason Cole, guard Mike Iupati and tackle D.J. Humphries on the left side and guard Justin Pugh and Andre Smith on the right — looked particularly strong on those plays.
“It was a great job with the offensive line coming off the ball, getting to the second level,” Wilks said, “and a tremendous job on the outside with Larry (Fitzgerald) coming in and blocking the support player, the safety. So all 11 guys working together. Again, it’s encouraging.”
But the second unit struggled up front, leaving rookie Josh Rosen scrambling to get plays off under duress.
Backup center Daniel Munyer had a particularly tough time, repeatedly rolling the ball to Rosen in shotgun formation.
“I had about five or six bad ones, which was frustrating because I don’t do that Mark Giordano Jersey ,” Munyer said. “I ended up getting out of it but I did feel bad because it was when Josh was at quarterback. I told him afterward, ‘Man, I’m sorry.’ I didn’t even know I was doing that until it was too late and that definitely killed some momentum in terms of timings with the throws and everything like that.”
Rosen, the 10th overall pick in the draft, completed 6 of 13 passes for 41 yards and was responsible for a delay-of-game penalty. But he had passes dropped and never had much time to throw.
Rosen will get some time with the first team against the Saints, Wilks said.
“We’re going to give him the opportunity to get in there with the ones and get into a rhythm and really get the timing down with those guys,” the coach said.
The Chargers outgained the Cardinals 387 yards to 174, running 77 plays to Arizona’s 49.
The Cardinals were 0-for-11 on third-down conversions compared with Los Angeles’ 6-for-16. The Chargers, though, committed four turnovers to Arizona’s one.
“Third down was not good on either side (offense or defense),” Wilks said. “That’s where we’ve got to improve. That’s going to help time of possession. That’s going to help giving us opportunities to have more yardage and get the ball in the end zone.”
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