Aug 11, 2023 - Sports

First preseason game shines spotlight on Titans QBs

Malik Willis #7 of the Tennessee Titans warms up before a game

Malik Willis last December. Photo: Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

The Titans' first preseason game, against the Chicago Bears on Saturday, will be all about the quarterbacks.

Why it matters: Preseason games don't count for anything, but they're a good opportunity to watch young players who normally don't see the field.

  • Titans fans especially want to know if second-year quarterback Malik Willis improved from his inconsistent first season. It will also be the first chance to see rookie second-round draft choice Will Levis.
  • Willis and Levis are battling for the backup quarterback job behind starter Ryan Tannehill.

Yes, but: In order for the young QBs to do their thing, the offensive line has to hold up. After a few weeks of training camp, questions have emerged about the new-look line, according to The Athletic.

Of note: Titans assistant head coach and defensive line coach Terrell Williams will fill the role of head coach for the game against the Bears.

  • The NFL has struggled to increase opportunities for minority assistant coaches. By serving as head coach for a game, Williams will earn valuable in-game management experience.
  • "I just think that him dealing with and talking with the [athletic] trainer ... just handling things with the roster and discussing those things with the assistant coaches and how we want to play the game — let him make those decisions in the game," Titans coach Mike Vrabel said at a press conference this week. "I do think it will be a great opportunity, well deserved. Just something that I wanted to do."

Details: The Titans and Bears kick off at noon. The Bears, who had the worst record in the NFL last season, are expected to play quarterback Justin Fields and some of their other starters. It's unclear how much the starters will play for the Titans, who went 7-10 last season.


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