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Front Page - Friday, September 11, 2020

Castoff Casey would love to spoil Titans opener




Former Tennessee Titans defensive end Jurrell Caseywill be in a new uniform for Monday night’s season opener, facing his old teammates in Denver. - Photo by Ed Zurga | AP

The Titans open the season on a Monday night in Denver to an empty Mile High Stadium, which will take away some of the Broncos’ home-field advantage. Here are the things to watch for in the season opener.

First down

Jurrell Casey will be on a mission: The Titans gave Casey away for a seventh-round pick to clear cap space in the offseason. The Titans must be aware of where a seriously motivated friend turned foe will be Monday night. The five-time Pro Bowler will be motivated perhaps more than he ever has been for a regular season game.

Second down

Clown around: How much can the Titans get newly acquired Jadeveon Clowney involved in their defensive scheme with only a few days to get him acclimated?

The good news is he played for Mike Vrabel before, so the system won’t be foreign to him.

The bad news is Clowney will probably only be available for certain packages and a limited number of snaps early on.

The same goes for Vic Beasley, who spent all of camp on the non-football injury list. Better things should be down the road for both, but for now, the Titans will have to take what they can get.

Third down

Take advantage: The Titans now have enough weapons that the Broncos will have to determine who draws most of their defensive attention.

Do they focus on Derrick Henry and crowd eight into the box on running downs? If so, that could leave one-on-one matchups in the secondary for the Titans receivers. A.J. Brown will surely garner attention, meaning that Corey Davis, Jonnu Smith and Adam Humphries should be potential outlets for Ryan Tannehill.

Fourth down

Breathe: OK, the Broncos enthusiastic crowd will not be a factor in this game, but the thin air of Denver will still come into play. With no preseason games and an offseason of Zoom meetings and home workouts passing for conditioning drills, beginning the season at 5,280 feet might be a tall order.