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VOL. 43 | NO. 34 | Friday, August 23, 2019

Steelers visit as Titans gear up for real season

By Terry McCormick

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NFL preseason

Steelers vs. Titans

Nissan Stadium, Nashville

Sunday, Aug. 25, 7 p.m.

TV: NBC (national), Ch. 4 WSMV (local)

This Sunday night – yes it is still preseason – Nashville will be in the spotlight as Sunday Night Football comes to town when the Titans host the Pittsburgh Steelers.

At least in preseason game No. 3, there is the joy of knowing that this is the traditional dress rehearsal week, and that the first-string offense and defense will both be on the field at least through halftime, if not into the third quarter before the wholesale substitutions begin.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel was coy about exactly how much playing time his starters would get, but most of the first team should get plenty more reps than in the first two preseason games.

“We can play them as long as we need to or as long as we feel is best for them and is best for the team. Playing time will get determined later on in the week as we move forward and see who’s available, and also how much work they got in practice,” Vrabel says.

Though the Sunday night primetime appearance won’t be exactly like a real game, it will have more of a real game atmosphere not only because the starters will play longer, but there will be some semblance of game-planning as well, and some preparation work against the Steelers in practice.

“That’s important for the coaches to make sure that they’re in there meeting, taking a look at Pittsburgh and saying, ‘Hey, how would we attack them in the regular season?’” Vrabel adds.

“Now the whole practice won’t be structured that way, but there’ll be some carded stuff that we’ll have to do so that the coaches now have conversations on now, ‘OK, here’s some new plays that we’d run against Pittsburgh if it was a regular season game. This is what they do on defense, this is how we would try to attack them on special teams.’

“Then, likewise with our defense, making sure that we’re planning for them and that the coaches are game planning towards them so that when we do get to the regular season, we’re kind of ready to go in that regard.”

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