ATLANTA -- The Titans were not crisp enough for coach Ken Whisenhunt early during their 24-17 win in Atlanta, and Whisenhunt let them know about it at halftime.
Some starters on defense played through the third quarter as punishment.
"I was pissed,” Whisenhunt said. "I was upset. I was asked this question earlier, about how long they were going to play, and I said some of it was performance-based. We started off the game too tentative. To give up slants and third downs and let them run all the way down the field on us. We don't do that in practice. So I was upset about that. But they responded. ... I think they got the message now.”
Bernard Pollard missed a chance to stop Devin Hester short of the goal line on a 31-yard catch-and-run TD and followed Coty Sensabaugh's missed tackle with one of his own on Julio Jones's 52-yard scoring play.
Pollard said Whisenhunt was understandably upset and that those two slants killed the Titans -- accounting for 14 of 17 points and 83 of Matt Ryan's 224 passing yards.
Here are some other thoughts on the Titans' second preseason game:
Jake Locker was quite good, completing 12 of 17 passes for 188 yards and a 63-yard touchdown to Nate Washington. He had a 126.6 passer rating. He missed one deep shot where Washington was open in the end zone. Pressure was on him, but he could have thrown earlier. He had a great 12 yard scamper on a second-and-17 and a 7-yard dart to Leon Washington in one sequence that really stood out to me as illustrative of how he can hurt defenses.
Whisenhunt said the offense didn't do enough to help Locker. "We didn't run the ball effectively enough, I think we made too many mistakes, we had a tremendous amount of plays out there that we left on the field because we didn't run the right routes, we didn't get lined up correctly," he said. "I don't understand that. That's another thing I was irritated about.”
The Titans starting defense has given up a touchdown on the opening series of all three preseason games. "I don't care about that,” Whisenhunt said. "What I care about is us getting better.”
Running back Shonn Greene tried to help save a play blown up by blitzing Falcons linebacker Paul Worrilow. That play, however, wasn't Greene's responsibility. Worrilow looped around and between center Brian Schwenke and left guard Andy Levitre and sacked Locker. Schwenke said they could have reacted faster, but were dealing with more dangerous players first and that it was a well-designed and executed blitz. Later, Greene missed a block in pass protection that got Locker sacked by cornerback Robert Alford.
Maikon Bonani had a solid kicking night, with 44- and 51-yard field goals, a PAT, a touchback out of the end zone and two other deep kickoffs. Travis Coons didn't kick off as well and hit a 39-yarder. He was well short on a 63-yarder just before the half that was as much to test the field goal unit on a return situation as anything.