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8 things I'm watching as Tennessee Titans face Baltimore Ravens in preseason opener

The Tennessean (Nashville) logo The Tennessean (Nashville) 8/10/2022 Ben Arthur, Nashville Tennessean

When the Tennessee Titans kick off preseason play Thursday night against the Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium (6:30 p.m./WKRN), their young talent and key position battles will take center stage.

Here are eight things to watch:

Caleb Farley vs. Roger McCreary

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Caleb Farley, a first-round draft pick in 2021, entered training camp as the frontrunner to be the starting cornerback opposite Kristian Fulton, but second-round rookie Roger McCreary has given him a run for his money, shining in practices. If Farley’s knee isn’t 100%, the Titans should have no issue playing McCreary.

Titans coach Mike Vrabel is excited to watch Farley play, indicating the cornerback will suit up Thursday. It’s possible Farley and McCreary will be the starting cornerbacks in Baltimore, with Fulton already an established starter.

McCreary's availability could be something to watch after missing two of the last three training camp practices.

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Logan Woodside vs. Malik Willis

Logan Woodside is viewed as QB2 after backing up Ryan Tannehill since 2020. But third-round draft pick Malik Willis, the Titans’ possible quarterback of the future, will get a chance to earn Woodside’s reps in the preseason.

The former Liberty star’s timing with his receivers, decision making, and command of the huddle will take focus in Baltimore.

Treylon Burks’ performance

Tennessee Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) pulls in a catch during a training camp practice at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. © George Walker IV / Tennessean.com Tennessee Titans wide receiver Treylon Burks (16) pulls in a catch during a training camp practice at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park Monday, Aug. 1, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

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First-round rookie Treylon Burks, who faced asthma and conditioning concerns in the offseason program, has made positive strides in training camp, showcasing the physicality and athleticism that made him a top-20 pick. But his first NFL game action will provide a glimpse into his readiness to be a top receiver for the Titans in Year 1.

Dillon Radunz’s grip on RT spot

Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Dillon Radunz (75) pushes a tackling sled during a training camp practice at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. © George Walker IV / Tennessean.com Tennessee Titans offensive tackle Dillon Radunz (75) pushes a tackling sled during a training camp practice at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

While Titans coaches have praised Dillon Radunz’s growth, the second-year offensive lineman has yet to establish a stranglehold on the right tackle job. Third-round rookie Nicholas Petit-Frere has emerged as a challenger in recent practices, Vrabel said.  

Radunz’s play Thursday and how his reps are split with Petit-Frere will be telling about his status.

Racey McMath’s play

a person wearing a helmet holding a baseball bat: Tennessee Titans wide receiver Racey McMath (81) pulls in a catch during a training camp practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn. © George Walker IV / Tennessean.com Tennessee Titans wide receiver Racey McMath (81) pulls in a catch during a training camp practice at Saint Thomas Sports Park Tuesday, Aug. 10, 2021 in Nashville, Tenn.

After a quiet rookie season, second-year receiver Racey McMath has opened eyes as a vertical threat in training camp, hauling several deep touchdown passes.

Whether McMath can carry his momentum from practices to preseason action may show his legitimacy as a target for Ryan Tannehill this season.

Hassan Haskins’ response to hits

The Titans have held several padded practices, but Thursday we’ll see nonrestricted tackling for the first time. It will be a test for running backs like fourth-round rookie Hassan Haskins, who’s seeking a defined role behind star Derrick Henry.

Kyle Philips vs. Ravens DBs

Tennessee Titans cornerback Roger McCreary (21) tries to stop wide receiver Kyle Phillips (18) during a training camp practice at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. © George Walker IV / Tennessean.com Tennessee Titans cornerback Roger McCreary (21) tries to stop wide receiver Kyle Phillips (18) during a training camp practice at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park Thursday, Aug. 4, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

Fifth-round rookie Kyle Philips, who has earned increased reps in recent practices, has impressed coaches with his route-running and ability to get open. How will he look facing NFL defensive backs from another team for the first time?

Okonkwo's blocking

Tennessee Titans tight end Chig Okonkwo (85) hustles back to the huddle during a training camp practice at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn. © George Walker IV / Tennessean.com Tennessee Titans tight end Chig Okonkwo (85) hustles back to the huddle during a training camp practice at Ascension Saint Thomas Sports Park Friday, Aug. 5, 2022, in Nashville, Tenn.

Since the spring, fourth-round pick Chig Okonkwo has been the Titans’ most consistent offensive rookie. He has proved to be a dependable pass catcher. How well will he sustain blocks in the Ravens game? Blocking is the primary responsibility of tight ends in the Titans’ offense. His performance in that department will go a long way in determining his role.

Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at barthur@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.

This article originally appeared on Nashville Tennessean: 8 things I'm watching as Tennessee Titans face Baltimore Ravens in preseason opener

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