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New Orleans, LA (Sports Network) - Backup signal-caller and former Washington Husky Jake Locker completed 15 of his 17 passes for 132 yards and a touchdown to lead the Tennessee Titans to a 32-9 thumping of the New Orleans Saints in the final preseason game for both sides.
|Tennessee Titans lineman Karl Klug sacks New Orleans Saints Quarterback Sean Canfield for a safety (Photo: Parker Waters).|
New starting quarterback and former Seattle Seahawk Matt Hasselbeck threw for 37 yards on 2-of-5 passing before exiting the game.
In addition to throwing the ball well, Locker also showed off his legs, running three times for 39 yards and a touchdown. Herb Donaldson also ran eight times for 37 yards for Tennessee.
Lavelle Hawkins grabbed three passes for 21 yards and a score to pace the Titans air attack. Tight end Riar Greer made three catches for 25 yards and Nate Washington snagged one ball for 28 yards.
Rob Bironas made all three of his field goal attempts for Tennessee.
Sean Cranfield completed 29 of his 39 throws for 249 yards, one touchdown and two picks for the Saints. Starter Drew Brees did not see any action.
Joique Bell led the Saints on the ground, rushing 16 times for 80 yards and a long scamper of 21 yards. Bell also led the way in receiving for the Saints, as he caught six passes for 44 yards.
Newly signed veteran kicker John Kasay made one of two field goal tries for New Orleans.
Locker and Bironas highlighted an all-Tennesee first half, as the rookie ran 22 yards for a score and Bironas connected on two field goals to pace the Titans to a 22-0 halftime advantage, and Bironas converted a 41-yard attempt early in the third quarter to make it 25-0.
New Orleans finally broke the shutout when Cranfield connected with Montez Billings for a two-yard touchdown pass about midway through the fourth quarter.
The Titans will travel to Jacksonville next weekend to battle the Jaguars, while the Saints open the season on Thursday September 8 with a visit to Lambeau Field to battle the defending Super Bowl champion Green Bay Packers.
Tennessee Titans vs. New Orleans Saints â— Thursday, September 1, 2011
Saints Postgame Notes
â— The Saints finished the preseason with a 2-2 record and are now 13-12 in preseason games under Sean Payton.
â— The 2-2 preseason record is the ninth in team history. The Saints also went 2-2 in 1978, 1986, 1988, 1991, 1999, 2004, 2008 and 2010. This is the first time the Saints have gone 2-2 in back-to-back preseasons.
â— QB Sean Canfield, who took every offensive snap, completed 29 of 39 passes for 249 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. He finished with a passer rating of 77.8.
â— Nine different Saints receivers had two or more receptions, led by RB Joique Bell with six catches for 44 yards.
â— Bell had his second consecutive solid performance, as he also rushed for a team-leading 80 yards on 16 carries. Bell finished the preseason with a team-high 182 yards rushing on 31 carries.
â— K John Kasay made his first appearance in a Saints uniform on the final play of the first half.
â— DE Junior Galette had a team-leading seven tackles (six solo) and also forced a fumble.
â— Tennessee scored first on a safety in the first quarter. The last time the Saints gave up a safety in the regular season was in Game 2 of the 2009 season against the Philadelphia Eagles.
â— The Titansâ€™ final touchdown marked the first and only fourth-quarter points allowed by the Saints this preseason.
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS COACH SEAN PAYTON
Opening Statement: â€œObviously with that many turnovers you really have no chance to be in a football game. Weâ€™ll have a chance to see this tape tomorrow morning. Players will be in to meet and go through a weight workout, lift and run. Weâ€™ll begin this process in the next 48 hours of getting the roster down to 53 where it needs to be. We have a short week being that itâ€™s Thursday, we play a week from tonight, and we have a lot of important decisions.â€
On how much tonightâ€™s struggles affects him: â€œIt always eats at you. Itâ€™s the miscues, itâ€™s the sacks for a safety, itâ€™s the interceptions and fumbles, those things bug you. Regardless of whoâ€™s playing, those are signs of sloppy play. Considering, I thought our defense battled and hung in pretty well.â€
On how he feels as a team at this point: â€œItâ€™s a process. I donâ€™t know that there is day it begins, and each year itâ€™s a little different in regards to leadership and the make-up of your team. Hopefully, thatâ€™s something thatâ€™s happening right now, itâ€™s something weâ€™re working to have happen. It becomes a little clearer tomorrow and Saturday.â€
On a report out that Hartley could miss 8-10 weeks: â€œWeâ€™ll talk about injuries for us on Monday, but I would say that report is inaccurate.â€
On how tough it is to keep two kickers: â€œItâ€™s not tough, itâ€™s required. But when that happens there is one spot less.â€
On Kasayâ€™s track record allowing to ignore the two misses: â€œI thought that third kick was critical. I thought it was important for his own confidence. Look, heâ€™s kicked in a lot of big spots and a game like this might not seem that important to a lot of people, but for that very moment in time, the veteran kicker who has missed the first two, itâ€™s a very important kick. I was encouraged and I was glad we had another opportunity to put him out on the field.â€
On what he saw that he liked: â€œI think itâ€™s going to be easier to put the tape on and see some consistent play from some individuals. I thought we did some good things in the running game. I thought the fullbacks have played pretty consistently during this preseason. But the amount of turnovers in the skill group areas, whether it was the tight end, receiver, quarterback or halfback putting the ball on the ground, but just some early observations I thought we got some good movement when we ran it. Weâ€™ll be able to see more when we put the film on and it would be easier than for me to say this individual stood out, but its hard to point to a skill player now when we had that many turnovers.â€
On putting this bad effort behind them: â€œWe have to (put this loss behind it). That being said, you have to look at it, you donâ€™t cover it up and sugarcoat it. You have to look at it and make the corrections. There is a handful of guys that were on that field that are going to be on the team next week so we have to do what we do each week, and thatâ€™s make the corrections and get on to the next plan.â€
On Joique Bell: â€œI think heâ€™s been a pretty steady performer for us. He is not at 100 percent; you can see that a little bit tonight maybe a little more that you did last week. To his credit, he is battling through and giving us some tough yardage. I thought he played his best last week, he played well early in the preseason, but he has been pretty consistent.â€
On the overall health of the team: â€œI think itâ€™s pretty good. The only thing that is a challenge is that in this evaluation process there are a handful of players that we just didnâ€™t have as many snaps on that we normally would at this juncture in years past so we are going to have to be smart with the evaluation. Some of the evaluations will be with limited exposure but I think that is the case with everyone else (other teams). Thatâ€™s the number one thing that we pay attention to, so overall from a health standpoint we feel pretty good. Weâ€™ll spend time with the trainers tomorrow and continually making sure our guys are up to speed and ready to play.â€
On primary concerns going into Green Bay game next week: â€œI think what wins games, itâ€™s playing smart on the road, understanding the emotion of a game like that with a team that just won the Super Bowl, and handling those challenges, especially early in the game, that early wave of momentum and being smart with the football. The things that we value and think are very important in winning games. Those are concerns because they are focal points. Itâ€™s doing the little things and being ready for all that comes into playing that game as an away team as opposed to a home team.â€
NEW ORLEANS SAINTS PLAYERS
QB #4 SEAN CANFIELD
On his performance: â€œIt was sloppy. You canâ€™t expect to win with turnovers like that. It seemed like every time we got something going that we would fumble or miss a snap. Thatâ€™s what came down to it offensively for us especially in the first half.â€
On playing a whole NFL game: â€œAbsolutely. I felt excited and ready. I was confident and poised. It had been a while since I played a while game. I had that little bit of time against San Francisco, Houston and then last week in the fourth quarter against Oakland. It sure is different when youâ€™re playing the whole game. It felt good. It felt good to get out there.â€
LB #58 SCOTT SHANLE
On tonight and going into the regular season: â€œI think we look at the entire body of work and how weâ€™ve developed throughout the training camp and preseason. You donâ€™t want to go off tonight too much. We have the same group of core guys back this year defensively.â€
LB #51 JONATHAN VILMA
On the season opener: â€œI think we have been there and done that. Itâ€™s about not getting caught up in the game and the hype that surrounds it. Itâ€™s about going up there as a business trip and coming out of it with a victory.â€
On his impression of the team: â€œI like the high character guys that we have on the team. We have guys who are willing to work and get better both old guys and young guys across the board. We are well aware that this is not the finished product even though the preseason is done. We are trying to get better and striving to be dominant. The potential is there. The motivation is there. We just have to keep working at it.â€
TENNESSEE TITANS COACH MIKE MUNCHAK
On signing Chris Johnson: â€œIt was good news this afternoon. Everything officially got done (with Chris Johnson). Iâ€™m sure that he is very happy. I know that we are. Iâ€™m glad that weâ€™ve got that part behind us and Iâ€™m looking forward to seeing him in town tomorrow.â€
On how long it will take him to get into game shape: â€œItâ€™s just getting him into town and seeing where he is atâ€¦.Now, we will get a chance to get him on the field as quickly as we can. The good news is that we have ten days before we play, so that is a plus. At least we have ten days to get him to workout. We will kind of see where he is at.â€
On the play of the young guys tonight: â€œItâ€™s just good to see when you play a lot of guys. We didnâ€™t play sloppy. We didnâ€™t turn the ball over. Our defense (played well) getting five turnovers and a safety. Thatâ€™s just a lot of good stuff there. We didnâ€™t turn the ball over at all. We had three different quarterbacks and three different centers. We got all of our ball carriers out there. That has been going on all four pre-season gamesâ€¦I hope that will carry over into the season. That is a real positive to see."
On the play of the defense: â€œIn the first half, I think we had three turnovers and a safety with a good pash rush, too. That was some good stuff from the defense.â€
On the play of Jake Locker: â€œI was overall happy with the way that he has progressed. Each week he is getting better.â€
TENNESSEE TITANS PLAYERS
DE #94 SENâ€™DERRICK MARKS
â€œItâ€™s a totally different culture here on this team. We have a lot of new players and a new coach so everything is exciting. We are behind what the staff is doing so as a team we want to come together and practice hard this final week and be ready for Jacksonville in time for the season opener.â€
â€œBoth quarterbacks played great tonight. They made the right reads and it showed up on the field tonight. I think we are really ready to start the season.â€
QB #8 MATT HASSELBECK
â€œI think we played well. Even though itâ€™s the pre-season it was a game and we executed well. It was good to see a lot of guys play well.â€
On signing of Chris Johnson today: â€œThis entire situation with Chris reminded me a lot of what I experienced in Seattle with Walter Jones. He would basically hold out for at least three different times before the season and as a team we had to move on together but at the same time respect what he (jones) was doing. We were hoping all along that Chris will show up and its happening. I donâ€™t think we as a team let it be a distraction. We are glad heâ€™s back on our team and I am looking forward to some real exciting things from him. I know heâ€™s explosive and electric, and I canâ€™t wait to see him play real soon.â€
QB #10 JAKE LOCKER
â€œIt was great to get a lot of work out there tonight. I thought we played great as a unit. The more snaps I get as a rookie the better. I canâ€™t wait for the regular season to start so it counts for real.â€
â€œOn the touchdown, it was great to see some green grass in front of me. Scoring is always great.â€
On signing of Chris Johnson: â€œIt goes without saying itâ€™s a good day for this team. Iâ€™ve never seen him play before, but I know heâ€™s exciting and a terrific player. Itâ€™s a great thing we now have him back and we are looking for some great things from him.â€
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