Rookie Damian Williams’ first game action of the preseason included a lot of special teams work.
Drafted in the third round – in part – because of his potential as a return specialist, he wasted no time auditioning in that regard. He returned the opening kickoff 26 yards (that gain was minimized by a holding penalty) and by halftime had two kickoff returns for 26 yards and two more punt returns for six yards in the Tennessee Titans' 24-10 victory over the Arizon Cardinals at LP Field on Monday.
Williams' first of a game-high four pass receptions came on the opening drive of the second half when he caught a comeback for 15 yards and a first down despite the fact that he had a defender on his back.
“Damian made some plays,” coach Jeff Fisher said. “He made a tough catch and (showed) some run-after-catch ability. It is good to get him back and get him in his first ball game.”
Williams missed the early part of training camp and the preseason opener at Seattle with a hamstring injury.
• Roster watch: Alvin Pearman was the fifth running back to see the field. Samkon Gado and LeGarrette Blount each ran the ball before he did. Gado scored a pair of touchdowns, and Blount had a game-high 42 rushing yards.
Plus, Williams and Marc Mariani handled all the returns.
Not a good night for Pearman, a fifth-year veteran who opened the game as kick returner a week earlier.
• Britt’s boot: Wide receiver Kenny Britt was called for a delay of game penalty late in the second quarter when he “kicked the ball excessively out of bounds,” according to the referee, when he and Kerry Collins failed to connect on a third-down pass attempt.
The penalty was one of four (for 30 yards) called against Tennessee in the first half.
“I was disappointed with the two special teams penalties in the first half,” Fisher said. “We don’t need to have those. That put us in a hole.
• Injury report: Cornerback Pete Ittersagen (concussion) was knocked from the contest when he got knocked down and hit his head on the turf during a first-quarter punt.
Wide receiver Justin Gage (thumb), cornerback Cortland Finnegan (groin), linebacker David Thornton (shoulder/hip), defensive ends Jacob Ford (calf), Derrick Morgan (calf) and William Hayes (knee), defensive tackle Tony Brown (knee) and linebacker Colin Allred (neck) did not dress.
• Collins works: He did not dress in the opener, but Collins got on the field midway through the second quarter in this one and remained on the field into the third quarter.
He produced one scoring drive (a touchdown) in four possessions and was 6-12 for 66 yards passing. Half his completions (on four attempts) and 46 of his yards came in the third quarter.
• Do it for the division: The Titans became the first team from the AFC South to win a game this preseason. After this past weekend, the Colts, Texans and Jaguars were a combined 0-6. The Titans, of course, lost their opener 20-18 at Seattle.
• Final thought: The play of the night undoubtedly was the 22-yard reverse by wide receiver Lavelle Hawkins, during which he hurdled Cardinals’ cornerback Marshay Green. In fact, it was the longest rushing play of the night for either team.
Former tight end Ben Troupe hurdled a couple defenders in his day, but that didn’t make him a reliable route runner or pass catcher.
Hawkins continues to generate a positive buzz on a lot of fronts, but it’s meaningless until he makes plays in the regular season.