NFL: Tennessee Titans-Training Camp
Jul 26, 2014; Nashville, TN, USA; during training camp at Saint Thomas Sports Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports
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Titans have chance to make statement vs. Eagles

Is anybody taken less seriously among teams with winning records than the Tennessee Titans? Tennessee is 2-1 with wins over the Houston Texans and Jacksonville Jaguars,  and yet nobody seems to care much for it.

Why? A few reasons. For starters, you couldn’t pick any of their players out of a lineup. None of this is to suggest that the Titans don’t have stars on the roster, because they absolutely do. Jurrell Casey is one of the best defensive linemen in the NFL, while Kevin Byard is an All-Pro talent at safety. Logan Ryan, Adoree Jackson and Malcolm Butler are all upper-level safeties, while Derrick Henry is one of the better running backs going. Still, nobody who isn’t a diehard fan or a Titans supporter would look at any of the aforementioned names and get excited.

Tennessee hasn’t been able to cultivate quarterback Marcus Mariota into a star yet, with his first four years being marred by inconsistent play and injuries. Mariota, who starred for the University of Oregon, has faded from the spotlight as other youngsters emerge at his position including Deshaun Watson, Baker Mayfield and Patrick Mahomes.

All that said, the Titans can start to put the NFL and casual fans around the globe on notice with a win on Sunday at Nissan Stadium over the Philadelphia Eagles.

Philadelphia comes into the game as not only defending champion but a 2-1 squad in its own right. The Eagles haven’t been all too impressive in the early going, winning a Week 1 grudge match with the Atlanta Falcons before rallying late on Sunday to handle the Indianapolis Colts at home. Carson Wentz made his 2018 debut against Indy, coming back from a torn ACL in December.

With a victory, the Titans would move to 3-1 and be in front of the AFC South at the quarter pole of the season. While nobody will be installing Tennessee as the favorite to reach the Super Bowl, it should begin to force a shift in the thinking about the club.

The Titans made the playoffs and won a road game in the Wild Card game last season before being ousted by the New England Patriots. Should they get to 3-1, there’s little reason to think it’s a fluke, especially with first-year head coach Mike Vrabel looking more than competent on the sidelines.

For years, Tennessee has been an anonymous outpost of the NFL, with other teams within the division getting the pub, whether it be Andrew Luck and the Colts or Andre Johnson, J.J. Watt and the Texans.

If the Titans can beat up on the defending champs come Sunday, perhaps the shift begins to putting a spotlight on the guys in Nashville.

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