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Titans beat Packers 23-21 in preseason finale

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CHRIS JENKINS
August 29, 2008
— Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers needed only one play to show that he's ready to go. But Vince Young still doesn't quite seem warmed up for the regular season, even after the Tennessee Titans' 23-21 victory over Green Bay in Thursday's preseason finale at Lambeau Field.

Rodgers threw a 68-yard touchdown pass to Greg Jennings on his first and only play from scrimmage, then spent the rest of the evening holding a clipboard and playing catch on the sideline.


"We're definitely ready," Rodgers said. "We had a good performance last week. One-and-done this week."


Young made a few big plays but failed to capitalize on several scoring chances despite playing with good field position against the Packers' defensive reserves.


Young drove the Titans inside the Packers' 10-yard line four times in the first half, but Tennessee came away with only three field goals. Young led the Titans' No. 1 offense to only two field goals in Tennessee's three previous preseason games.


"We definitely have some things to work on," Young said.


Young stood on the Titans' sideline with a bandage on his right hand in the second half after bruising his thumb early in the second quarter. Titans coach Jeff Fisher said he didn't expect Young to be limited in practice next week.


"He's fine," Fisher said. "He's just got a bruise. He really could have finished."


Fisher brushed off concerns about the first-team offense's inability to score in the preseason, and said Young handled the offense well Thursday.


"He felt really comfortable with what he was doing," Fisher said. "We're disappointed that we couldn't get the ball in the end zone, but sometimes when you play a preseason opponent in the regular season, you're going to be selective about what you're doing, as they were."


Green Bay plays at Tennessee Nov. 2.


As Rodgers continues to calm fans' concerns about his ability to replace Brett Favre, the Packers' most pressing quarterback concern is who will be his backup.


After what started out as a rough night for the Packers' pair of rookie quarterbacks, Matt Flynn and Brian Brohm, Flynn drove the Packers into Titans territory in the final 2 minutes and threw a 22-yard touchdown to Jake Allen to cut Tennessee's lead to two with no time left on the clock.


The Packers had a chance to tie the game on a 2-point conversion, but receiver Johnny Quinn was out of bounds when he caught Flynn's pass in the corner of the end zone.


Packers coach Mike McCarthy said he remains comfortable with the plan to have two rookies backing up Rodgers. And he chalked up some of their early struggles Thursday to the Packers' inability to fend off a fierce pass rush by Tennessee's No. 1 defense.


But McCarthy also seemed to leave the door open to the possibility of adding a veteran backup before the start of the regular season.


"Those are all options," McCarthy said.


After Rodgers left the game, Brohm and Flynn alternated in a string of three-and-out series in the first half, and both lost fumbles under a heavy pass rush.


But Flynn rebounded to throw a pair of touchdown passes in the second half, and Brohm had a potential touchdown pass called back on an instant replay review.


Brohm, a second-round pick out of Louisville, was expected to win the backup job in training camp. But Flynn, a seventh-rounder out of LSU, has outplayed Brohm in preseason games. McCarthy wasn't immediately ready to commit to either player.


"It's not about making a statement, but I did feel like I did what I had to do," Flynn said. "It's up to the coaches now."


Young was 13-for-27 for 134 yards passing and ran three times for 57 yards Thursday. The Titans did manage to score a touchdown in the second quarter on a 40-yard run by Vincent Fuller off a fake punt.


Kerry Collins replaced Young after halftime, immediately leading the Titans on a 14-play, 80-yard drive that ended with a 1-yard touchdown run by rookie Chris Johnson.


The Packers played without cornerbacks Charles Woodson and Al Harris, linebacker A.J. Hawk, defensive tackle Ryan Pickett, safety Atari Bigby and center Scott Wells because of nagging injuries.


Packers long snapper J.J. Jansen and guard Junius Coston left Thursday's game with knee injuries.


The Titans were without linebackers Keith Bulluck and David Thornton. John Vaughn kicked in place of the injured Rob Bironas.



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