Weaver

(Photo by Donald Page/Tennessee Titans)

While not much stock should be taken from Friday’s 23-3 preseason win over the Atlanta Falcons, there was one player who was hard to ignore, regardless of playing against backups and backups to the backups.

Rookie outside linebacker Rashad Weaver had his way with the right side of the Falcons’ offensive line and ended up in the backfield seemingly at will.

While it’s way too early to overreact to just one game against Atlanta’s second- and third-stringers, Weaver could have an inside track to claiming the third outside linebacker spot behind Bud Dupree and Harold Landry.

“[Weaver] showed up just like we had talked about in the practices leading up to this game,” Titans head coach Mike Vrabel said. “He was becoming much more active, more comfortable just playing. So, we’ll take a look at his effort and I’m sure there will be a lot of things to coach.”

Weaver played 72 percent of Tennessee’s defensive snaps on Friday, registering three tackles, two tackles for loss, two quarterback hits, 1.5 sacks and a pass defensed. He had the highest pass rush win rate (26 percent) among all rookies in the first week of the preseason, according to Pro Football Focus.

The 23-year-old was quick, he was disruptive, he was dominant, and most importantly, he was everywhere. He sparked a defensive front that totaled five sacks, five tackles for loss and nine quarterback hits. Sure, it was against A.J. McCarron and Felipe Franks, but progress is progress.

“I think just kind of getting the green light from [Vrabel] to just go hard, go play and we’ll fix the stuff on film,” Weaver said of his ability to play freely. “When someone tells you that, and they just want to see you play hard with effort, and you can just go out there and run around full speed, you make good things happen and it’s easier to fix the stuff later.”

While it remains to be seen how much of a factor Weaver will be this season – he has a court hearing on Oct. 5 for an assault charge in April – the 6-foot-4, 259-pound pass rusher definitely put himself on the map as far as the Titans’ coaching staff is concerned. 

Follow Michael Gallagher on Twitter @MGsports_