Expect A Titan Sized Defense in 2010
Having spent thirty six hours over the past five days helping delegate volunteer workers in Nashville, I am finally able to analyze some data on our defense from last season. So, as I Sit here, staring at the stats in front of me, I am trying to figure out how our defense ranked as one of the worst in the NFL last season. A defense with 32 sacks, 20 interceptions, 1,175 combined tackles (we missed a few in that week 8 Jaguars game), 13 forced fumbles, and only 106 rushing yards per game (ranked 11th). How is that possible? You may ask, but it all adds up to two things. Change of Coordinators and injuries, but lets focus on the former.
It is no secret that when the power of the Schwartz left he took a mighty big chunk of that defensive genius with him after having lead a defensive unit to a top 5 ranking in each major defensive category. But, never fear, Chucky Cecil is here. Enter a man that was not only one of the original players of the NFL to add to its annual revenue through player fines, but was also one of the most feared “Big Hitters” in the game. It is also no secret to NFL fans that unless you are a defensive genius (like Schwartz or Sexy Rexy) it usually takes on average a full season under the belt for a defensive unit to finally come together, it only took Chuck Cecil one game. In the week one game versus the Steelers the Titans Defense held the Steelers Offensive running attack to only 36 yards keeping both Parker and Moore to 1.6 yards per carry, 2 Interceptions and 1 Forced Fumble. The Titans played a great defensive game in week 1 but unfortunately that defense would not show up again until week 8.
The Jaguars game saw a revival of our defense, in 7 weeks Chuck Cecil took a defense that was ranked last in Passing Yards per game, Sacks and Turnovers and with just 8 games remaining turned it into a Defense that shows true promise for the 2010 season. Cecil, like Schwartz, is a firm believer in the 4-3 Defensive Unit, using 4 Defensive Lineman to bring pressure while using speedy Linebackers to cover the running game and Tight End’s in the receiving game. Last month in the annual draft the Titans (under Chuck Cecil’s Defensive mind) chose Defense with six of their nine picks, including high profile players such as Derrick Morgan and Safety Myron Rolle (cousin to Samari Rolle) to go along with 3rd round selection Rennie Curran, Linebacker out of Georgia who became the first Georgia player to record back to back 100 tackle seasons in a decade. These players will play along side a vaunted Linebacking corps to include Free Agent pick up Will Witherspoon, who recorded 81 tackles in split time between the Rams and Eagles, Second year players Gerald Mcrath, who ended the season with an Interception, 47 tackles and who I personally believe will take over the Right Outside Linebacker spot if we do not resign Keith Bulluck (praying we do), Ryan Mouton, Jason Mccourty and veteran Roderick Hood who will also return for his second year with the Titans.
What does all this mean? It means you now have the backbone for a Defensive Unit with not only young talent but leadership ability as well under a coach that now has the chance to put his own defensive touch onto an already talented unit. So without further ado let me introduce to you who I believe to be our starting 2010 Tennessee Titans Defense:
Jason Jones DT- 4 sacks in only 7 games last season
Tony Brown DT- 5 sacks
Derrick Morgan DE- Rookie
William Hayes DE- 4 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Will Witherspoon LB- 81 tackles, 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception
Gerald Mcrath LB- 47 tackles, 1 interception
Rennie Curran LB- Rookie
Cortland Finnegan CB- 5 interceptions, 63 tackles
Rod Hood CB- 3 interceptions in 3 straight games, 16 tackles
Myron Rolle CB- Rookie, Rhodes Scholar
Michael Griffin S- 1 interception, 2 forced fumbles, 1 sack, 77 tackles
Chris Hope S- 3 interceptions, 1 forced fumble, 2 sacks, 77 tackles
*All stats provided by NFL.com