Surrendering an opening kickoff return for a touchdown and fumbling the ensuing kickoff, cost the Tennessee Titans a win last week. This week they continuously put the offense and defense in good positions to score points and win the field position battle. Here’s a quick review of the Titan’s Week 3 performance on special teams, including unit grades and selections of the “Titan” and “Terrible” player of the week.
Kick and Punt Coverage Teams – A-
Whoever watched preseason footage around the league and recommended the Titans sign Tim Shaw deserves a promotion. He is a lifetime special team guy if ever there was one. Darius Reynaud is no Devin Hester or Joshua Cribbs, but a punt return average at 5.5 yards is on lock down. Michael Griffin made the play of the game downing a punt in the 3rd at the one yard line.
Kick and Punt Return Teams – B+
Marc Mariani is steadily growing into his role, logging another long return of 45 yards. This return was an especially big play because it was the free kick following the Titan defensive safety. This gave the Titan offense a short field and the resulting touchdown closed the door on the Giants. Did anyone notice the New York Giants never punted on Sunday?
Kicker and Punter – A
Rob Bironas kicked 3 extra points and 2 field goals (48 and 22 yards), staying perfect on the year. Brett Kern gave another example on Sunday of his accuracy and hang time, pinning the Giants to the one yard line with a kick that Griffin fielded out of the air. This unit is arguably the best tandem in the league and it is important as Titan fans we not take this for granted.
Titan Player of the Week: Brett Kern – He has already surpassed Craig Hentrich’s ability in the last 5-7 years and should be in a Titan uniform for a long time to come. We can only hope Hentrich taught him “The Knuckler” before he retired.
Terrible Player of the Week: Vacant
Overall Special Teams Grade – A-
An all-around solid effort on special teams alleviated pressure on the Titan offense and defense. The only downside to the Titan special teams playing so well is it makes for a shorter field. If Chris Johnson wants 2,500 yards, he might want to try convincing Mariani to fair catch a few more returns (mostly kidding).