Defensive Line – C- (32 sacks – Tied for 2nd in NFL)
William Hayes is obviously getting more healthy each week, because he is becoming more disruptive each week. Jason Babin (poor tackling) and Jacob Ford (too quickly rushing up-field) are, at times, terrible in run support. This Titan defensive line was robbed of 2 sacks or at least 2 intentional grounding penalties. Keep your eye on teams doing this on purpose going forward.
Linebackers – C- (Arian Foster – 30 rushes for 143 rushing yards)
The Houston Texans got Andre Johnson (9 receptions, 56 yards, TD) involved early and often as tight-end like slot receiver. This mismatch was exploited for most of Johnson’s catches. Gerald McRath almost intercepted one of these short patterns, again begging the question, why is he not in the nickel package on 3rd and longs instead of Stephen Tulloch?
Defensive Backs – C- (0 pass deflections)
It is really nice to have Jason McCourty back and at full strength. Michael Griffin is a real nuisance blitzing, roaming the middle of the field, or wherever he lines up and is the MVP of this defense. Chris Hope is just not quick enough to help Titan corners on deep-in routes. Alterraun Verner is an exquisite tackler, especially for his size.
Titan Player of the Week:
Cortland Finnegan (For not throwing a punch) – Unlike Andre Johnson, when the helmets came off Finnegan did not lose control and assault a fellow player. Did he instigate the fight? Yup. Did he start the fight? Nope. Does Andre Johnson need some anger management? Oh yeah. Fact. Had the roles been reversed, Finnegan would not be playing this Sunday.
Terrible Player of the Week:
Wade Smith (Houston Texan Left Guard) – Okay, so normally an opposing player is not a target, but Smith should be fined for his illegal hit on Sen’Derrick Marks. Thankfully, the injury does not appear season or career-ending and the Titans have brought in quality veteran, Marques Douglas. Bad form. Roll-up and chop blocks are an outdated and barbaric form of blocking for the modern NFL.
Overall Defense Grade – C-
For battling (pun thoroughly intended) a potent Texan offense for 40 minutes and receiving absolutely no help from their offense, Sunday’s effort was not a complete bust. Last year in similar circumstances (losing streak, several key injuries, playing away), the Titans lost 59-0. Let’s not arrange a parade for only losing to a terrible Texans team by 20 points. However, let’s wait till after Sunday to panic about this defense.