Size? Or speed? Each coach will tell you differently. If you’re bigger than the other guy its hard for them to push you out of their way. On the other hand, if the other teams can’t catch the smaller faster linebackers, they cant block them very well then either. For years the Titans have given up too much of one, in favor of the other.
For instance, Derrick Morgan. The Titans drafted him in last years draft with the 16th overall pick, only the second true defensive end to come off the board. Morgan widely considered a prototypical 4-3 end is 6’3 and weighs 278. Why bring this up? He outweighs a guy the Titans have had playing Tackle for the last 4 years.
Jason Jones was a fine complement player when the Titans still had Albert Haynesworth in the middle. Back when Albert was in the middle of the D line, Jones was able to dominate in one on ones against the less athletic guards he faced inside. Once Haynesworth left for the Redskins in free agency there was no one left to draw the double teams that had routinely freed up Jones to wreak havoc in the backfield. What fans saw last year was in essence four defensive ends trying to make up a defensive line.
A major overhaul is coming to the Titans defensive line. The addition of Morgan in last years draft was a first step in the right direction. The Titans added another piece to the puzzle this year with defensive tackle Jurrell Casey from USC. At 6ft 300 pounds Casey adds much needed bulk to the interior of the defensive front, but I don’t think the Titans should stop at that, there are options when / if free agency ever arrives to add needed size to the Titans interior.
Jason Jones is the exact same size and build as Derrick Morgan, it would best suit the Titans to move Jones to the other defensive end on run downs. On passing downs Jones can shift back down to tackle where he has excelled and the titans can bring 2nd round pick Akeem Ayers down to be the fourth rusher given his success coming off the edge in college. A move to the outside could also help curtail some of the injuries that have shortened Jones’s last two seasons.
There will be a lot of new faces to go with old faces on new places this fall, if the lockout is ever put to rest. It is a necessary step in the right direction though. The Titans have historically made more out of less than any other team in the NFL. Its time they had the right guys in the right spots, instead of guys that can just suffice.