With the NFL Pre-Season being more of a proving ground than an actual game, I’d like to take this opportunity to point out a few players on the Titans roster that can make a true impact for the team in the 2011 season.
1. DE Jason Jones
Jason Jones entered training camp with a position switch in front of him. Weighing in at 276 lbs and standing at 6’5″, Jones meets the prototypical size that an NFL team would want in their defensive ends. The Titans drafted Jones in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft as a defensive tackle, out of Eastern Michigan. Jones tallied 3.5 sacks in 2010, while also batting down 3 passes. In 2009 Jones batted down 5 passes. A very athletic player with the ability to both rush the passer and bat his passes, Jones could be a real threat for the Titans in 2011. Key word–could. Keep a close eye on him vs the St. Louis Rams on Saturday for a glimpse of what the team hopes will be a bright future.
2. CB’s Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner
The defense leaves me confused. Rookie Alterraun Verner played well for the team in 2010, starting the final 8 games. Cortland Finnegan, of course, remains a guaranteed starter. So, that left a slight battle between McCourty and Verner. With a new staff in place, McCourty got the nod. I am not sure how much of that decision was weighed on the 2nd-year player vs 3rd-year player scale, but in the end, 3rd-year player Jason McCourty got the nod to start. McCourty showed well against the Vikings last week, including a great pass break-up. With Cortland Finnegan moving inside to the nickelback position on nickel defense (3 corners), Both Verner and McCourty will play outside. I don’t expect Finnegan to be with the team in 2012, so this will be the starting pair of the future. Focus on them, see how well they play.
3. DT Karl Klug (pronounced Kloog)
Klug can be great, let’s hope he is. The undersized tackle drafted by the Titans in the 5th round (2011) started opposite DT Shaun Smith in last week’s pre-season game vs the Vikings and really stood out. While not a stat monster, Klug seemed to get consistent penetration up the middle. Remember, you don’t have to sack the QB, you just have to make him uncomfortable. Move Peyton Manning one foot and he’s uncomfortable. Move him one foot into Derrick Morgan, and he’s really uncomfortable.