November 13, 2011; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton (1) scrambles away from Tennessee Titans defensive end Derrick Morgan (90) during the game at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Sam Sharpe-US PRESSWIRE

Tennessee Titans: The 3 & Out Rule

One of the most familiar terms in any football locker room, the term three and out, has been preached by every team in hopes of getting the defense off of the field. Defenses pride themselves in shutting down the opposing offense and giving the ball back to their own offense. Although this term is primarily used on the defensive side of the ball, I believe this term can be applied to all front offices when evaluating players and the future of your franchise.

It’s simple. You give a player three years to prove his worth to the team and if he has not shown the production that you desire, you cut him loose (regardless of position on the field). Three years is more than enough time to evaluate and determine if a player should be part of your team’s future. In that amount of time a player should be able to show growth (on and off the field) and consistent production at their position.

The NFL has changed over the years. Teams and players are rarely allowed the luxury to have players sit for years and develop slowly. The clock is ticking from the time a player is drafted. Players need to be able to come in immediately and produce right away. Every team in the league is taking a win now approach and can’t afford to waste valuable time waiting for a player to develop.

This brings me to our Tennessee Titans. The team has a ton of young promising players but there are a couple of players that I feel that this rule could be applied. The Titans have players on each side of the ball that I feel need to produce this year or be sent packing. One player may actually surprise you.

The defensive side of the ball has been a bit of a disappointment over the last couple of years. Over the years the Titans have been known for bringing a strong, solid defense to the field. Defenses lines that have produced Pro Bowl players like Jevon Kearse, Jason Babin, Kyle Vanden Bosch and even Albert Haynesworth. Today, one player in particular has been a huge disappointment and is a major reflection of how this defense has performed. That player is Derrick Morgan. I know injuries have played a factor early in his career but in the time Morgan has been on the field he has not had an impact on the defense. He’s rarely been able to get to the QB and considering the team drafted him with a first round pick he needs to be much more productive.

Every time I see Derrick Morgan on the field I think of a player that was drafted in front of him and what could have been if the Titans had traded up to get him. The team had an opportunity to move up and select Jason Pierre-Paul in the 2010 NFL Draft. As Pierre-Paul continued to fall in the first round I was praying that the Titans would move up to get him. I felt that he was a better prospect and had much more potential than Morgan and would have brought a different dimension to the Titans defense. Instead, the team sat back and allowed the New York Giants to select him. Since both players were selected JPP has outperformed Morgan in every aspect of the game and is the premier defensive end in the league. The difference in production is miles apart (see below).

Tackles (Career): Morgan 35 / JPP 116

Sacks (Career): Morgan 4 / JPP 21 (JPP had 4.5 in his rookie year)

Forced Fumbles (Career): Morgan 0 / JPP 4

One of the most overlooked stats may be the number of games played. Morgan has played in 19 of 32 games while JPP has not missed a game. Morgan is on his way to Bust-ville quickly and the team needs to apply the 3 & Out rule with him this year. He’s too injury prone and has drastically underperformed. He may show improvement this year but based on his prior production I’m not holding my breath.

I hate to say this but the rule also applies to WR Kenny Britt. Before everyone goes crazy, let me explain. I love his game. He’s a physical receiver that makes plays over the middle of the field. Britt could possibly be a top 10 receiver in the NFL. He’s a beast when healthy and provides huge production when he’s on the field.

That’s also the issue here. Similar to Morgan, Britt has been extremely injury prone and has not produced like a number one receiver. When I think of a #1 receiver I think of guys like Fitzgerald, Calvin Johnson, Greg Jennings, Andre Johnson or even Roddy White. He has flashed greatness at times but has not produced anything close to what the players mentioned above have done in their careers. In fact, Britt’s best season (2010: 42 rec, 775 yards , 9 TDs) was hardly better than the 2011 seasons turned in by Damian Williams (45 rec, 592 yards, 5 TDs) and Lavelle Hawkins (47 rec, 470 yards, 1 TD).

I’m willing to give Britt one more season because unlike Derrick Morgan, he has been very productive when he’s been on the field. You can see the talent and the problems that he causes for defenses. Just hope that the guy can stay healthy and become the player that he has the potential to be.

Stay tuned because there may be another player added to this list by the end of the year. If he’s not the Week 1 starter the team should definitely consider applying the 3 & Out rule on him for next year.

R.I.P to Junior Seau. A true Southern CA legend.


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  • dragak1981

    I agree with you on Morgan…another defensive player that should have been 3 and out already is SenDerrick Marks…that guy sucks.
    I do however disagree with you on Britt.  Unlike Morgan he has shown he can be a big time player.  Britt’s 2010 campaign was way better than D Will’s 2011.  Almost twice as many touchdowns (9 for Britt, 5 for DWill) and his yards per reception is much higher ( I did not do the math but Britt had almost 200 more years on 3 fewer catches).  Lavelle Hawkins does not even belong in the conversation.  Britt is a beast and the TItans had best not to let him go…

  • eboyd

    I really like Kenny Britt’s game. Although he had a few more TDs than Williams the numbers are similar. If Williams and Hawkins were featured more in the passing game like Britt they may have shattered his career numbers. Britt has a ton of potential but how long do you give a player to put it all together? Your #1 receiver can’t be on the field putting out the same production as the #3 and #4 WRs on the depth chart. He hasn’t caught over 45 passes in a season. There are tight ends in the league catching more passes than our #1 guy.

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  • JasonPeters

    I like the boldness of the statement, and I do agree that if he can’t stay healthy, the hard but correct decision may be to consider letting him go.
    But even as I write that, I begin to disagree. Britt’s a beast, through and through. 

  • eboyd

    Britt is a beast, when healthy and on the field. He has the talent to put up crazy numbers but he hasn’t been able to stay on the field consistently. I hope he goes out and has a monster season but he also needs to put up better numbers. His numbers are not acceptable for a player considered to be a #1 WR. If he can’t put up similar numbers to what Nate Washington put up this year then the team should strongly consider moving on.

  • dragak1981

    I think people are forgetting that in his first year under Fisher and Dinger Britt was not a #1 receiver…he was a number three…and we know how those two felt about playing rookies…I mean, he was clearly better than Justin Gage who started over him…regardless…In 2010 he was not the number one receiver either…Gage was still getting the reps ahead of Kenny Britt and Fisher was still there playing one of his boys (gage).  Both of those years, Nate Washington was ahead of Britt on the depth chart too and starting over him.  So the only year where Britt was listed as the #1 and was the clear number one in the minds of the coaches was 2011…and i think his numbers before that BS injury are clear…dude is a monster out there….

  • seagle1

    Yes Britt is a beast, it does suck he’s had his injuries but he is a star in the making in this league….if anything, they should re-sign him before he blows up this season and wants a ton of money, get him while he’s cheap.
    With Morgan, he looked good as a rookie, had set backs with his knee last year so we should really see improvement this year….he’ll never be a JPP but I think he’ll be a good DE

  • eboyd

     @seagle1 I want to believe that Morgan will give the team something this season but he just hasn’t had an impact in games. I would cut him some slack if he had been productive when on the field but he just hasn’t done much.

  • seagle1

    @eboyd I’m with ya, and I do believe this is a make or break season for Morgan. Looking at him in his rookie season he was playing great, he played damn good ball then he tore his knee up. He had complications with it last year that stole some of his effectiveness but he should be as healthy as ever this year and we must see production. If not….gone.

  • dragak1981

     @eboyd  @seagle1 Fully agree!  I get tired of people on other sites singing his praises and expecting some monster year…there is no evidence that it is giong to happen…all this talk that he was starting to look like a first round pick at the end of last year…I didn’t see that…did you??  I didn’t see him making too many big impact play or piling up sacks… in reality morgan is probably better as the DE on first and second down…not on third… he is decent against the run, but does not make plays rushing the passer

  • eboyd

     @dragak1981 Completely agree. I hear the same thing about Morgan and his “progress” towards the end of last year. I was told that he had a ton of QB pressures but I need my first round DE to sack the QB and not just get close enough to him to waive his hand and ask how is his day going? The elite QBs in the league easily side step guys in their face and still make great throws. Perfect examples are Brees and Big Ben. You have to get them to the ground or at least get a hit on them.
    Morgan may have had QB pressures but they had absolutely no impact on the games. There were times when I thought he was hurt again because of his lack of impact on games.