The Tennessee Titans lost their first preseason game to
Russel Wilson the Seattle Seahawks, but they showed promise and improvements from last year’s squad. The Titans defense only allowed 3 points in the entire first half and showed promise with a young defensive core continuing their success from last year. As a fan, it was frustrating to see the Hawks gash 6-12 yard runs at a consistent pace, but the bend-but-don’t-break philosophy proved to me that this defense is intelligent and prepared.
Karl Klug recorded the Titans’ first sack of the preseason, which should not be a surprise to anyone. He also had a couple run stuffs, maybe the added weight will allow him to be an every down DT.
Speaking of every down DTs, Jurrell Casey and Mike Martin looked solid and comfortable out their. I was impressed with Martin’s motor. Zach Clayton was disruptive in the second half as well. Aside from quarterback, the defensive tackles are involved in the biggest position battle from top to bottom.
The defensive ends did not play with the power and speed I was hoping for, but that is expected in Wimbley’s first live action as a Titan. As for Morgan, well he is disappointing me more and more as each week passes. The Hawks have 2 solid tackles that are extremely large, so let’s not throw them under the bus just yet.
Akeem Ayers showed me some improvements in his fluidity and play recognition, but I wanted to see more from him when he rushed the passer. He is a beast in run support though.
Speaking of beasts, Colin McCarthy is a STUD. He overshot some gaps early on, but once he settled in he was consistently making plays. In limited action McCarthy recorded 5 tackles with one for a loss, a pass breakup and an interception. There were at least 2 tackles that were made at the line of scrimmage. In the 10 years that I have been a Titans fan and football lover there has never been a Titans MLB that had McCarthy’s instincts and toughness.
Will Witherspoon didn’t impress me much, but I was not expecting him to come out and dazzle with incredible speed. However, Zach brown looked fast, but his angles were off and he looked a little lost in the scheme. I am not worried though. He shot the outside gap very nicely on one occasion and made the tackle in the backfield. If this guy studies the schemes and coverages he is going to be an asset for Tennessee.
The secondary went under the radar, but they had a solid performance Saturday night. Griffin played hard and McCourty/ Verner held their own. The guy I kept my eyes on was Tommie Campbell (who looked huge out there). He redirected a couple receivers with his power, but his inexperience got the best of him when Wilson threw a duck to Braylon Edwards. Campbell was in great position to make a play on the ball, but his timing was a bit off on the jump and Edwards caught the ball on the second try. Plays like this will turn Campbell into a good cornerback.
My grade for the defense’s performance in the 1st half: B