Hello Titans fans. I’m Jason Peters, Assistant Editor of Titan Sized, and I recently had the pleasure of discussing the upcoming Week 1 match up between the Tennessee Titans and New England Patriots with Mr. Joe Soriano. Joe is the Lead Editor for Musket Fire, the official Patriots fan site of the Fansided network. I asked him three questions, of which the responses can be seen below. Click here to see my responses to Joe’s questions at Musket Fire.
Titan Sized: Tom Brady is arguably the best quarterback in the NFL, and has a very good receiving core to go with. What will the Titans have to do to stop him?
Musket Fire: Well, in order to stop a top quarterback, you have to stop his receiving weapons along with pressuring him as much as possible. The best chance that the Titans have of getting to Tom Brady is exploiting Nate Solder’s lapses in pass protection as he develops. Kamerion Wimbley is a guy who can go off and have an insane game when at his best, so a big game for him would be a huge catalyst for the Titans defense.
Looking at the defensive backs, Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner form a top cornerback duo on the outside, but the only receiver who is a major threat on the outside is Brandon Lloyd. He’s a terrific player who will command the attention of the corners and needs to be bracketed by a safety deep, but the pressure he takes away from the tight ends and Wes Welker is added pressure for the linebackers and safeties. I like Michael Griffin and Jordan Babineaux in run defense, but those guys are going to get exposed by Rob Gronkowski and, especially, Aaron Hernandez in coverage. Colin McCarthy and the outside linebackers also need to be at their best against the TEs and against a talented pass-catching running back in Shane Vereen.
There are a lot of weapons that the Titans will need to cover in the middle of the field, and it will be interesting to see how they scheme against Welker. I mean, it looks like a huge test for young CB Tommie Campbell.
Titan Sized: Jake Locker will be making his first ever regular-season start against the Patriots. Do you think Belichick will try to confuse him defensively with different defensive packages, and how do you think Locker will respond?
Musket Fire: I was drooling over Jake Locker when he came into the NFL Draft last year and rated him higher than, yes, Cam Newton. Locker has terrific physical tools, he can elongate plays, and he has a cannon of an arm. He will become more consistent as he goes along, but the main thing for the Patriots is to make him inconsistent by decreasing his comfort zone in this game. I don’t know what Bill Belichick will have planned, but I could see quite a bit of nickel blitzes from the versatile Kyle Arrington, in addition to some “surprise” blitzes from linebacker Jerod Mayo.
As far as coverage goes, expect to see some three safety looks with Tavon Wilson in there covering tight end Jared Cook. He held his own in his preseason debut against Jimmy Graham, which is no short feat. They Pats like to use him as a linebacker, and he has already proven to be a weapon in coverage. Heck, we could even see some zone blitzes with Rob Ninkovich dropping off in coverage or something like that.
Titan Sized: The Titans pass rush has been inconsistent at best. With the departure of Light and Koppen, how do you think our defensive line will fare against your offensive line?
Musket Fire: I wouldn’t call Dan Koppen a “departure”, because both Ryan Wendell and Dan Connolly are more effective than Koppen at this stage in his career (with Wendell, a lot of it has to do with versatility). A lot hinges on whether or not Brian Waters returns, and, since it looks like he will, Connolly will start at center and presents an upgrade over Koppen. Losing Matt Light is tough, which is why I mentioned Wimbley in the first answer. He is an explosive player who can go off with a huge game at any time and presents a threat for the young Nate Solder. The Titans need to get some more consistency out of the left defensive end spot against the solid Sebastian Vollmer, but Wimbley should give Solder a handful.On the interior, I love Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug; those two made up a sensational rookie duo. Klug is a highly disruptive presence, but the Patriots have one of the top interior offensive lines in the NFL and should have the slight advantage.
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