The Tennessee Titans have one of their toughest tests of the season coming up as they host the Chicago Bears at home this Sunday. The Titans offense couldn’t get much going against a sad Colts defense, so it’ll be interesting to see how they function against one of the best defenses in the league. Here’s the Titans I’ll be watching Sunday:
DT Mike Martin
Martin came on strong early in the season but has been off the past few weeks. Against the Colts he had a costly penalty that nullified a turnover the Titans could have used to bury the Titans early. He was bullied all game and missing the push that we were hoping we could become accustomed to him making. The Titans ends thrived last week while the DT’s got no push. The DE’s should do that again this next week against some struggling OT’s, so it’s up to the DT’s to get the push in the middle so the DE’s can get all the sacks they should have had last week.
QB Matt Hasselbeck
While leading the offense last week, he struggled to get them in the end-zone, specifically because of the long ball. Hass missed a game winning touchdown on the Titans final drive when tossing it up to TE Jared Cook, who had blow past all the coverage and would have taken the ball right into the end-zone. He overthrew him, not even giving him a chance to make a play on the ball. If Hass can’t threaten the Bears defense with anything more than a slant route or a screen pass, the Titans are going to be in trouble.
RB Chris Johnson and the O-line
The O-line man handled the Colts D-line, resulting in CJ getting 99 yards. The Bears, once again, are a tough defense. Add on the fact that none of the Titans starting offensive linemen practiced yesterday and you’ve got a little bit of a worrisome situation. The Titans have gotten their blocking back together and it’s made life much better for CJ. They even had a rag tag line last week that was still more effective than the line the Titans fielded half of the last season.
If the Titans want to help Hasselbeck get something going with the passing game, they’ll need the run game to keep the Bears busy and on their heels.
Even with the run game working, I’m still horrified that Hasselbeck is going to be slinging the ball out there. The Bears DE’s have been tearing it up per usual and Hasselbeck has a knack for getting sacked. If he lets those DE’s get to him, I wouldn’t be surprised to see the ball come tumbling out of his hands. Hasselbeck’s performance is probably the difference between ans win and a loss for the Titans Sunday.
Can Hasselbeck be more than a game manager? He’ll have his chance to prove it Sunday, unless the Bears break him and we see Rusty take the field. Let’s hope that’s not the case.
You can find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart