The Tennessee Titans have two of the leagues best run stopping defensive tackles according to one of ProFootballFocus’s recent articles. The two in question? They would be 2nd year player Jurrell Casey and rookie Mike Martin.
Now I want to share the preface PFF had before their list because another Titan is in the bottom 20, but has had a good year.
Even though Run Stop Percentage is probably the most indicative statistic of performance against the run, it doesn’t always equal the PFF run grade. There are a couple of reasons for this. The first reason is that a play can be impacted without making a tackle. Gerald McCoy is a player this can be said about. His run grade is sixth among defensive tackles yet he has only made 10 stops and is 80th in Run Stop Percentage. He routinely holds the point of attack, though, and rarely gives up running lanes.
The second reason is that good run defense isn’t always about making plays, sometimes it is about not giving up plays. The best example of this is probably Henry Melton. He has the second-highest Run Stop Percentage yet a negative PFF run grade. Melton loves to get upfield and is fantastic at it. This shows through in his pass rushing and run stop statistics. He loves to get upfield so much that he’ll sometimes get pushed easily out of a hole, which is a no-no.
Now on to the list. Mike Martin comes in 3rd, behind Aubrayo Franklin of the Chargers and Henry Melton of the Bears. Martin was a starting for a few weeks of the season, though Marks seems to have taken that spot back. It doesn’t matter. Martin has shown all the value we saw when the Titans drafted him this past spring and looks like he should continue to be a great part of this Titans defense moving forward.
Coming in a little further down at 16th is Jurrell Casey. Casey hasn’t quite had the year that he had last year, but part of that can be put on arm injuries that have slowed him down. Casey is just another example of the talent the Titans have at the DT position.
Now for the Titan who came in on the back end. In the bottom 20 run stoppers. Sen’Derrick Marks, who’s in the middle of a career year, comes in just five spots behind Tampa Bay’s Gerald McCoy at 63. This is where I get a little confused by how this all works out, as Marks has been having a good year.
Either way, it’s nice to see some Titans getting some recognition. While this defense has been a mixed lot this year, there has been positives to take away. Hopefully they finish up the season strong and give us a few more positives to take away.
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