The Tennessee Titans surrendered a franchise record 471 points during the 2012-13 NFL season. One reason for that was the lack of production from their defensive linemen. Too many players didn’t play to their potential. How much of that was from coaching? How much of that was from overrated talent?
Here are some position grades for each of the defensive tackles (DT).
16 games played, 54 tackles, 5 stuffs, 0 pass deflections, 3 sacks, 2 forced fumbles
Jurrell Casey followed up his 2011 rookie season with another good year in 2012. His run-defense wasn’t as noticeable because his supporting cast didn’t offer much support. His sacks and forced fumbles increased. For a defensive lineman, he had a high amount of tackles.
Overall, Casey played well.
14 games played, 41 tackles, 3 stuffs, 3 pass deflections, 1.5 sacks, 1 forced fumble
Marks is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent. In 51 career games (26 starts), Marks has 99 tackles, eight pass deflections, three sacks and three forced fumbles. In 2012, Marks recorded a full sack against the Miami Dolphins. That was his first full sack since 2009.
Marks plays far too much to have one full sack in three seasons (he also had two half-sacks). Mike Martin would’ve offered more to a run-defense that ranked 24th in 2012.
How many great plays has Marks made? His lack of production stems from either unreached potential or the coaches not using him properly. Maybe it’s a combination of both. Regardless, Marks has failed to capitalize on his many opportunities.
It’s a mystery. Marks doesn’t pass the eye test. He doesn’t pass the stats test. Pro Football Focus gave him a -7.7 rating. Including restricted free agents, that makes him the 47th-best interior defensive lineman available in free agency.
Marks, you are the weakest link. Goodbye.
16 games played, 37 tackles, 4 stuffs, 0 pass deflections, 3 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
Consider this: in 51 career games (26 starts), Marks has six stuffs and three sacks. In 16 games (one start), Martin has four stuffs and three sacks. Martin doesn’t even project as a good interior pass-rusher. Yet, he has already shown more in that department than Marks.
Martin will start in 2013. If Colin McCarthy can stay healthy, the run-defense should significantly improve.
16 games played, 7 tackles, 0 stuffs, 1 pass deflection, 3.5 sacks, 0 forced fumbles
Karl Klug is a one-trick pony: he rushes the passer. Starting is not in his future. Klug is a player who’s effective on obvious passing situations. Get him in the game on third down. Play him on second-and-long.
There are games when Klug plays fewer than 10 snaps. That didn’t keep him from leading all defensive tackles (on the team) with 3.5 sacks. Those numbers would inflate if he were used on third downs more than Marks.
DaJohn Harris, Leger Douzable
Not enough playing time to form an opinion.
OVERALL GRADE: C
This low grade is weighted from Marks’ ineffectiveness (he’s a starter), players not swatting enough passes and Jerry Gray using poor rotations. Gray must learn how to use Martin and Klug to their strengths, not just blindly play Marks because he’s second on the depth chart.
Fans should look forward to a rotation with Casey, Martin, Klug, Harris and another role player for short-yardage and goal-line situations.