Oct 28, 2012; Nashville, TN, USA; Tennessee Titans wide receiver Kenny Britt (18) runs after a reception against Indianapolis Colts corner back Vontae Davis (23) during the first half at LP Field. Mandatory credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Titans: Time Of Possession...Can The Offense Really Fix The Defense?

 Can a good offense really fix a bad defense?  The Tennessee Titans seem to think so.

There’s a lot of argument out there in defense of the the Titans focusing the majority of their efforts on the offensive side of the ball this off-season.  Mainly that the offense’s inability to sustain drives kept the defense on the field too much, eventually wearing them down and giving the opposing offense too may opportunities.

Mike Munchak has spoken often about Time Of Possession this off season and trying to regain a better balance of ball control.  The Titans have overhauled the offensive line and added power back Shonn Greene to the lineup in order to aid that goal.  Not to mention the acquisition of utility tight end Delanie Walker and second round receiver Justin Hunter.

While TOP is important, and there is some validity to the argument, I find it much like the weak-back argument.  People with back soreness and problems are often told  that it’s because their stomach muscles are too weak.  While it’s true that a strong core and stomach helps take pressure off of your back, it doesn’t make your back any stronger.  Only exercising and strengthening your back can make it stronger.  Your back isn’t failing because your stomach is weak, your back is failing because your back is weak.

So how does focusing the majority of efforts on the offense help the defense?  It’s not the offense’s responsibility to keep their defense off the field, it’s their job to score.  Period.  It’s up to the defense to get themselves off the field and stop the other team.

Couldn’t we use the reverse argument?  That if the defense was good, they would get off the field and give the offense more reps.  More plays and more chances to score.  Not to mention getting down early only eliminates plays you would like to run and turns the team one-dimensional.  Why do we not fault the defense for not helping the offense enough?

Someone (I would say who if I could remember) recently pointed out the Green Bay game from last year as an example.  The Titans went 3 and out on their first three drives.  While there’s no excuse  for that, the Titans’ defense allowed the Packers to drive and score on their 2nd, 3rd, 4th, and 5th drive consecutively. Zero stops.  Not to mention allowing the Packers to score touchdowns on their first two drives directly after halftime.  That level of ineptitude can’t be placed on the shoulders of the offense.

Obviously the offense and defense go hand in hand and time of possession is usually an effect and not a cause of winning.  I believe the Titans’ focus on the offense this off season, even with a league worst defense, is less about helping the defense indirectly, but more about making one side of the ball great.  Many of the elite franchises in the NFL really aren’t that well rounded.  They truly excel on one side of the ball, which makes up for the other side which is usually somewhat deficient.  It seems the Titans have chosen the offensive side of the ball to do that with, which makes sense as that side of the ball doesn’t have as far to go as the defense.

If there is any pessimism about the coming season left in this eternal optimist, it is about the defense.  I just hope the exorbitant focus on the offensive side of the ball doesn’t bite the team from behind in the end.  They overestimated their personnel between the 2011-2012 season.  Let’s hope this isn’t a repeat.


You can follow me on Twitter @gunnelsj

Next Titans Game View full schedule »
Sunday, Sep 77 Sep12:00at Kansas City ChiefsBuy Tickets
Dick's Sporting Goods presents "Hell Week":

Tags: Tennessee Titans Titans

  • Shawn Eagle

    Wow….back/ stomach analogy???? What are you…a Kinesiology major??? Hahaha….I know what you’re saying. There is not much of an argument when it comes to the defense not being able to stop anybody…however…when you have a bad defense you do everything you can to mask or hide that deficiency….and you simply can’t when you constantly deal with 3 and outs on offense. I would almost argue that the defense would have played better last year if there was any consistency from the offense.

    • josh gunnels

      They obviously go hand in hand. Honestly both were so bad last year, that you really can’t point the finger at any one side of the ball.

      The main point is that a good offense may overcome a bad defense, but it doesn’t make the defense better. That’s all.

      All this TOP and ball control won’t mean squat if the defense let’s the other team score on almost every drive. The Titans will just lose 51-38 instead of 51-20.

      That being said, I think they picked the correct side of the ball to focus on. The offense is a lot closer to being good than the defense. There’s been plenty of Championship teams that are good at one side of the ball and not so great at the other. In fact, that probably goes for most of the good teams. So pick the side of the ball you are the closest on and go with it.
      If this line plays up to it’s potential, and Loggains/Locker don’t screw it up, the Titans could be just fine.

  • http://twitter.com/Armchair_Psycho Joshua Huffman

    It’s a combination of both things… the 3-and-outs from the offense and the bend-but-don’t-break mentality from the D. Problem with BBDB defense… when someone like Aaron Rodgers or Tom Brady comes in contact with that, it breaks. Ball control from the O will help the D …. but the D has to play better also.

  • Pingback: Tennessee Titans: Are Disturbing Time of Possession Trends Overrated?