Tennessee Titans: Strong Defense Needed More Than Ever Before

Sep 29, 2013; Nashville, TN, USA; The Tennessee Titans defensive squad huddles in a game against the New York Jets during the first half at LP Field. The Titans beat the Jets 38-13. Mandatory Credit: Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

On the back of a decisive 38-14 win over the New York Jets, the Tennessee Titans have a dark cloud looming over the victory.

Simply put, the loss of Jake Locker was just devastating and a real dagger to a team that was surging and turning some heads across the NFL. While the extent of Locker’s injury isn’t final yet, it does open endless questions about the future of this team and where it will be headed moving forward.

The one thing that is certain and is undeniably important for the future success of this team is the continued success brought by the Titans defense.

This defense has been a crutch that has allowed the Titans to remain in games, keep it close, and give our offense opportunities to score. They have been the exact definition of “defense wins championships” in the first few outings. They need that success and more moving forward with the loss of Locker at the helm.

Saying there is a complete disregard and distrust in the offense is not true. Ryan Fitzpatrick, while not Locker, can put us in positions to win. However, you will no longer see blow outs with Fitzpatrick behind center. No longer can the Titans sit comfortably and have a few rough series on offense. It just cannot happen. Our offense is too vulnerable right now with the loss of Locker to assume that can continue.

That’s why this defense is needed now more than ever before and in the midst of a solid start sitting at 3-1. This defense will be turned to not only for playmaking capabilities, but also as the leadership behind the entire team.

This defense absolutely must make plays. Game-changing interceptions, fumble recoveries, sacks, and defensive stops have to be happening and happening often. Our offense needs as many opportunities as possible and as many sitting in a comfortable position as possible.

Let’s see Bernard Pollard get fired up. Let’s see Alterraun Verner’s continued defensive effort. Let’s see Zach Brown flying across the field making plays and Jurrell Casey owning the line of scrimmage.

Calling out to this Titans defensive squad and its leaders to take a stance and lead this team as a unit.

Sure, our offense still has to make plays and put the ball in the end zone. Our run game needs improvement and we still need solid receiving play. In the end, however, our defense will be setting the tone for this Titans team. If our defense plays well and keeps us in games, I still think this Titans team has a chance. If not, these games until Locker’s return could get ugly.

We are diving into the nasty October schedule that we all were afraid of even with Locker at the helm. Kansas City, Seattle, and San Francisco are all coming up before we hit the bye week. That alone is enough to make Titans fans cringe.

Now more than ever, this defense is needed to step up and lead this team to keep us in games. Without it, watching these next few contests unfold could be painful. Hopefully their success continues.

Topics: NFL, Tennessee Titans

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  • P. Loew

    Even with Locker the Defense has carried the Titans. After all, it was only 2-3 weeks ago that many fans were calling for Fitzpatrick over Locker. (Yes, I admit, I entertained the idea myself.)
    While I now believe that Locker has the most upside, I don’t think he’s leaps and bounds better that Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick will continue to manage the offense and make throws in obvious passing situations while leaning on the run game and depending on the Defense to keep us in games.
    And while Fitzpatrick doesn’t have the big arm that Locker does, I do think he is more efficient in the short passing game which will bolster the run game and potentially rest the Defense even longer.
    The Defense has clearly taken up the mantel as “leader”. When Locker got hurt George Wilson could be seen rallying the troops by calling the players together–both offense and defense–in a team huddle. Right now several analyst are calling the Titans a top 5 Defense. Nobody’s saying that about our Offense with or without Locker.

    • Nick Pitakos

      I don’t disagree at all. I think I was getting more at the fact that Locker is still a leader of this team. He is the signal caller and whenever the signal caller goes down, leadership can drop drastically just as an effect. I still believe Fitzpatrick can lead this offense, no doubt in my mind actually. He is very efficient in the short passing game. I was stating merely the fact that now the defense will be looked to as a complete all around leader of this team. They have a ton of leaders in the likes of Bernard Pollard, George Wilson, Michael Griffin, Jason McCourty etc which is why they are needed now more than ever with the leader of this offense out. Just making plays and allowing our offense the chance to stay in the game is so cruical now.

      • P. Loew

        It’s a nice article Nick. I just take issue with some fans and media–I’m not implying you’re among them–who are predicting the sky is falling since Locker was injured, when less then a month ago they were calling for a QB change.
        It’s unfortunate, no doubt, especially since Locker was doing what I’ve long suspected is virtually impossible–becoming a more accurate passer. Still–and I may be proven wrong–I don’t think the dynamics of this team, including game plan and philosophy, will change that much with Fitzpatrick under center.
        In terms of leadership, I don’t think the Defense can do more than what it’s been doing thus far. In terms of play the Defense could defend the middle of the field better and I feel that will be a point of emphasis. As far as I’m concerned the Defense is, was and will continue to be the trademark of the Titans this season.

        • Nick Pitakos

          I appreciate that. And no of course not. I completely agree with everything you are saying. I also agree that I don’t believe this offense will fall off the face of the earth like many are predicting. I think Fitzpatrick will keep us in games, no doubt about it. I also agree the Titans have always been a defensive unit and build their leadership around it as such. I think we are on the same page and believe this defense is the leadership behind this squad and as long as they keep playing and performing to that level, I still believe this team has a ton of potential moving forward.