Titan Sized Report: Back at the Top


This time last year, the Tennessee Titans were the laughing stock of the NFL.  Chuck Cecil and the porous Titan defense were reeling from injuries and the primary reason for a disastrous 0-6 start.  There was no where to go, but up.  And up they went.  Here’s a quick review of the Titan’s Week 6 performance on defense, including unit grades and selections of the “Titan” and “Terrible” player of the week.

Defensive Line – A- (Leads the NFL with 24 sacks)

Holding Maurice Jones-Drew to 57 yards on 11 carries (with only an 11 yard run to boast of), sacking Trent Edwards twice, and sending David Garrard to the locker room through a consistent, NFL approved (no fines were levied) pounding, is just another day at the office for this group.  Jason Babin is in the running for the sack title at his current pace.

Linebackers – A-

Keeping Marcedes Lewis on lockdown in 2010 is as commendable as keeping MJD under wraps.  Lewis may have dropped the football on his own in the red zone, but Stephen Tulloch still gets credit for being on the spot and scooping it up.  Will Witherspoon may be cooling off, but with Gerald McRath’s red-hot return and Tulloch’s steadfast leadership, this unit is only weak in matters of depth in talent.

Defensive Backs – A- (Most improved)

Who is playing better on the Titan defense right now, Michael Griffin or Alterraun Verner?  Griffin’s interception was an excellent example of the athleticism that led the Titans to draft him 19th overall in 2007.  Verner’s interception was just another example of his ability to jump a route, an ability Titan corners have lacked for decades.  Vincent Fuller added an interception that muddied the waters.  Now the Titans will have a hard time deciding who to put on the field when Jason McCourty returns in a few weeks from his arm injury.

Titan Player of the Week:

Michael Griffin (3 tackles, 1 Pass Deflection, 1 INT) – Griffin only appeared in highlight reels for other teams last year, chasing receivers after failing in coverage.  This year, he already has 3 interceptions (2 more than he finished with in 2009) and 42 tackles in a turnaround that will get him back into the Pro Bowl.

Terrible Player of the Week:

Cortland Finnegan (25 yard pass interference) – Yes, it was a tic-tac penalty.  But it was as avoidable as it was stupid.  Finnegan is a Pro Bowl caliber player and better than the chippy and petulant player he is trying to become.  Building a reputation as the dirtiest player in the NFL, as admirable a dream as that is, should not supersede the goal of being good.

Overall Defense Grade – A

Holding a division opponent under 250 yards of total offense and 3 points on national television is always worthy of a top grade.  The Jacksonville Jaguars are hardly the Indianapolis Colts, Houston Texans, or Philadelphia Eagles.  However, the Titan defense did what a good defense does to a weaker opponent.  Push them around.  This defense is back on top and ready to face a good Eagles offense come Sunday.