Titan Sized Report: Drawing a Line
When this Tennessee Titan defense needs to hold a team to field goal, that team better start warming up their kicker. If the Titan defense needs to force a 3-and-out, stretch the punter. Here’s a quick review of the Titan’s Week 7 performance on defense, including unit grades and selections of the “Titan” and “Terrible” player of the week.
Defensive Line – A- (Leads the NFL with 25 sacks)
The Philadelphia Eagles managed to only allow 1 sack all afternoon, which sounds far more impressive on paper than it actually was on the field. Kevin Kolb rarely had enough time to look down field and only managed 4.8 yards per passing attempt, well below his average (6.8 Y/A) for the year. The Eagles also accrued 3 holding penalties, threw 2 interceptions, and could not stop Jason Jones from knifing through and forcing a fumble that swung the momentum of the game in the Titan’s favor. Another day’s work for the best defensive line in the NFL.
Linebackers – B
Stephen Tulloch led the Titans with 10 tackles in a solid afternoon for the Titan linebacking corps. The Eagles rushing attack had nothing to boast about, other than a couple gimmick plays with Jeremy Maclin (1 rush, 14 yards) and Chad Hall (4 rushes, 19 yards). LeSean McCoy (6 rushes, 48 yards) and Brent Celek (2 receptions, 8 yards) were virtually non-factors, as the Titan linebackers refused to allow a big play on the many screens the Eagles attempted throughout the game.
Defensive Backs –B+
For the most part, the Titan defensive backs did what they do best on Sunday, kept the Eagle receivers in front of them and created turnovers wherever possible. Cortland Finnegan (8 tackles, pass deflection) and Michael Griffin (3 tackles, 2 PD) each had interceptions, and Finnegan returned his 41 yards for the first Titan defensive touchdown of the year. It is getting more and more difficult to remember the last game that Alterraun Verner was not involved in creating a turnover.
Titan Player of the Week:
Jason Jones (4 tackles, 1 Forced Fumble) –
Jason Jones is a disruptive force that is surpassing the shadow left behind by Albert Haynesworth. Need an example? Jones is also becoming a master interior pocket collapse artist. The evidence? Dave Ball (6 sacks), Jason Babin (6 sacks), and Derrick Morgan (2 sacks before injury) are all having career years on the edge, because Jones is taking away the option for quarterbacks to step up in the pocket. The Titan defense did not miss Haynesworth last year, they missed Jones last year after they lost him early to injury.
Terrible Player of the Week:
Chris Hope (6 tackles, 1 Pass Deflection) –
Riley Cooper’s 37-yard catch should have been an easy interception for Chris Hope. Do you think Michael Griffin would have stood flat footed waiting on that ball to land in his arms? How about Alterraun Verner? Of course not. It is now clear that Hope is the liability in the Titan secondary and expect more teams to seek it out and exploit him.
Overall Defense Grade – B+
The Titan defense had a rough start, but stabilized late, refusing to let this week’s game get away. With the offense struggling, a steady defense has keyed the ascension of a Titan squad that looks better than the 2009 team on both sides of the ball. In key situations on Sunday and throughout the year, this Titan defense has drawn a line in the dirt and challenged offenses in the NFL to get a first down. This far and no further.