W8-Titan Sized Report: Seemed Better
Looking at the stat sheet only makes this loss to the San Diego Chargers even harder to figure. The Titan offense seemed to move the ball at will against this usually stout defense. Emphasis on the word seemed. Here’s a quick review of the Tennessee Titan’s Week 8 performance on offense, including unit grades and selections of a “Titan” and “Terrible” player of the week.
No sacks allowed (quite an accomplishment against a talented Charger pass rush) and no holding penalties speaks volumes about their preparation, discipline, and concentration after a cross-country flight to an inhospitable environment. This line is still being overpowered by sheer numbers on most Chris Johnson running plays, but their persistence and discipline has to payoff sometime, especially against depleted defenses (from injuries) later in the year.
Wide Receivers and Tight Ends – B
Losing Kenny Britt early hurt the Titans more than anyone in Nashville will admit. Still, it was nice to see flashes from Jared Cook (reception, 36 yards), Craig Stevens (2 receptions, 29 yards, TD), and Lavelle Hawkins (4 receptions, 56 yards). At the end of the day, none of these options can make a play like Britt or Randy Moss. It will be interesting to see how the Titans utilize Nate Washington and Damian Williams with the addition of Moss. Expect each to be open and thrown to more frequently.
Running Backs – B (Another game, another highlight for CJ2K)
CJ2K again found little or nothing to work with from a well-prepared Ron Rivera defense. CJ’s impatience seems to be growing, especially evident in his increased dancing in the backfield. Defenses are wising up and not showing their formations before the play, limiting the time he has to identify running lanes. Until Mike Heimerdinger creates a solution for this defensive strategy, expect more of the same for the reigning rushing champion going forward.
Quarterback – C+
Vince Young is beginning to resemble his tailback in effectiveness (47% of the time it’s good, really good). But through 8 weeks, VY is a leader in quarterback rating and yards per attempt. Like CJ, it is becoming increasingly difficult for defenses to keep VY’s deep play ability contained. VY, CJ2K, and Randy Moss give the Titans home-run threats at every level of their offense. Kerry Collins'(finger) mediocre play in relief is primarily the reason for the low grade.
Titan Player of the Week:
Nate Washington (4 receptions, 117 yards, TD) – With the increasing production of Damian Williams and others, Washington has slowly returned to his specialty as a deep threat. This is especially encouraging with the recent addition of Moss. Now Washington can run deep crossing routes that before would have been blanketed in zone coverage. His 71-yard touchdown catch demonstrated his speed and big play ability. Hopefully, there is more where that came from.
Terrible Player of the Week:
Chris Johnson (15 rushes, 59 yards, TD; 5 receptions, 24 yards; Dropped pass) – Again, CJ2K finds himself in the Titan Sized doghouse. Why? His dropped pass at the end of the game that would have extended the Titan drive was inexcusable. CJ is a 2-time Pro-bowler and arguably the best running back in the NFL. Dropping a pass in the first quarter is no big deal. Dropping a pass for a first down, on fourth down, in the fourth quarter, to end the game, is a big deal. You are better than that, man!
Overall Offense Grade – B
Scoring 27 points and having the ball at the end of the game should have been enough. However, the Titans are starting to show an ugly pattern of playing poorly (offensively) with the lead. Whether it is a lack of aggressive play-calling or a killer instinct, it has to stop. Building double-degit leads at the beginning of every game should play in the Titan’s favor of controlling the ball and allowing the defense to stay aggressive. At least it seems that way.