Tennessee Titans Play of the Week: Jordan Babineaux Intercepts Christian Ponder


Nov 27, 2011; Nashville,TN, USA; Tennessee Titans strong safety Jordan Babineaux (26) celebrates picking up the fumble that cinched the win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers during the second half at LP Field. Tennessee defeated Tampa Bay 23-17. Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-US PRESSWIRE

When the 2012 NFL schedule came out, Tennessee Titans fans may have seen the week 5 contest against the Vikings as a probable victory. Five weeks into the season, the Vikings have surprised everyone and are sitting atop the NFC North.

Unfortunately, our Titans have gone in the opposite direction. After being shutout in the first half against the Vikings, the Titans kicked off to start the 3rd quarter, needing a stop or turnover to remain in the game.

With 3rd and 12 at the Titans 48-yard line, the Vikings are lined up in a three receiver set, with Gerhart and Rudolph in the backfield. Jerry Gray rolls out his Ruby package, attempting to disguise the coverage. As we observed in week 2 when Verner intercepted Rivers, Gray likes to use the Ruby package in 3rd and long situations to confuse the quarterback.

At the snap of the ball, the Titans bring four pass rushers, dropping seven into zone coverage. Harvin begins his crossing route, while Rudolph and Gerhart remain to block. The defense is allowing any underneath throws, with McCarthy and Babineaux covering the middle of the field.

Rudolph releases into the left flats and Gerhart runs a short curl up the middle. The crossing route by Harvin is intended to draw Babineaux, allowing for a deep post route behind him. Ponder steps up into the pocket and throws to Jerome Simpson, unaware that Babineaux has been reading his eyes the entire time.

Notice how ridiculously far behind the play Robert Johnson is. I know he’s the safety net on this coverage, but he’s not going to make any plays by lining up in Canada before the snap.

McCourty is in good position on the outside of the receiver, knowing that he has help to his inside. Babineaux immediately breaks on the route, stepping in front of Jerome Simpson for a beautiful one-handed tip interception.

In week 2, Babineaux was used in the Ruby package to blitz, resulting in an interception. In this play, he is utilized in a disguised coverage, again resulting in an interception. These creative blitzes and coverages are Gray’s calling cards, and the Titans defense plays better as the aggressor. Jerry Gray said it himself, “You can’t play timid in the NFL.” Let’s hope he continues to heed his own advice.

To watch the full video visit: http://www.nfl.com/videos/tennessee-titans/0ap1000000078257/Titans-defense-INT

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