October 9, 2011; Pittsburgh,PA, USA: Tennessee Titans offensive linemen Jake Scott (73), David Stewart (76) and Mike Otto (66) take the field before the game against the Pittsburgh Steelers at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USPRESSWIRE
The Tennessee Titans fell, again, this past week to the Houston Texans as the Texans pushed their way right into the playoffs. The Titans offense was once again highlighted in the loss as it struggled to find any rhythm, despite being under interim OC Dowell Loggains hands. The Titans face another division rival this weekend when they visit the Indianapolis Colts. Here’s who I’m watching on the Titans side of the ball:
*Fun fact: This will be the first time Jake Locker and Andrew Luck face off against each other.
This is the most horrifying part of the team heading into Sunday’s game. The Titans have had to make all sorts of adjustments with both OT David Stewart and OG Steve Hutchinson being put on IR after last weeks game. Fernando Velasco has been moved over to guard, while Kevin Matthews has stepped in to play center and Mike Otto has taken over Stewart’s spot at RT. That leaves the line looking like this: LT Michael Roos, LG Fernando Velasco, C Kevin Matthews, RG Deuce Lutui, RT Mike Otto.
The Titans have lost three of their starting O-linemen to IR this year, with two coming from their last game. Their performance will be key in how Chris Johnson and Jake Locker perform. May God have mercy on their souls, because if it looks anything like it did last week, Johnson and Locker are in for a pounding.
QB Jake Locker
Last week Locker was forced to run for his life as his line disintegrated in front of his eyes. This week he’ll be playing behind the aforementioned patchwork line. Making quick decisions will be a big part of how well he performs this week. Last week he had moments where he held onto the ball too long, hoping to still make a play. This week he’ll need to make those decisions much faster and not be afraid to chuck up the deep ball, something that wasn’t really tried until late in the Texans game. Hopefully this is one of those weeks we see growth in Locker. It’s been a rough season, dealing with injuries as well as the recent offensive change at coordinator.
Locker’s still my guy. I think we’ll see some good things from him this week.
WR Kenny Britt
It’s been a long, frustrating season for Britt as he has worked his way back from a torn ACL/MCL. His frustrations have only been multiplied by an offense that can’t find any rhythm and that seems to have forgotten him, amongst some other receivers. Britt was visibly frustrated and angry after this last game and skipped talking to media. He needs to turn that frustration around and just give it all he’s got on the field this Sunday. Jake Locker could face some increased pressure thanks to an O-line that’s been dismantled by injuries. Locker needs all his receivers to help him get rid of that ball fast. Who better to do so than a guy who’s supposed to be one of the biggest playmakers on this offense?
Another week has passed, meaning the Titans have had that much more time to adjust the offense to Dowell Loggains liking and to just become more familiar with changes in place. Hopefully that means we’ll see a more productive offense that tests the deep ball more often. It’s impossible to say right now.
Insane to think we’re this deep into the season and the Titans offense still has no rhythm… Just insane.
You can find me on Twitter @JustinLStewart