Will Dick LeBeau return the Tennessee Titans D to the zone


Will Dick LeBeau go back to what he knows best with the Tennessee Titans?

The man is a Hall of Fame coach and player for his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers, but what will he do this year with the Tennessee Titans?

The man of course is Dick LeBeau, defensive coordinator behind some of the best defenses in the modern era. So when I say on Twitter that LeBeau should have done something else, know that he is a million times smarter than I am.

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Now that I have that out of the way, we need to talk about what the Titans will do this season.

There is a lot of concern about the defensive backs, even more so now that we know LeShaun Sims is hampered by an injury and may not play.

While that is great news for Adoree Jackson fans who want to see him on the field, it is potentially bad news unless they are really comfortable with Tye Smith and Kalan Reed coming into a game if there is another injury.

In the last half of the season, the Titans decided to go with more of a man-coverage look. I believe that was largely to send pressure in a way where the new players would have major breakdowns in coverage.

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  • With a healthy group of defensive backs that should all be well versed in the concepts now, will fans see more zone concepts?

    The zone blitz was infamously popularized by Dick LeBeau, and this team can actually do it now.

    What I mean is, before you had stiff, rigid EDGE players who would struggle in coverage. Behind them, you didn’t really have a stud LB or a proven safety that could help with the more difficult jobs.

    That isn’t the case now. On the EDGE, guys like Josh Carraway, Aaron Wallace, Brian Orakpo, and Eric Walden can all drop into coverage at a decent level. That lets you send overload blitzes, stunts or whatever you want to see knowing that you don’t have essentially defensive ends dropping into coverage.

    This means that you can send pressure and disguise concepts in a way that won’t expose a guy to real one-on-one coverage. You never want a guy one-on-one if you have a way to get him to play underneath coverage with help over the top.

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    If you can manage to get pressure AND trick the QB into throwing into double coverage, you are going to be a very good defense in the NFL.

    I don’t know if Dick LeBeau will get back to that considering the team did have more success last year with man coverage. However, with the help at EDGE, Jayon Brown, Wesley Woodyard, and Kevin Byard there could be some real upside to going back to more zone looks.

    At the end of the day you have to defer to the master, but I really hope that they mix up the coverage well enough to fool Oakland and the rest of the teams on this slate.

    If they can do that and keep games under 25 points or so, this offense looks like it can do enough to beat that mark consistently. Turnovers and big plays are what win on defense in the NFL, now we get to see exactly what this defense can do in those categories.