Tennessee Titans Second Half Dominance Reflected in Trenches

NASHVILLE, TN- SEPTEMBER 10: Tight end Delanie Walker #82 of the Tennessee Titans catches the ball against the Oakland Raiders in the second half game at Nissan Stadium on September 10, 2017 In Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) )
NASHVILLE, TN- SEPTEMBER 10: Tight end Delanie Walker #82 of the Tennessee Titans catches the ball against the Oakland Raiders in the second half game at Nissan Stadium on September 10, 2017 In Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) ) /

The Tennessee Titans offensive and defensive line were key in sparking a huge second half in the win against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

There was a huge sigh of relief after the Tennessee Titans did a complete 360 in the second half of their Week 2 match up against the divisional rival Jacksonville Jaguars. At first, the Jaguars’ highly talented and overpriced defense showed some flashes of dominance, but it was the Titans who came out on top. The Titans offense went back to its roots and pounded the ball down the stout Jags defense’s throat. This was reflected within the top Titans Pro Football Focus performance grades:

Top 5 Week 2 Performances:

  • TE Delanie Walker, 90.8 Overall grade
  • RG Josh Kline, 86.3 Overall grade
  • LT Taylor Lewan, 80.7 Overall grade
  • DL DaQuan Jones, 80.9 Overall Grade
  • RB Derrick Henry, 80.1 Overall Grade

Two out of the five top performers were offensive linemen, and the best player for the Titans was once again Mr. Walker. Jones has been quietly playing well for the Titans the last few games and is a very good piece to the Titans defensive front seven. Lastly, Henry had a career game and it showed that he can be a workhorse for the Titans. Even with the win and great performances, there are always players who will need to improve their games, below are the Pro Football focus worst performers for the Titans:

5 Worst Performers

  • Jayon Brown, 40.0 Overall Grade
  • Adoree’ Jackson, 40.2 Overall Grade
  • Jack Conklin, 43.3 Overall Grade
  • DeMarco Murray, 40.0 Overall Grade
  • Aaron Wallace, 45.1 Overall Grade

Two players have been on the worst performers list in the last two weeks: Conklin and Jackson. I will touch upon both players later, but this might have some fans worrying. Brown played well at times and will continue to develop as he gets more playing reps; I am not too worried as this is the second game of his career. Wallace is a second-year player who has minimal playing experience, and as he continues to get reps, he will continue to get better. A player who has scared me a bit is Murray, who has looked off and not as explosive compared to last year and you can see that in his numbers, but also his lack of carries these past two games. The question a lot of fans are asking: is Henry taking the starting role?

Tennessee Titans
Tennessee Titans /

Tennessee Titans

With a very difficult first half of football to watch then the explosion of points in the second half, there were number of players who stood out to me, and their Pro Football Focus grades reflect that.


  • TE Delanie Walker, 90.8 Overall Grade

PFF game ball winner and best player for the Titans, Delanie Walker. Again, another standout performance from him. His run blocking is truly underrated, scoring an 86.5 grade. Not only dominating in the run game, his receiving skills showed again, grading at an 85.7. I think the Titans need to continue to utilize Walker and use him heavily.

  • QB Marcus Mariota, 73.2 Overall Grade

The only knock on Marcus was the mistake where it looked like him and Jonnu Smith were not on the same page, resulting in an interception. He was able to bounce back and had two deep ball throws that really made the day, one to Walker and the diving catch to Taywan Taylor. Mariota worked the ball downfield and ended 8-for-10 on throws over 10 yards.

  • HB Derrick Henry, 80.1 Overall Grade

Ranking as the seventh-best running back in Week 2, this was Henry’s best game as a pro, racking up 92 yards and a touchdown. Henry was a busier, running over and exposing defenders. This will be the talk of the week: does Henry overtake the starting running back position? We will see but I think the one-two punch we have going will continue to wear down defenses.

  • DE Jurrell Casey, 51.1 Overall grade

This grade is odd to me, as it is a huge drop-off from original overall grade of 85.3. Casey played well in pass rush situations with a 73.3 grade, as he had a half of sack and a few hurries. His run grade was a 42.7, but he had a few good run stops. Two bad games in a row is rare and I think we will see Casey continue to get better throughout the year.

  • Taywan Taylor, 71.2 Overall Grade

The rookie doubled his snap count from Week 1 and I think he will continue to be on the field frequently for the Titans. Taylor had a great diving catch downfield and also a good run after coming back from an ankle injury earlier in the game. This shows his toughness and that he is a speed demon. Taylor will be an exciting player to watch.

  • Austin Johnson, 70.7 Overall Grade

The second-year player got some major snaps this week and it showed why he needs to continue to get on the field. Johnson had a few good pressures, but he really showed his great run-stuffing ability, accumulating a run grade of 72.5.

  • Kevin Byard, 73.5 Overall Grade

Byard continues to stand out to me in the run game, scoring a 64.3 in run defense, but he also played well in pass coverage with a 69.9 grade. I will continue to watch Byard grow into the safety role. He will have another challenge coming up against a much better wide receiving corps.

Played Well but Horrible Grade

Three players to me stood out and I would have thought  graded out pretty well, but I was completely wrong.

  • CB Adoree’ Jackson, 40.2 Overall Grade

Jackson was targeted six times and gave up four catches for 42 yards. To me, that does not sound horrible at all. He looked much more comfortable and he almost had his first interception. Adoree’ will continue to get better each game and after two it looks like he will. Jackson is an electric football player and can change the game with his return ability. He will be an exciting player to watch this year.

  • WR Eric Decker, 47.1 Overall Grade

Decker is still getting in the swing of things with Mariota and it looked like the connection was getting there. On five targets, Decker had three receptions for 35 yards. Decker is still working his way back from injury and trying to get chemistry with Mariota. I think he will still be another tool in the tool belt, particularly in the red zone and third downs.

  • Brian Orakpo, 48.6 Overall Grade

Five tackles, a sack and a forced fumble that led to the Titans getting the ball back. Overall, Orakpo stood out to me, but graded as a poor performer. His coverage grade was a 79.7, run grade was a 37.5 and pass rush grade was a 51.5. Crazy to think that as good as Orakpo performed, his grade did not reflect this.

Horrible Performances

Two key players for the Titans that struggled and I just hope their play will continue to get better.

  • Jack Conklin, Overall 40.3

All of the starting linemen had an overall rating of 73 or higher, other that Conklin. Similar to last week, Conklin struggled in pass blocking with a grade of 35.7 and, yes, the Jaguars do have a good line, but there isn’t a player like Khalil Mack on this team. Again similar to last week, Conklin dominated in run blocking with an overall grade of 83.6, tied for the highest on the starting offensive line. We know his run blocking ability is great, but he needs to continue to get better as a pass blocker. Titans play another great front seven with the Seattle Seahawks coming to town.

  • DeMarco Murray, Overall 40.0

Murray had a hat on with his helmet on the bench as the Titans started their first series in the fourth quarter. It was said that his hamstring was bothering him, but if he was needed, he could have played. Even during the first few drives, Murray just seemed off, not as explosive or powerful like last year. As we know, Henry benefited and dominated.  I think the last two weeks’ performances from Murray have shown signs of age. Going into a week where the Titans need to dominate this Seahawks defense with a heavy dose of running, let’s hope Murray can fix his wrongs to get back to his old form.