Tennessee Titans: Week 5 Pro Football Focus Grades

NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 27: Wesley Woodyard
NASHVILLE, TN - OCTOBER 27: Wesley Woodyard /

Notable Week 5 Pro Football Focus grades for the Tennessee Titans.

Coming into Week 5, there were two major factors that were important to help the Tennessee Titans come out on top. The first was the defense as a whole needing to improve; Houston putting up 57 points is unacceptable if the Titans want to win the AFC South. The second was relying on DeMarco Murray and Derrick Henry to help relieve some pressure from Matt Cassel.

After watching the game, what stood out to me aside from Brett Kern’s outstanding performance, was the defense. Some experts are questioning if it was the Titans’ good play or just how bad the Dolphins offense really is. Based on Pro Football Focus’ Week 5 grades, the Titans’ defense really shined.

Week 5 Top Performers:

LB Wesley Woodyard: 86 overall grade
DL DaQuan Jones: 82 overall grade
S Kevin Byard: 81 overall grade
LB Avery Williamson: 81 overall grade
CB Adoree’ Jackson: 80 overall grade

The veteran Woodyard continues to have a Pro Bowl year and  is clearly one of the best defenders on the roster. Through five weeks, PFF has Woodyard ranked as the fifth-best linebacker in the NFL and playing at an elite level. What continues to stand out is Woodyard’s run and coverage defense, recording an 82 and 84 overall grade in those categories, respectively.

DaQuan Jones is another player that has been performing at an above average level in the run game for the Titans. He recorded an 87 grade in overall run defense and his performance did not go unnoticed. As Greg Cosell stated on the Midday 180, Jones continues to flash with strength and quickness.

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Kevin Byard is another player that seems to always be in the top performers list for the Titans. Byard continues to show that he is the best player in the secondary and continues to impress in run defense. Byard recorded two great run stops and in Week 5 recorded a 90 overall gtade in run defense.

Avery Williamson has had his ups and downs through five weeks, lacking the ability to show he can be a three-down player for the Titans. This was a dominant run-stopping performance for Williamson, recording an 88 overall grade, which was second behind only Byard. He still continues to struggle in coveragem recording a 46 grade.

Finally, Week 5 was the week that showed Jackson continues to improve. Thus far, Jackson has had up and down weeks, and this week,the defense was going up against a good receiving corps in Miami. Jackson was targeted five times and only allowed two catches for 15 yards and a passer rating of 47.9. It has taken a few weeks, but Jackson is making strides.

Week 5 Notable Performances:

HB DeMarco Murray (46 Overall Grade) & Derrick Henry (35 Overall Grade)

Two players that I believed the Titans needed to rely on heavily to help Matt Cassel and this offense. Well, the ground game was not effective in Week 5 whatsoever. Murray fumbled, which is very rare, and Henry just wasn’t able to get in rhythm. A big stat here is that on 18 attempts, both bruising backs only created two missed tackles. If the Titans want to identify themselves as a run-first team, both of these backs need to improve.

QB Matt Cassel (74 Overall Grade)

Cassel’s lacking arm strength showed on Sunday and it looked to me that he was only looking at his first read or throwing it away. Looking at the stat line for Cassel, he was 5 for 9 on passes over 10 yards and 16 for 18 on passes under 10. He was making smart veteran decisions with the ball.  If Cassel has to play again, I think the same game plan will occur: one read routes and not too many shots down field. But we hope he doesn’t need to step on the field Monday night.

OL Jack Conklin (42 Overall Grade)

Conklin continues to have a sophomore slump, but to his credit, the Titans have faced some tough competition. We know that his struggles have come from pass protection, but what stood out to me was his run grade of 47. That is a huge shock to me because he has been dominated in this category through four games. The offensive line had a rough week, but hopefully they will bounce back against an average front seven.

DT Jurrell Casey (51 Overall Grade)

Arguably the Titans’ best defender, Jurrell Casey has had a few rough weeks and was looking to get back to his normal dominant self until Week 5 came. In Week 5m he took a step back, especially in the run game, grading in at a 44. This will need to change quickly, as the Colts will force feed both of their running backs to help their QB.  As we know, the Titans did get a ton of pressures on Cutler, even though it did not result in sacks. Casey continues to grade out positively in pass rush, and this week graded out at a 72 in this category. The Titans play a weak offense line on Monday, so we hope that Casey and company can have success.

Week 6

Knowing the results now, in back to back games, it has been rough to watch. It is obvious that the Titans need Marcus Mariota to get this offense going and all signs are pointing in the right direction for him. The NFL is a week to week league and it is time to move on to Week 6. PFF has projected both the offensive and defensive lineups for the Titans.