While the Tennessee Titans offense sputters, the defense has improved tremendously and is carrying the team.
Thanks to a really bad performance against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, the central topic of discussion surrounding the Tennessee Titans this week is the team’s offense. The unit really has not been very good all season.
The running game has been available at times, but it hasn’t gotten close to touching the success of last season. Quarterback Marcus Mariota has looked miserable for good chunks of the season, and he boasts a putrid 10:14 TD:INT ratio.
As a result, many Titans fans, perhaps rashly, want change. There is currently a petition on change.org with nearly 1,000 signatures asking for offensive coordinator Terry Robiskie to be relieved of his duties.
This negative attention for the Titans’ offense is certainly warranted. However, what gets lost in all of this muckiness is the fact that the Titans’ defense has been one of the best units in the NFL. They’re a big reason why this team will likely end up in the playoffs.
Still led by 80-year-old defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau, the Titans’ defense has steadily improved over the course of this season. After a bit of a slow start, particularly in the pass rush department, the unit has exploded over the last three games.
Every time they were on the field, the front seven harassed quarterbacks Jacoby Brissett, Tom Savage, and Blaine Gabbert. The Titans totaled twenty sacks in those three games, twice tying the franchise record with eight in a single game.
The intense pressure prevented opponents from getting first downs and allowed the Titans’ defense to hold each of them to under 17 points.
The Titans’ run defense has also been stellar as of late. This season, they have allowed the fifth-fewest rushing yards in the NFL. Opponents average a meager 3.6 yards per carry when facing Tennessee.
Additionally, the secondary has been very solid. Less than a year removed from fielding a disastrous unit led by names like Perrish Cox and Valentino Blake, the Titans’ secondary has become one of the NFL’s most consistent.
No team has allowed fewer plays of twenty yards or more this season than the Titans. This is due in large part to the emergence of young stars Adoree’ Jackson and Kevin Byard, and the addition of steady veteran Logan Ryan through free agency.
You may not like the offense, but you cannot deny that the Titans’ defense has played stellar football. Perhaps the most impressive thing about the unit is that their success has come without a single player, save maybe Byard, playing at a super high level.
Nobody really flashes, but everyone does their job. That, not having the freaky pass rusher or the shutdown cornerback, is the key to true success in the NFL.
If the offense is able to turn things around, and the Titans are finally able to play complementary football, this could be a dangerous football team in January.