Safety will decide Tennessee Titans playoff game

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 03: Johnathan Cyprien
NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 03: Johnathan Cyprien /

Safety is the key position in the Tennessee Titans matchup against the Kansas City Chiefs.

Quarterback, running back, wide receiver, offensive line, etc. You will hear a lot of positions talked about in today’s game, but the one that isn’t getting enough attention is safety.

There are three players that the Titans have that should see some time at safety today and they should all have very distinct roles.

Like every other position group, Tennessee’s coaches need to emphasize what these players do best and figure out a way to attack the opposing offensive the correct way.

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Against a creative coaching staff with a lot of talent, it is going to take a good gameplan to come away with a win. This is how I would use those safeties.

All Pro Kevin Byard: Playmaker

When you need a big play, Kevin Byard is usually somewhere to be found. This game should be no exception for Tennessee.

I think you start off alternating Byard between over the top coverage vs a deep threat like Tyreek Hill. However, limiting him to just this would waste his talent.

Another obvious way to use him is to put him in some man coverage against Travis Kelce. The Titans need someone who can match up with their best player one-on-one and Byard may be able to do that.

Where I think they really need him as almost as a “rover”, because if Alex Smith reverts back to what he has done his whole career then you can expect a lot of short passes.

Whether that means that Byard needs to drive on some swing passes to Kareem Hunt or if he is just looking to peel off and make a play, the Titans need to be creative in the way that they use him.

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    I think any time we see a down and distance of more than 2 yards, there is no way that Cyp and Avery Williamson should be on the field. This is even more clear on a team with as many creative horizontal and vertical plays as Kansas City.

    Where Cyp could be amazing is as a blitzer or as a spy against Alex Smith.

    The Titans should find where Kelce is lining up and put Cyp right on top of him. The idea behind this is that if Kelce doesn’t stay in to help block there will be a free rusher coming right at him.

    Another great way to use him is to put him directly in front of Alex Smith and let him run some zone coverage in the middle of the field. If Alex Smith takes off one way or another, then Cyp should trail him and try to catch him throwing across his body or  take him down in the backfield.

    DaNorris Searcy: Hybrid safety

    Searcy is a name that we haven’t talked about in a while, but in his time as a starter he did a pretty good job in coverage and in run support. I think he is probably the most well balanced safety on the roster, not named Kevin Byard.

    Searcy could be used as a “strong safety” that really did more in coverage than the average strong safety. He could be used to cover Hill over the top if the Titans wanted to do something with Byard vs Kelce.

    Not only that, but if the Titans wanted a three safety look where they showed Cover-3 and then rolled coverage presnap and went to a single high look with Byard playing FS and Searcy/Cyp either blitzing in playing some man, it would be a great disguise.

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    Bonus, Kalan Reed: Wildcard

    I don’t even know if he will be active today, but I would love to see if Reed could come in and play some safety or just as an unspecified fifth DB.

    The Titans showed last week that they were confident in letting him play, having him active in the biggest contest of their season.

    Reed has the coverage ability of a cornerback, but in the preseason he looked good in some safety looks. With a year of practice under his belt, Reed could be an interesting wild card.