Tennessee Titans: Offense Will Take More Time to Develop than Defense

FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13: Delanie Walker
FOXBOROUGH, MA - JANUARY 13: Delanie Walker /

Multiple reports out of training camp have indicated the Tennessee Titans defense has the edge over the work-in-progress, revamped offensive design built by OC Matt LaFleur.

Here is why it’s not a cause for concern just yet.


Unlike the Titans offensive personnel, the defense has had all their guys available. The offense is trying to execute an offense with some of their cornerstone pieces unavailable. The top two receivers – Corey Davis and Rishard Matthews – aren’t on the field.

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QB Marcus Mariota’s safety blanket, Delanie Walker, continues to bring reliability and the intensity he brings to the practice field is identical to what he brings every Sunday.

Without his full arsenal of an already thin receiving group, Mariota and the rest of the offense cannot function as a whole. The unit is the sum of all its active parts – and two key cogs are not active.

The offensive line is also missing both book end tackles that serve as the stabilizing force in the trenches. With Jack Conklin in recovery and Taylor Lewan leveraging for a new deal, the offensive line is not at full strength, thus handicapping the offense as more pressure is allowed that would be had both Conklin and Lewan been suited up.

The benefit of the absences of Conklin and Lewan give more live reps to newly added offensive linemen Kevin Pamphile and Xavier Su’a Filo. Pamphile is known to play any position on the line, but it’s uncertain if Filo is as flexible and only isolated to playing interior spots.

Defensive Upgrades

The Titans defense made some big time upgrades via the draft and free agency. The addition of Malcom Butler seems to be working well for the secondary.

Rookie additions of LB Rashaan Evans and OLB Harold Landry will provide a youthful surge of energy. Both of the top selections are still finding their place in the defense and are being coached into the role they will have for the team.

The defense have all their best players in place and are taking advantage of a Titans offense missing some pieces.

The secondary group is emulating the intensity provided by defensive back coach Kerry Coombs. Coombs clearly wants his group playing “fast and aggressive” and is the driving force behind what could be a special group.

Offensively, the Titans did upgrade the running back position by adding Dion Lewis and the addition of Akrum Wadley could push for the RB3 spot.

That being said, since the TItans didn’t have Davis or Matthews lined up to truly test the secondary, the defensive dominance should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Execution vs Reaction

The central reason in the defense outperforming the offense boils down to execution vs reaction. Yes, execution and reaction play a huge role in both an efficient offense and defense. However, the amount emphasized in each varies.

Offensively, the unit is in the gray area of learning new concepts, terminology and overall schemes. The group is tasked, not only with having a firm grasp of the concepts, but also the task of executing the plays at the highest efficiency in order to be successful.

This is difficult, to put it mildly. Mariota and the offense are processing information while at the same time retrieving and recalling the new material they have been taught. Thus far, the offense is about where it could be expected – even more so with some of their key pieces being absent.

It will not run like a well-oiled machine right out the gate.

Defense is primarily a reaction-based model. Yes, I believe the group was also introduced to new concepts, but at its core, there is likely a primitive-base – stop the offense from moving the ball. No matter what defensive front the group uses, the defense is tasked with finding the football and making a stop.

The defense heads into the break knowing they got the best of the offense, at least according to reports. Training camp will help reveal a little more about both the offense and the defense, respectively.