Jurrell Casey says Tennessee Titans gameplan was “bend don’t break”
By Will Lomas
Tennessee Titans played conservatively on defense and it hurt them again.
Last week Tennessee Titans saw the glorious return of a 2018 Dean Pees game plan, but against the Kansas City Chiefs they got more of the 2019 version.
If you haven’t been keeping up with my Twitter or following what I have written about Pees this year, I’ll try to boil down the difference quickly.
In 2018, Pees was great at playing aggressively and sending blitzes that put his best players in good position to make plays. For example, in 2018 Jurrell Casey had 7 sacks, Jayon Brown had 6, and Logan Ryan had 4.
The reason that happened was because the Titans weren’t afraid to bring pressure from different angles and when that pressure was picked up it usually mean that someone like Casey was left in an advantageous situation.
In 2019, Pees shifted to an ultra conservative game plan rushing just three or four on crucial 3rd and 4th downs. Not just in the playoffs, but all throughout the season he relied on a pass rush that almost always won immediately or not at all instead of helping by sending blitzes.
The results were terrible with drops or near conversions being the results in so many of these situations.
Against the Baltimore Ravens the Titans made a clear effort to take away what Lamar Jackson does best which is run the ball. They stretched him horizontally and they forced him to make tough throws against talented defensive backs. He didn’t and the Titans found themselves in the AFC Championship Game.
Then this week against the Kansas City Chiefs in the most important game they have had in nearly two decades, he shifted back to the mindset of “bend don’t break” and if those words don’t make you cringe, then you haven’t seen enough Titans football.
That isn’t conjecture either, that is straight from the mouth of Jurrell Casey (who was just announced as a Pro Bowler):
As we saw, the defense broke and shattered allowing Patrick Mahomes to do whatever he wanted. It was so obvious that even in the second quarter I could tell you exactly what Mahomes was going to do when the ball was snapped even if the CBS crew tried to make it sound more exotic than it was.
It really was that simple because the Titans desperate attempt to get tricky and confuse offensive linemen was to stunt guys like Jurrell Casey, Daquan Jones and Jeffery Simmons from the A or B-gap and slam Kamalei Correa and Harold Landry inside for some reason.
More from Titan Sized
- Tennessee Titans suspiciously quiet about major draft need
- Tennessee Titans agree to new deal with star Jeffery Simmons
- Caesars Promo Code Expires Soon – Claim $1,250 Today
- 3 needs that are being overblown by Tennessee Titans fans
- Tennessee Titans have potential dilemmas in 2023 NFL Draft
The result was an incredibly simple defense to read with no pressure to throw a pass you didn’t want to. When in doubt all Mahomes had to do was tuck it and “hope” that he was going to outrun a gassed DT to the sideline.
I want to give a ton of credit to the Chiefs defense for stopping Derrick Henry and to Mahomes, Travis Kelce and Tyreek Hill for being huge mismatches. Having said that, the Titans never really gave themselves a chance in this game because Pees was relying on the offense to score every drive and hoped that his defense would be able to hold the Chiefs to field goals with that gameplan.
It is hard to watch the Titans season end after such an amazing turn around and fans should be extremely proud of a team that everyone wanted to bury after 2-4. However, it is a true shame that they went out praying for mistakes instead of going out swinging.