The Titans Defense Needs Adoree Jackson… and a lot more
One week after allowing a career game to Jacksonville’s rookie running back James Robinson, the Titans defense gave up a career game to another rookie— Minnesota’s receiver Justin Jefferson, who hit career highs in receptions, yards, and touchdowns in Week 3.
After combining for five receptions and 70 yards through his first two games as a pro, Jefferson had what might have been a breakout game against the Titans. Seven catches, 175 yards, and the first receiving touchdown of his career. If it wasn’t clear already, the Titans are desperately missing their best cornerback Adoree Jackson, who has missed the first three games of the season with an injury.
But these issues on defense go far deeper than working Jackson back into the rotation. Sure, Jackson might have been able to keep Jefferson from looking like Randy Moss, but this is a defensive unit that needs more help than just Jackson can provide.
The run defense has ranged from soft to non-existent, allowing nearly 200 yards on the ground to Dalvin Cook in Week 3. The pass-rush, while talented and occasionally able to disrupt the play, have struggled still to bring the quarterback down. And even if Jackson can help in coverage, Malcolm Butler (who was responsible for covering Jefferson for most of the game) has had his own share of struggles in locking down receivers.
At this point in his career, Mike Vrabel has done more than enough to earn the benefit of the doubt when it comes to his role as head coach. But through three weeks of the season, he might be on the hot seat as a defensive play-caller.