Red zone defense
Under Dean Pees, the Titans gave up plenty of yards between the 20-yard lines. Yet, it honestly didn’t matter since Tennessee’s red zone defense was fantastic. Over and over again, they would find ways to force opposing offenses to settle for field goals or create turnovers.
This season is a different story. The Titans are giving up five more points per game this year and it’s coming against weaker opponents. The Texans and Jaguars had their season-high scoring total against us while the Vikings had their second-best showing, all three teams who currently have one win each.
After Pees retired, Tennessee went an unconventional route and split up the defensive coordinator responsibilities between Vrabel and other positional coaches. Vrabel’s one season in Houston as the defensive coordinator was a disaster, to say the least. Thus far into the season, it looks to be trending down as well.
I bring this up to say that at some point, the entire defensive mindset may need a restructure. If Vrabel can stop the bleeding in the red zone, then this is no concern. Otherwise, Vrabel must reflect and think about bringing in someone available or giving a full defensive gameplan to someone else.
In the meantime, Tennessee needs better play from the inside linebackers. Jayon Brown and Rashaan Evans had better games against the Steelers, but have looked much less impressive than last year. Evans has been wonderful as a run-stopping linebacker while Brown has shown an amazing knack for covering the middle of the field. The duo flourished in the red zone in completely taking away the field.
Brown seemed to be deployed in coverage more against the Steelers and that needs to continue. There is talent on this defense, particularly in the secondary and linebacking crew to hold up against passing threats. The Titans have enough on the roster to make the changes and improvements to continue their hot streak.