Should the Titans take a look?
The Tennessee Titans are on pace for their second-worst scoring defense in the last four decades.
One player isn’t going to fix that, but looking back it does make sense that one player might have caused it. Through no fault of his own, Adoree Jackson got hurt days before the Titans opened their season against the Denver Broncos.
If you read between the lines a little bit and look at what the Titans have tried to do at times this year, it looks like Jackson was a key piece to the defense. Filling in the blanks, it looks like his role was going to be to match and erase the other team’s speed receiver.
When he got hurt, my guess is that Mike Vrabel and Shane Bowen panicked and completely scrapped that defense to the more conservative and…well terrible defense that we have seen most weeks.
Adoree Jackson is supposed to come back soon and Breon Borders has actually played well when the team finally gave him a chance. The problem is that the Titans are going to end up one injury away from being in this situation again if Jackson gets hurt again at some point this season. N
With depth at cornerback clearly an issue, maybe it is time to look for help in free agency. In fact,
one of the names being floated around as a trade target before the deadline actually just got cut.
I’m not suggesting that Desir is going to come in and help make the Titans defense great, but he is listed at 6’1 and there is something interesting about his usage.
Remember, when the Titans panic they shift into a defense where cornerbacks switch from matching with receivers to a defense where they play sides of the field. For example, Malcolm Butler played 59 snaps on the right side of the field last week and 0 snaps on the left side.
If the concern is that Adoree Jackson might not be fully healthy or that you don’t want to be one more injury away from panic mode again, bringing in Desir has the added benefit of bringing in another cornerback who has played this style of defense.
More specifically, this season Desir played 454 snaps on the left side of the field and just 1 snap on the right side.
The dream is that Desir would never have to see the field, but it would be much more reassuring if the Titans had a plan on how to use their cornerbacks from week to week.
But what about Borders?
Now a good argument is that Borders should be next man up considering how he has played. However, common sense doesn’t really exist in the Titans defensive coaching staff which is why they haven’t settled on a way to use him.
Against the Bears, Butler took Allen Robinson, Desmond King played the slot, and that left Breon Broders to cover the “other” receiver (Darnell Mooney). That worked well.
Last week against the Colts, the Titans panicked and went back to their boundary defense. That did not work well.
Clearly, decision-making is not the strong suit of this staff, so it is Jon Robinson’s job to make it easy on them. Hiring Desir means that he can be the de facto boundary cornerback opposite Malcolm Butler in case of emergencies, while hopefully, Adoree Jackson can allow them to play man-to-man.
Then Borders reverts to break-glass-in-case-of-emergency status as a potential man-to-man cornerback if they like that scheme but don’t have Adoree. Win-win.