Through the first two weeks of the season, Molden has played the sixth-most snaps on defense. That is more than Harold Landry, Arden Key, Jack Gibbens, and Denico Autry along with a few other starters.
In Week 1, he spent most of his time on the field as a dime linebacker, meaning that he was the sixth DB on the field with Kevin Byard, Amani Hooker, Kristian Fulton, Roger McCreary, and Sean Murphy-Bunting all in their normal positions. Those five stayed in their spots while he swapped out with Jack Gibbens in the box.
This allows the Tennessee Titans to be faster, disguise coverage better, and be less predictable when the offense is behind the sticks.
Against the L.A. Chargers in Week 2, Molden spent much more time as a traditional safety due to Amani Hooker's concussion. However, with Hooker potentially set to return on Sunday, it should mean that Molden will revert back to his dime linebacker position.
What Elijah Molden does in that position, could determine the outcome of the Tennessee Titans Week 3 matchup against the Cleveland Browns.
Why Elijah Molden is crucial or the Tennessee Titans
Ever since the blockbuster trade that sent Deshaun Watson to the Cleveland Browns, Watson has been...bad. How bad? Well, he is 4-4 as a starter, he is throwing touchdowns and interceptions at the exact same rate (2.9% each), he ANY/A is just 5.7 yards, and he has a 76.2 quarterback rating.
One reason why he is struggling is because he is getting sacked on 10.8% of his dropbacks. In their game against the Pittsburgh Steelers without Jack Conklin, that number shot up to 15%.
Defenses have found that if you bring pressure against Watson, he has developed a tendency to hold on to the ball for too long and to try to make plays that aren't there instead of living for the next down. To that end, in each game an off-ball linebacker or a blitzing defensive back have gotten to Watson for a sack.
As a rookie, Molden was actually very good as a blitzer, and given the success that other teams have had in this situation, it makes perfect sense for him to be involved in several blitzes on Sunday designed to give him a free shot at the quarterback.
The Tennessee Titans have some positive momentum right now and they can really build a head of steam if they are able to go on the road to win against the Cleveland Browns on Sunday. To do that, they have to be able to pressure Watson and while the Tennessee Titans defensive front is borderline elite, it never hurts to have help from a few smart play calls.