W, @ Kansas City 26-10
L, Dallas 26-10
L, @ Cincinnati 33-7
L, @ Indianapolis 41-17
L, Cleveland 29-28
W, Jacksonville 16-14
L, Washington 19-17
*Both teams lost to Dallas and Indianapolis *Texans beat Washington, Titans lost to Washington
Rush Yards allowed per game: 123.7 ypg (22nd)
Pass Yards allowed per game: 247.9 ypg (21st)
Total offense allowed per game: 371.6 ypg (20th)
Points allowed per game: 24.6 ppg (23rd)
Key Defensive Personnel
**Starting S No. 31 Bernard Pollard is out for the season
DE - No. 99 Jurell Casey...quicker than he is stout...can run down the line of scrimmage...the type of player that must be accounted for on every play...a little bit ill suited for this defense...is a prototype 4-3 "3" technique but he'll still be around the ball in the run game...leads the Titans with 4.0 sacks.
Edge - No. 91 Derrick Morgan...more suited to play 4-3 DE...decent pass rush skills...will rush the edge more than he will drop in coverage...heavier edge player...won't win with speed but good hand placement and strength.
NT - No. 94 Sammie Hill...quick for a 325 pound defensive lineman...will penetrate and play upfield...will wear out over time...doesn't present a true pass rush, but Chris Myers and his two guards must control his penetration and quickness.
LB - No. 59 Wesley Woodyard...former Denver Bronco...run and hit backer, as opposed to a gap plugging one...defensive line must keep him clean...good instincts and solid in coverage
Scheme notes and other thoughts
-- Base: 3-4 base, hybrid one/two gap defense (similar to Seattle's)
-- Will play some double eagle front (move DT/DE in as 3-techniques, widen linebackers
-- Coverage-wise, they'll run the gamut from cover 1 to multiple zone looks (including some cover 6 - quarter, quarter, half). Teams ran the ball well on them when they showed two safeties high, in large part because the Titans played a S at the only LB spot.
-- When in dime, the Browns ran right at them and forced them out of that look to put their base unit on the field.
-- One look I respect (and hate to see v. the Texans) is a delayed safety blitz. S No. 33 Michael Griffin follows behind the linebacker blitzing in the B gap. They'll overload one side (in this case, twisting a DT into that side as well. Then, the LB shoots the B gap. The RB picks up the LB and Griffin runs unabated to the QB.
-- They can run and fly down the line of scrimmage - cutbacks, counters may be the way to go. Cleveland used a bunch of bootleg on them and QB had nothing but time and a clear windows to throw the ball unabated.
-- Playing a rookie at LB - Avery Williamson, a fifth rounder. Loved him coming out of Kentucky and was overlooked by many. Titans found a multi-year starter with Williamson. Quick to the ball and a good tackler at the point of attack.
-- Griffin can be a liability in coverage, more often than he needs to be. Runs hot and cold to be honest. He'll create a few big plays but give up a bunch, especially in coverage.
-- Pretty good in man v. double move at the corner position, surprisingly so to be honest.
-- The defensive front will tire and when it does, they'll open the back door on cutback runs off of outside zone plays.
-- If this group is on the field for 5-7 plays, it starts to show signs of fatigue and gives up chunks of yardage.
-- On a special teams note, KR Leon Washignton is one of the best the league has seen and is still capable of reeling off a big return at any time. Titans return teams haven't been extraordinary but Washington's speed can exploit just one guy out of his lane on kickoff return.
Rush Yards per game: 110.4 ypg (17th)
Pass Yards per game: 209.9 ypg (28th)
Total offense per game: 320.3 ypg (27th)
**Points per game: 17.3 ppg (28th)
Key Offensive Personnel
**RB No. 23 Shonn Greene is probable but was arrested on Friday night
QB - No. 7 Zach Mettenberger - rookie, starting his first game in the NFL...first start since tearing his ACL v. Arkansas in November 2013… everyone knows of his tremendous arm strength...not mobile at all...will be traditional drop back, throw from the pocket quarterback...must move him off the spot but proved in college that he's not rattled and will take some physical shots to deliver the ball...courageous but hasn't been hit in the mouth by anyone like JJ Watt...yet.
WR - No. 13 Kendall Wright...former Baylor standout...a deep threat that hasn't really, truly been able to go deep a great deal...with Mettenberger (strong arm to go deep) on the field, he could be in more of a role to create mayhem and explosive plays
WR - No. 15 Justin Hunter...inconsistent as all get out...but a big receiver with some juice down the field...the consummate receiver for a big armed QB like Mettenberger
TE - No. 82 Delanie Walker...a jack of all trades, part FB, part TE, part WR...a difficult matchup for the Texans LB and secondary...that said, the Titans don't feature him a ton but against a banged up back seven.
LG - No. 67 Andy Levitre...solid technician...isn't easy to beat but can be overpowered at times...won't drive guys off the ball without some help from Lewan or Schwenke...one of the best guards in the AFC.
**Scheme notes and other thoughts
-- It'll be a little bit of a mystery with Mettenberger under center for the first time. It's not as if the Titans don't have receivers open downfield in the passing game. They can get open but neither Jake Locker nor Charlie Whitehurst had neither the arm and/or the time to find those receivers. Mett has the cannon that can deliver the rock, but will he be able to scan the field and find those players? Will he have the time? Remains to be seen.
-- Offensive line is built to run block and will struggle in pass protection. Individually each guy is capable of winning one-on-one, but still raw enough to get whipped by adequate pass rushers. LT Taylor Lewan is Exhibit A of just that. Against Washington, he got yanked with one arm out of the pass rush path of Brian Orakpo as if he were a 85 lb. Pee Wee player standing in the way of the Gatorade.
-- Levitre is the king of the quick set. He wants to take away the power of DT/NT because he's not overly powerful as a blocker in either run or pass so he won't give ground on the snap in pass protection, set quickly and stun the DT before he can get started. He's good at it, though, but it's key to know that's his tendency when he's covered in the pass game.
-- In the run blocking game, the left side can create some major space in the run game. Whether it's with inside or outside zone, LG Levtire and LT Lewan work well together with combination blocks and can get defensive linemen turned at the line of scrimmage.
-- With a rookie at QB and a more run blocking adept offensive line, RB Bishop Sankey and Greene should see the rock a fair share of the time.
-- Sankey was one of my favorites coming out of the draft in 2014. He runs behind his pads with a little shake and some burst. He runs hard and will be difficult to tackle with the space his OL creates in the run game.
-- Play calling is a bit suspect for the Titans. In the third quarter of the Redskins matchup, they were hammering the Redskins, opening running lanes all over the place. Then on third and two, OC decided to throw the ball?!? They won't do that with a rookie QB - they'll just continue to hammer and put the game on the quintet up front.
-- Redskins threw a few different cross blitzes and brought guys from different angles that the Titans offensive line didn't pick up at all.
-- As a fun note, WR Derek Hagan caught a TD for the Titans to put them up 17-16 in the 4th quarter against Washington. He was analyzing football with me for TV in Houston this past spring, if you can believe that. I wonder if…nah, I'm 42 and way past done.