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Thursday, December 6, 2012
Baby steps forward for Titans defense

By Paul Kuharsky

One of the things head coach Mike Munchak is going to have to sell Titans owner Bud Adams on once the season is over is that Tennessee is improving.

The team has given up fewer points in the past three games -- 3, 24 and 24 -- after yielding 34 points a game over the first nine weeks of the season.

That’s progress.

Less noticeable is improved play on third down.

The Titans point out that over the past month, the defense has allowed its opponents to convert 13 third downs on 44 attempts. The opponents’ third-down percentage (29.5) ranks fifth in the NFL during that time frame behind only Denver (a ridiculous 16.7 percent), Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and San Francisco. Houston is sixth at 31.7 percent.

After the 51-20 loss to the Bears on Nov. 4, the Titans ranked 31st in third-down defense. They’ve climbed all the way to 22nd since then. That’s a pretty good gain.

It’s the sort of gain Munchak may be left to hang his hat on. If Munchak is safe, will he be trying to use said hat hook to help defensive coordinator Jerry Gray stick around?