AFC South: Ellis Lankster
The situation: Third-and-10 from the Buffalo 13-yard line with 12:20 left in the fourth quarter and the score tied, 17-17.
The Titans line up with Nate Washington and Bo Scaife to the left, Kenny Britt and Lavelle Hawkins to the right and Chris Johnson to the left of Vince Young, who’s in shotgun.
Buffalo matches up with its nickel package with Ellis Lankster, Reggie Corner, George Wilson, Drayton Florence and Bryan Scott on the field.
They rush with just their four down linemen.
What I saw unfold after the snap: Johnson heads left and cuts toward the end zone with Scott picking him up.
Jake Scott and Kevin Mawae double team Marcus Stroud and hold him up.
Eugene Amano single blocks John McCargo, who uses a spin move and winds up tugging Amano’s facemask.
Michael Roos pushes Aaron Schobel wide and David Stewart does the same with Chris Kelsay. But the two defensive ends begin to squeeze the back end of the pocket, and Young senses it early and sees room.
Young peers downfield as he scoots up in the pocket, but passes on throwing to Britt, who’s crossed from the right to the middle and is open but only two yards beyond the line of scrimmage.
Paul Posluszny charges up the middle, but quickly loses any advantage in tracking Young as the quarterback slides to his right, gets to full speed and turns the corner to go up the right sideline for the pylon. He starts to lunge and reach for the pylon with the ball at about the 3-yard line with the defender on his left and diving for his legs. Field judge Keith Washington immediately signals that Young didn’t make it into the end zone marking him just short.
Young gets up and signals touchdown. Jeff Fisher challenges, but only because he was calling a timeout anyway to adjust personnel. Referee John Parry upholds the call.
Result: First-and-goal from 1. Johnson scored three plays later, bouncing off a hit behind the line of scrimmage by Scott and Posluszny and heading into the end zone standing from there and Tennessee moves to a 24-17 lead.
Ultimate outcome: The Titans pour it on from there, turning a close game into a 41-17 blowout for their third win in a row.
There will be picks on Saturday and Sunday that prompt brows furrowed into question marks on the faces of fans of the four teams of the AFC South.
So in advance of this weekend's draft, the AFC South Blog is here to warn you: Don't be surprised when the Colts look to cornerback; don't be shocked when the Titans turn to a tight end and/or a defensive end. Should the Texans invest a reasonably high pick in a receiver or the Jaguars dip again in to the pool of defensive ends, they won't be making redundant roster choices.
They'll be thinking more about 2010 than about 2009.
We've discussed the current needs of all four teams a lot in the build-up to the draft. But teams obviously have to look further ahead than that. They can't count on the CBA expiring and the rules of free agency changing. Because if a new labor deal is struck and free agency continues to operate in the fashion we are used to -- with players who've logged at least four years and have expired contracts hitting the free market -- teams have to be prepared to lose people, and they need to have replacements ready.
Some of those potential replacements are already lined up, of course, working as backups. But others must be targeted.
"You're not just drafting for this year, you're drafting for future years too," Titans general manager Mike Reinfeldt said. "You have to have the vision of what they might be in two or three years. ... You're always building depth on your team and you're getting, especially in the later-round guys, traits that can be developed."
Here is a look at the issues teams may be facing in terms of departing free agents in 2010 with some suggestions, courtesy of Scouts. Inc.'s Matt Williamson, on mid- and late-round picks who could fill the holes.