Jacksonville Jaguars: Alterraun Verner

Top free-agent roundup: AFC South

March, 10, 2014
Mar 10
10:00
AM ET
With the 2014 free-agency period starting at 4 p.m. Tuesday, here is a look at top free agents in the AFC South as compiled by reporters Tania Ganguli, Paul Kuharsky, Michael DiRocco and Mike Wells. The top seven free agents are on defense, led by cornerback Vontae Davis of the Colts. Running back Maurice Jones-Drew, a fixture in Jacksonville for the past eight years, is looking for a new team. Is this the end of Antoine Bethea's run in Indianapolis?

1. Vontae Davis, Colts CB: Indianapolis needs a top cornerback to help a defense that finished 20th in the league last season. Davis has shown he has the talent to be one of the top cornerbacks in the league. He just needs to work on his consistency.

2. Alterraun Verner, Titans CB: A smart, aware corner with a knack for getting to the ball, he just lacks top speed and size.

3. Antoine Bethea, Colts S: A reliable player, having started every game he played during his eight years with the Colts. Finished with at least 100 tackles in five of those seasons.

4. Earl Mitchell, Texans NT: Solid player at the point of attack and has shown the ability to get consistent penetration. He had 48 tackles and 1.5 sacks last season.

5. Bernard Pollard, Titans S: Played well as an in-the-box safety and provided the sort of standard-setting leadership the Titans lacked previously. Update: Signed one-year, $2 million deal to remain with Titans.

6. Darryl Sharpton, Texans LB: Led the Texans with 87 tackles but is not as good in coverage as he is against the run.

Smith
7. Antonio Smith, Texans DE: He is more of a run-stuffing defensive end than a pass-rusher, although he did record five sacks in 2013.

8. Ben Tate, Texans RB: He led the Texans with 771 yards rushing. He has been somewhat injury-prone but has produced when needed as Arian Foster's backup.

9. Maurice Jones-Drew, Jaguars RB: Jones-Drew started 15 games and led the Jaguars with 803 yards and five touchdowns rushing. He also caught 43 passes (third on the team) for 314 yards. He got off to a slow start then battled through ankle, hamstring and knee issues and averaged a career-low 3.4 yards per carry.

Brown
10. Donald Brown, Colts RB:
Brown was the Colts’ third running back twice in 2013 only to end the season as the starter. He has the speed but was too inconsistent during his five seasons in Indianapolis.

11. Garrett Graham, Texans TE: He’s not Owen Daniels, but he can line up tight or as a flex tight end. He came into his own as a receiver last season with 49 catches for 545 yards and five TDs.

12. Ahmad Bradshaw, Colts RB: A neck injury limited Bradshaw to only three games last season. It took just those three games for him to show he was the Colts' most effective running back.

13. Ropati Pitoitua, Titans DE: A giant, run-stuffing end who would be a solid, flexible piece in the hybrid front. Update: Signed 3-year, deal for $9.6 million to remain with Titans.

14. Adam Vinatieri, Colts K: The 41-year-old Vinatieri was 35-of-40 on field goals and a perfect 34-of-34 on extra points in 2013.

15. Samson Satele, Colts C: Was released by the team on March 6 after a disappointing 2013 season. He has started 98 of 102 games during his seven-year career.

Get to know the Tennessee Titans

November, 5, 2013
11/05/13
4:15
PM ET
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- The Tennessee Titans may have one of the most dynamic playmakers in the NFL in Chris Johnson and one of the league’s ascending, young quarterbacks in Jake Locker, but this team is built on defense.

The Titans rank 12th in the NFL in total defense and are giving up just 20.9 points per game. They’ve already scored three touchdowns on defense, have recorded 22 sacks, and opponents have managed just seven passing touchdowns in eight games.

On Sunday they’ll get a Jaguars offense that is managing only 66 yards per game rushing, just lost its best playmaker in receiver Justin Blackmon, and has scored touchdowns on only five of 20 trips in the red zone.

Kickoff is set for 1 p.m. EST and the game will be televised on CBS.

Here’s a look at the Titans:

Record: 4-4.

Last week: Beat St. Louis 28-21.

Coach: Mike Munchak, third season (19-21).

Offensive coordinator: Dowell Loggains.

Defensive coordinator: Jerry Gray.

Series record: Titans lead 20-16.

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON OFFENSE

QB Jake Locker: Maybe it’s because he plays in the same division as Andrew Luck and a Houston Texans team that is imploding, but nobody seems to notice how well Locker has played this season. He’s the AFC’s fifth-highest rated passer and is completing 61.4 percent of his passes. He isn’t putting up monster numbers (eight TD passes) but he isn’t making many mistakes, either (three INTs).

RB Chris Johnson: Johnson has rushed for at least 1,000 yards in five consecutive seasons and is on pace for No. 6 (516 yards through eight games). He is coming off his best game of the season (150 yards vs. St. Louis) and has to be eager to get a crack at a Jaguars defense that is allowing 161.8 yards per game on the ground.

WR Nate Washington: He failed to catch a pass last Sunday against St. Louis, which snapped his streak of 85 consecutive games with at least one reception. He has 26 catches for 439 yards and is averaging a team-high 16.9 yards per catch.

THREE PLAYERS TO KNOW ON DEFENSE

S Bernard Pollard: He leads the Titans with 75 tackles in his first season with the team after spending the past two with Baltimore. He is coming off a 14-tackle performance in the Titans’ victory over St. Louis last Sunday.

CB Alterraun Verner: The fourth-year player from UCLA leads the Titans with four interceptions and a team-high 14 pass breakups. He picked off two passes and recovered a fumble against the NY Jets, making him just the third Titans player since 1999 to record three turnovers in a game.

DT Jurrell Casey: The 6-foot-1, 305-pound Casey is giving the Titans a good pass rush up the middle. He leads the Titans with 6.0 sacks and is tied for the team lead with six QB pressures. He has a pair of two-sack games this season (Pittsburgh and St. Louis) and has recorded at least one sack in his last two games.

ETC.

Tennessee’s schedule has been rated the seventh-toughest in the NFL. Opponents have combined for a .574 winning percentage. … The Titans’ pass defense ranks seventh in the NFL (217.8 yards per game) and their third-down defense ranks fifth (34.0 percent). … Johnson has six touchdown runs of 80 or more yards, the only player in NFL history with more than three. … Kicker Rob Bironas ranks second in NFL history in field goal percentage of kicks of 50 or more yards. He’s at 71.0 percent, behind only Jeff Wilkins (72.2 percent).

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