Numbers review: Titans downfield difficulty

April, 28, 2011
4/28/11
8:27
AM ET
As the Titans look for their quarterback for the future, they certainly hope he will be a guy who can give them better downfield looks.

Since 2008, Titan quarterbacks have thrown seven more interceptions than touchdowns on throws of 15 yards or more downfield, according to ESPN Stats & Information.

The Titans have completed 36.7 percent of such passes, compared to a league average of 41.5. They’ve gained 9.8 yards per attempt compared to a league average of 11.1. They’ve scored 16 touchdowns compared to a league average of 21.7. And they have posted a passer rating of 61.2 compared to the league average of 76.9.

Now Vince Young and Kerry Collins didn’t have a lot of great downfield options during that stretch, but things should be better for the next guy. Receivers Kenny Britt, Nate Washington and Damian Williams are likely to be the top three guys outside and Jared Cook is expected to take over as the lead tight end.

We don’t yet know how the offense will change under coach Mike Munchak and coordinator Chris Palmer.

How about some key numbers on defense?

The Titans are likely to draft a corner at some point and if this draft wasn’t so weak at safety I’d give them one for sure. Stats and Info says the numbers suggest nickel defense concerns. The Titans had Cortland Finnegan and Alterraun Verner as their starting corners, with Jason McCourty playing in the nickel with Verner sliding to the slot, where he displaced long-time incumbent Vincent Fuller. During the 2010 season, 17 teams used a 4-3 defense package against 100 or more throwing attempts. The Titans allowed an opposing passer rating of 74.9 on such attempts, second-best in the NFL.

However, when the Titans used five or more defensive backs, opposing quarterbacks had a 92.1 rating. The increase of 17.1 points was the worst passer rating differential in the NFL this year.

Those struggles weren't strictly on the corners. Safeties Michael Griffin and Chris Hope, linebackers who couldn't cover tight ends and a pass rush that faded were part of the issues too.

Paul Kuharsky | email

ESPN Tennessee Titans reporter

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