Monday, September 30, 2013
Upon Further Review: Titans Week 4
By Paul Kuharsky
An examination of four hot issues from the Titans' 38-13 win over the Jets:
Despite being knocked out with a hip injury in Week 4, Jake Locker is among the top five NFL quarterbacks in passer rating (99.0).
Is anyone actually watching? It’s time to start giving Jake Locker his due. He was superb against the Jets, with three touchdown throws in the first half. Yet a national overnight radio host put him in the same category as Tim Tebow and another national personality compared him to Oakland’s Terrelle Pryor. Sure, Locker has had issues with his game before this season. But if you've actually watched him through four games, you see a guy making good decisions and good throws. The Titans are 3-1 largely because of Locker, not despite him. Now they have to see how long he’ll be out with a hip injury and how well they can survive with Ryan Fitzpatrick at the helm.
Michael Griffin wavers: A week ago against the Chargers, the Titans free safety went low on a pass-catcher on a play he could have blown up with a high hit, or might have even intercepted. He admitted the reason he approached the play as he did was because of the way the NFL is fining players for high hits. Against the Jets, as Alterraun Verner intercepted a Geno Smith pass on the second play from scrimmage, Griffin hit the receiver, Stephen Hill, in the chin with his helmet. Hill wound up with a concussion, and odds are Griffin will end up with a fine.
Receiver depth showing:Kenny Britt was out because he’s got an injured rib and neck. Set aside any conspiracy theories. The Titans may lack a superstar receiver, but all along we’ve spoken of their good depth. They showed it off against the Jets. Nate Washington was big again. Justin Hunter had a TD catch that was better than the game winner against the Chargers. Damian Williams chipped in with five catches for 53 yards. With or without a functioning and focused Britt, the Titans have guys who can make plays.
Swarming: The Titans don’t have a singular pass-rusher, but if the group effort is like this, they don’t need one. Ropati Pitoitua, a run-stopping defensive end, had two sacks of Geno Smith. Linebacker Zach Brown and defensive tackles Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug also had sacks. He Titans hit Smith an additional six times. He dropped back 34 times and the Titans hit him on just under a third of them.