Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Midseason Report: Tennessee Titans
By Paul Kuharsky
NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Halfway through the Tennessee Titans' 2013 campaign, they're very much alive as a playoff contender.
While their 4-4 shows improvement from last season and they are certainly a better team than the one that finished 6-10, they've blown multiple chances that could have left them in better position.
They let a lead slip away in Houston in Week 2 and lost in overtime, and could have pulled an upset against Kansas City or Seattle in Weeks 5 and 6.
If they had won one of those games, they'd be in the lead for the AFC's final playoff spot.
Sunday's win in St. Louis saw the Titans finally manage to play as they desired, running the ball very effectively. The second half of the season will tell us if that was an aberration or the start of something.
Delanie Walker's been a nice addition and Craig Stevens was a big piece of the run-game breakout against the Rams. Still, they could be getting more.
Pass protection has been pretty good, though Sunday's first half was terrible. Until the Rams game, the group had clearly underperformed as a run-blocking unit. The Titans are 15th in rushing offense. They expected to be way better than middle-of-the-pack.
The sack numbers aren't fantastic, but they've mixed it up, shown good depth and defended the run well for much of the first half of the season.
Moise Fokou's done well to run the defense but hasn't made as many plays as the Titans might suggest. Zach Brown mades a good share of plays early but has quieted. Akeem Ayers still isn't producing regularly.
It moved up from a D with their decision to cut ties with returner Darius Reynaud. Brett Kern dropped a couple of punts. Coverage is OK and the penalty problems have slowed.
Mike Munchak still had his guys believing in the staff and the plan when they lost three straight and fell to 3-4. But after all the emphasis on the offensive line and the run game, they've done far too little in that department. He has shown a willingness to pull unproductive guys out of the lineup. And defensive assistant Gregg Williams has had a very positive impact.