After a promising 3-1 start, the Tennessee Titans’ season imploded into a 7-9 crater that resulted in coach Mike Munchak’s firing. While injuries on offense stunted the Titan’s success, the defense didn’t exactly distinguish itself either. The Titans have a talented team on paper, but a inconsistent defense held them back this season. While free agency helped the Titans improve their roster last off-season, the young defenders have to step up and improve this off-season if the Tennessee Titans are going to challenge the Indianapolis Colts for the AFC South title in 2014.
Defensive Line B
In the 2013 NFL offseason, the Tennessee Titans looked to bolster their defensive line and signed defensive tackles Sammie Lee Hill and Antonio Johnson and defensive end Ropati Pitoitua through free agency. Overall, the line improved as a unit from a year ago. Jurrell Casey led the team with 10.5 sacks while the added size from free agency clogged up lanes for the opposing running backs. As the team’s younger players such as Karl Klug, Mike Martin, and Lavar Edwards develop, the Titans will improve in this area next season.
This relatively young position group has nowhere to go but up as they mature into a cohesive unit. Free agent pickup Moise Fokou was pivotal, as his leadership and play proved invaluable. He totaled 98 total tackles in 12 games and elevated the linebackers overall. The group had an up and down season and were exposed against the league’s better offenses. Zach Brown led all linebackers with 72 tackles and four sacks. The linebacker corps enter a pivotal off-season and must make significant strides if Tennessee plans on being more competitive, especially within the division. Drafting a linebacker in the draft is a must.
Arguably, this is the Tennessee Titan’s best defensive group. 4th-year starter Alterraun Verner had the one of the finest season of his career, leading the team with five interceptions and 22 pass deflections. Jason McCourty and Coty Sensabaugh also proved to be competent options, combining for 96 total tackles and a forced fumble. With Verner as their shutdown corner, the Titans were able to be flexible, interchanging McCourty and rookie Blidi Wreh-Wilson among others on the opposite field. While the unit’s low point came when Peyton Manning torched them for 397 yards and four touchdowns in Week 14, the cornerbacks played admirably throughout the season.
Another area of relative strength for the Tennessee Titans on defense. Baltimore Ravens castoff Bernard Pollard came to the Titans via free agency and wasted no time having his presence felt. He recorded 99 tackles and three interceptions on the season. Like Moise Fokou, his leadership was indispensable and elevated the unit’s performance throughout the season. George Wilson added 40 tackles and an interception while Michael Griffin pleasantly surprised the Titans with 82 tackles, two forced fumbles and an interception. Pollard’s mere presence turned the unit around completely and he’ll be a player the Titans will desperately try to keep this off-season. Like the cornerbacks, they played admirably despite an anemic offense.
(All stats courtesy of NFL.com)
Edited by Will Lomas