July 28, 2014

Trading Places – Chatting with the Titans Tracker

This week we’re checking in with Will from Titans Tracker to chat about this week’s game.

First of all, lets get the pain out of the way…what has happened this year? The schedule hasn’t done the Titans any favors, but no one saw 0-5 coming.

Before the season began, I looked at the schedule and thought it was a possibility the Titans could go 2-4 and rebound after the bye week against a softer schedule. The loss against the Texans indicated Tennessee was in real trouble. The Titans defense was among the league’s best in ’07 and ’08, but the cornerstone of those defenses, Albert Haynesworth, is no longer on the team. Couple this with injuries and inexperience in the defensive secondary and Kerry Collins’ inability to generate touchdowns, and you have an 0-5 team.

What have the strengths been for this Titans team in the early going despite the record?

Great question. I can think of two strengths. First, despite Haynesworth’s departure, the run defense is still strong. Second, Chris Johnson is currently ranked third in the NFL in rushing, although he was not very effective against the Colts.

I was surprised to see that Chris Johnson’s averages in rushing yards and receiving yards have actually improved over his sensational rookie year. How good has he been thus far?

When CJ is in space, there’s not a better running back in the league. And as good as he’s been so far, he can be even better. I do wish offensive coordinator Mike Heimerdinger would call screen passes for him and line him up as a slot receiver on occasion.

Any chance at all we see Vince Young this week? If not, when will Young get another shot at the position?

If the game goes as expected, there’s a good chance he’ll go in for garbage time as he did against Indianapolis. Many fans assume he’ll get the starting job after the bye week, but given coach Jeff Fisher’s allegiance to Kerry Collins, I’m not so sure.

What can this team do on defense that might cause the Patriots problems? Any names on that unit that we might not have heard of, but will know by the time the game is over?

William Hayes started at left defensive end against the Colts. He’s one reason Jevon Kearse was deactivated. When Hayes was drafted in ’08, he was so obscure that Mel Kiper didn’t have him on his list of players expected to be drafted. His nickname is “Big Play” Hayes, and he might make a few big plays against the Patriots.

How do you see the rest of the season going for the Titans?

If the defense doesn’t improve, Tennessee is going to lose double-digit games. The Titans’ offensive philosophy is conservative and the unit isn’t built to win shootouts week after week. A win against the Patriots could give this team enough confidence to come out fighting after the bye week, but if they lose, they will be drafting a top ten prospect in 2010.

See our chat on their site here:

Titans Tracker interviews Patriots Daily

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