The Tennessee Titans defense is the best in the NFL this season. and the worst.
No team excelled when it came to stopping runs. Opponents averaged 76.9 yards per game and 3.35 yards per carry.
At the same time, all teams excelled at passing. The Titans ranked 25th in averaging 274.8 yards per game and 6.96 yards per pass.
This is a surprising contradiction, but not unprecedented. In 2021, the Baltimore Ravens did exactly the same. Like the Ravens last season, the Titans failed to make the playoffs this year.
It’s not a new topic. Last year, the Titans finished his second in run defense behind the Ravens, and against passes he ranked 25th. Sacks decreased from 43 to 39 and his opponent’s completion percentage improved from his 62.9 to 65.4. Intercepts also decreased from 16 to 14.
“You can’t be the first to run and the last to pass,” coach Mike Vrabel said. “It goes hand in hand. You have to rush the quarterback and find a way to influence him. This is the best coverage you can rush it. It’s going to be a conversation with [Bowen] and the coaching staff. “It’s definitely something that needs to be improved.”
Part of the problem is that the defense’s success in stopping the run dissuaded the team from even trying. Against Tennessee, the opponent ran the ball 390 times, his third-lowest in the league. Defensive handovers have been reduced only twice in the last 15 seasons. The last was his 2016, where his opponent ran his 356th. That season, the Titans finished 2nd against Run and 30th against Pass, but still managed to finish with a winning record (9-7).
“I don’t think it has anything to do with the running game,” defensive coordinator Shane Bowen said. I don’t think I did “We just need to be more certain that we’re all on the same page and that our press understands what we’re asking them to do. And then get out there and do it.” We’re going to have to find a way to influence quarterbacks.”
Safety Kevin Byard and rookie cornerback Roger McCreery are the only middle school members to start every game this season. Byard was the Titans’ best player, according to Pro Football Focus, and his four interceptions were at least double those of his teammates. McCreary has had his ups and downs, but in the end he was able to complete nearly 70% of his shots his way. However, due to injuries, the Titans were forced to start three additional starters at cornerback opposite McCreary in addition to Byard at safety.
We definitely need to improve our pass defense, according to Byard. “We must find a way to improve. … to contribute more to this team’s plays. “We obviously had a lot of secondary injuries as well, which affects things.”
But that does not alter the fact that the Titans defense’s effectiveness against the run and against the pass could not have been more different from one another. “Obviously, having the best rush defense and the worst pass defense is pretty disappointing to me as a DB,” Byard added.
- Tennessee Titans: A Serious Defense Gap
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