One of the more important parts of a winning football team resides within the pass rush. A dominant one can carry your team through a season, and even to a Super Bowl title, just ask the 2015 Denver Broncos.
A stagnant one can and will come back to bite you as the season winds down. A recent example? Last season’s Kansas City Chiefs, who if they had even the slightest of pass rushes, would be chasing after their 2nd straight Super Bowl title right now.
So as we enter week 15 of this exciting 2019 season, we find ourselves with another team deep in a playoff chase, but without a consistent pass rush to stamp to their name.
You guessed it, the Tennessee Titans.
When you begin to examine the pass rush for these Titans, you first off see that Harold Landry is having an exceptional 2nd year.
Landry’s 9 sacks by far are tops for the team, but other than Landry’s encouraging production, no other pass rusher for the Titans has stood out as someone you could feel comfortable depending on.
Let’s examine the issue.
Not a single outside linebacker nor down defensive lineman has more than 3 sacks…..except for Landry. No, not even Cameron Wake, who despite his age, was still the 2nd best EDGE rusher on this football team.
Combine that with Jurrell Casey not having the best of years, Jeffery Simmons still finding his way as a rookie, and others not being your wanted dominant pass rushers.
What do you get? Inconsistency and low production in sacks.
These aren’t the type of trends you’d want a team still fighting for their division to be in.
Especially with 2 games against the AFC South leading Texans coming up & a week 16 matchup with the explosive New Orleans Saints.
Both those teams employ very potent passing games, and will tear your defense apart when they’re on top of their game.
You think a secondary that’s missing Adoree Jackson and Malcom Butler will be able to hold up against those offenses? Considering the firepower that they both bring in being Deandre Hopkins, Alvin Kamara, and Michael Thomas, I wouldn’t bet a a dime on it.
Any team would welcome a dominant pass rush that has the ability to take over games. But in this case, with the secondary being as banged up as it is, not having to cover down the field for 5+ seconds would make a lot of people happy.
The norm for the Titans for the last 2 seasons has been to scheme their pressure. Different types of blitzes, sending a mirage of different players from all directions, leaving offenses confused and no time to react when the pressure ultimately gets home.
But at some point, your 4 guys when running your base defense, have to start making a lot of noise in the sack department. If they can’t, then you’re just going to be left quarterbacks having hours to make a decision, then proceed to slice and dice your secondary.
That’s just the reality of it all.
We can only watch and see if this pass rush starts to materialize a bit further as we wind down the last 4 games of the 2019 regular season.
However, if this pass rush can’t get going and make opposing offenses feel uncomfortable, then the Titans’ recent run of good play could end up being for naught.
Featured image via AP Photo/James Kenney