The red hot Tennessee Titans have nothing but the playoffs and beyond on their minds right now. Ryan Tannehill is red hot, Derrick Henry continues be the yard chunking bulldozer that’s leading the Titans on offense, and the overall vibe of the team has changed significantly over the last 6 weeks.
But while this team is is enjoying the thrills of playing their best football during an intense playoff hunt, one area of their roster hasn’t nearly played their best football lately
The secondary, specifically cornerback.
This Titans defense has been good for the most part all year long, even being the saving grace and keeping this team in games when they’ve had no business being in them.
But over the last 3 games, the secondary hasn’t played the football you’d want from such a pivotal position group.
Considering that the Titans have to face off against some successful passing offenses down the stretch, and with some teams in the thick of the AFC playoff picture boast clinical passing games, bad play from the secondary might be the last thing they want to see.
Now the reason I’ve specifically said 3 games is because of an injury that occurred, forcing some major change in the secondary.
That injury of course is Malcom Butler’s season ending wrist injury, which looked extremely painful by the way.
During the last 3 weeks, the Titans have allowed 345.7 passing yards per game. If you’re new to the basic idea known as playing good defense, I’ll just help you out.
That’s reallllllly bad.
Of course, I’ll excuse the performances against an alien in Patrick Mahomes and Nick Foles padding stats in garbage time, but giving up over 319 yards passing to Jacoby Brissett is pretty concerning.
Especially when Brissett didn’t have TY Hilton, Devin Funchess, Eric Ebron, or Paris Campbell on Sunday. His leading receiver was Zach Pascal, who isn’t exactly your notable WR1.
This is no knock of Brissett, as he’s good enough to lead an offense to consistent success. But the recent play from Brissett suggested a struggling passer who couldn’t seem to move the football vertically down the field.
I use the word, concerning, with extreme caution though. As this defense could all of a sudden come out and play some lock down football in the back end. No basing it off of some sort of graph or advanced stats, but simply keeping room for some sort of possibility.
Have to cover myself somehow!!
Plus, it’s not like this secondary, particularly the corners, is severely challenged when it comes to talent.
Adoree Jackson and Logan Ryan have continued to hold it down ever since Butler went down. Tye Smith, Kareem Orr, and LeShaun Sims all can pitch in when asked upon. Even the newcomer, Tramaine Brock, was brought in to provide some stability to a corner group that’s being hit with the injury bug right now.
Also, the back safety valves of Kevin Byard and Kenny Vaccaro provide some support if said corner is to struggle.
So the probability of this secondary staying the same, or even getting worse, doesn’t seem to be in the cards. Those guys are way too talented to not figure it out and string together some nice performances.
That’s just my humble opinion however.
Still, there has to be some sort of worry for the Titans if they aren’t able to shut down opposing passing attacks.
With the Titans still fighting for a playoff spot, potentially even a division title, a large amount of slip ups in coverage just can’t happen to this team right now.
Not when you still have 3 games against explosive passing attacks, including 2 against the division leading Houston Texans.
No mishaps in man, no wandering around in lala land while you’re in zone, and no consistent delays in the pass rush.
If all 3 of those things happen during these last 4 games, it’s going to be a serious tumble in mood for this team.
Hell, I didn’t even mention the Titans still have the Drew Brees led Saints on their schedule.
It’s going to take a full effort from all 11 guys to get this passing defense fine tuned for the stretch run.