After making an offensive MVP selection, eventually settling on Michael Roos, I turned my attention to the other side of the ball and found myself with difficulties just as great as those I'd just faced. As was the case on offense, neither the run defense nor the pass defense was anything like consistently good. Moreover, the Titans allowed more points than any team in the history of the franchise. Ultimately, though, I decided that having committed myself to this endeavor, I had to go make a choice.
Unfortunately, there were no great choices. On offense, I eventually went and defaulted to the best player on the team who I feel fairly comfortable saying is an above-average NFL starter for his role on the team. On the defensive side of the ball, I'm not sure there's any such player. I don't mean for that to sound like too much of an insult-there are players on the defense who played pretty well at times, but there are a lot of really good players around the NFL. Part of that, of course, is what I wrote before the draft, about the Titans lacking premium defensive players, and the players they're playing like premium defensive players didn't spend 2012 playing like they were premium defensive players.
My 2012 Tennessee Titans defensive MVP is defensive end Derrick Morgan. The 2010 first-round selection seemed to be a good example of a player who really blossomed in his second year back after the ACL ended that ended his rookie season after only four games. He started all 16 games and ended the year with more playing time any other player in the front seven. He responded to the playing time by putting up numbers, including a career-high 6.5 sacks and, as I noted, creating even more sacks for other players. At the same time, he wasn't just a pass rusher, playing stout run defense. The Titans were on the whole a pretty bad run defense, but an area of relative strength was against runs right end, where they ranked 13th by Football Outsiders Adjusted Line Yards metric. In a defensively down season, he stood out the most in a positive way to me.
After the jump, a breakdown of the other candidates I considered.