The Tennessee Titans have not really been what you could call a blitzing team. In 2009, they brought only 4 rushers 79.9% of the time, tops in the league. Surprisingly, that league-leading total was actually less than they rushed 4 in 2008, and the number of times they brought either 3 or 4 rushers fell from 83.3% to only 80.8%, or pretty much the same as the combined 80.7% they rushed 3 or 4 in 2007. With the Colts actually blitzing some in 2009, the Titans finally inherited the mantle as the league's most blitz-averse team.
The continuity in blitzing in 2009 may have been a bit of a mild surprise, as Chuck Cecil replaced Jim Schwartz as defensive coordinator. Cecil during his career as known as an aggressive player, and Fisher's Titans formerly (and nearly once again) employed the famously blitz-friendly Gregg Williams, whose Saints defense rushed 5 or more 47.3% of the time last year. Against the Cardinals, the Titans frequently brought more than 4 rushers, often with good results. That tendency to rush more than the basic 4 continues against Carolina, though with less impressive results. We'll have to see what the regular season brings, but in the interim, I thought I'd write a little more about blitzing.
Drexel has already posted his thoughts on player performances in the Titans' 15-7 loss to the Panthers Saturday, but I thought I'd chime in with some additional comments. I put up the raw data dump of my brief notes on each play at my personal site, but this is the more intelligible, reader-friendly version of those.
The Carolina Panthers outlasted the Tennessee Titans in last night's 15-7 defensive struggle. During the first half, when the starters played, the end result was a 0-0 contest through two quarters, as the defenses reigned supreme while the offenses on the other hand, fizzled.
Since it's the preseason, the outcome of the game isn't the emphasis: it's all about the starters getting solid reps as they prepare for the regular season and for the backups/roster hopefuls, it's their opportunity to make their individual cases for making the squad.
Up next....I'll take a look at some of the good and not-so-good performances by the Tennessee Titans in last night's loss.
The Tennessee Titans will continue their preseason schedule with a Saturday night matchup against the Carolina Panthers.
The Titans starters, who performed adequately in last week's preseason home-opener against the Cardinals, will have another opportunity to get some reps as they're expected to play roughly two quarters against Carolina.
As the case with most preseason contests, this evening's game will also provide Titans' roster hopefuls with additional chances to make their marks in their plights to earn roster spots.
Here are a few players/battles in particular that I'll be keeping my eyes on as the Titans face the Panthers later tonight.