I asked Drexel Perry of the excellent football blog Total Titans, to answer a few questions for us as we get ready for the Titans vs Cowboys game on Sunday.
1. Last week against Denver, the Titans really struggled in the second half totaling just 46 yards on offense, going 0 for 5 on third-down conversions, and possessing the football for only 9 minutes. Will this be a big concern against a tough Cowboys defense?
In addition to the aforementioned stats, a conservative second half game plan on the offensive side of the football also contributed to the team’s meltdown against Denver.
After allowing Vince Young to throw the football more often than usual in the first half, the team reverted back to its “Chris Johnson or bust” offensive game plan that unfortunately, was foiled due to facing 8-9 men in the box.
Against the Cowboys, I’d like to see a mixture of running/passing plays in order to keep your defense honest, which hopefully, will open up some opportunities for Chris Johnson to break one or two of his trademarks big runs.
If the Titans continue the conservative brand of offensive football displayed in the 2nd half against the Broncos, I don’t think that will be enough to keep up with a Dallas Cowboy offense that’s capable of putting some points on the scoreboard.
2. What impact will the loss of your first-round draft pick DE Derrick Morgan have on the Titans defense now that he will miss the remainder of the season with a torn ACL?
Losing Morgan hurts, mostly because he was showing us steady glimpses of his vast potential.
Fortunately, he plays a position where the Titans are pretty deep. At DE, journeymen such as David Ball and Jason Babin are getting their share of sacks, and there’s also the presence of steady performers such as Jacob Ford and William Hayes.
A deep and talented defensive line should help more than compensate for Morgan’s absence for the remainder of the season.
3. Which of the Titans offensive players will give the Cowboys the most trouble this weekend?
As you probably expected, the first guy that comes to mind has to be Chris Johnson. He’s a threat to take it the distance any time he touches the football.
Outside of Johnson, WR Nate Washington has the ability to get deep if Coach Fisher allows Vince Young to take a shot or two downfield.
Speaking of Young, he’s been playing solid football as of late (sans the Steelers game). In addition to his improved passing skills, he can also beat you with his legs as a scrambler.
2nd year TE Jared Cook runs like a receiver and judging by last week’s game against Denver, the Titans are trying to incorporate him a little more into the passing attack. He could be a sleeper to make a big play or two against the Cowboys this weekend.
4. The Titans are currently 2-2 which indicates an uneven performance thus far. What is the one thing you would like to see the Titans improve on based on your observations so far this season?
I touched on it a bit earlier, so I’ll reiterate the team’s need to become a little more diverse and less conservative on offense.
Despite Chris Johnson’s talents, the offensive line has been less than stellar in providing their speedy back with a whole lot of room to operate. So the big guys up front need to step up their games individually and collectively.
Outside of those things, I’d like to see the team play with a little more discipline while cutting down on the penalties.
5. Get out your crystal ball and tell me what you think Sunday’s outcome will be? As for myself I’m giving this one to the Cowboys by a score of 24-13. What say ye?
Traveling to Texas to face a seemingly rejuvenated and well-rested Cowboy team is going to be a touch challenge for the Titans this weekend.
This wishful thinking side of me thinks the Titans can pull out a close one…something along the lines of a 20-17 victory.
My head tells me that despite their efforts, the Titans will come up short…let’s say 23-16.