CJ2K Shines Titans Fall 22-21 to Redskins
By Mike Edler
Amongst the chaos that was the Tennessee Titans offense, there were some bright spots to take away from the teams first live action since a disappointing 6-10 season ended less than eight months ago. Although there is always room for improvement, here are some of the positives and negatives from last nights game.
Running Backs: The Titans came into free agency bent on improving the offensive line and building the foundation for Chris Johnson to return to his CJ2K form. Through one preseason game it seems- for now- it has worked. Johnson broke off a 58-yard touchdown run that looked very much like his 2009 self. Shonne Greene, who was signed away from the Jets, also had a 19-yard touchdown of his own. The combination of Johnson and Greene has the potential to be one of the better combinations in the league and if this game is any indication of the Titans rushing attack going forward it could be something to watch.
Offensive Line: This overhauled unit, minus right tackle Chris Stewart, showed that this could be one of the best units in the NFL. The pass protection was subpar at times, but that will improve over time with much better team chemistry. The run blocking on the otherhand, was superb. On both Johnson's and Greene's touchdowns the line blasted open holes that you could drive a truck through. The aquistion of former Bill's guard Andy Levitre and the No. 10 overall pick guard Chance Warmack look to be the everything the Titans could have wanted and more. This a good start for the unit that the Titans will live or die behind, stay tuned.
Pass Rush: One of the more underrated units the Titans have, the pass rush looked to have already improved upon last years team. Defensive ends Derrick Morgan and Karl Klug started early and didnt quit, while defensive tackle Jurrell Casey was a constant presence, forcing Kirk Couisns to adjust on the fly. With a team that is going to have numerous rotations and packages for different players, it's a relief to know guys like Klug and linebackers Moise Fokou and Akeem Ayers will be more involved in pressuring the quarterback. It would have been nice to see more out of defensive end Kamerion Wimbley and also to see, oft-injured, linebacker Colin McCarthy at all this preseason.
Pass Game: In a quarterback driven league it seems like one step forward and two steps back in Tennessee. Jake Locker looke rattled early as his first pass was nearly intercepted and later was sacked on a third down. Locker is still a work in progress but this is his make or break season. Most of his completions came on third or fourth options and he rarely challenged down field. The Titans have given Locker all the tools to succeed and if he can't step up it looks like another year drafting a quarterback in the first round of the quarterback rich 2014 NFL Draft.
Secondary: The Redskins starters, without Robert Griffin III, seemingly had their way with the Titans secondary. Cousins finished 6-of-7 for 52 yards and one touchdown, but that doesn't tell the real story. Gerard Pollard had a personal foul early, that he will most likely be fined for, and it was downhill from there. Camp upstart Tommie Campbell looked lost in zone coverage and didn't look any better in man. Another area that the Titans spent some money on and is key to their success. Look for this unit to get chewed up in practice this week and improve against Andy Dalton and the Bengals.
Being the preseason, this game wasn't a total loss. The team showed flashes at points and looked lost at others. Some units need to show more improvement in the coming weeks or it could be another long season for the Titans faithful. At the same time, the talent flashed has the potential to provide plenty of excitement and maybe even a playoff birth in a weaker AFC. The Titans next game is Saturday August 17th against the Cinncinati Bengals.