When I think of the Titans, I think of Chris Johnson running for 2,000 yards and Vince Young struggling with his passing but also creating some magical moments like his running TD run against the Texans a few years ago.
That old perception of the Titans is fading away, they are no longer a team of stars, they are more a group of “no names” in 2011. Even so under new Head Coach Mike Munchak, the Titans have had a resurgence this season sitting at 5-4, after a difficult 2010, dealing with myriad of issues including the ongoing Vince Young saga.
Even though the Titans drafted QB Jake Locker with the 8th overall pick, he is not the starter at QB and is being given the opportunity to sit and develop as a passer behind incumbent Matt Hasselbeck.
As a game manager, Hasselbeck has been solid so far this season racking up 2,233 yards with 14 touchdowns and 7 interceptions. Even though Hasselbeck has had success, the titans are trying to get back to their bread and butter, which is running the football with Chris Johnson. They had some success last week with that method, allowing Johnson to rush for 130 yards. However that kind of success has been a rarity so far this season and with the Titans facing a very solid run defense in Atlanta, they may have further difficulties.
If the Titans hope to have any success in the run game they will need to pass the ball to prevent being too one dimensional, however that will be no easy task as Hasselbeck’s receiving options aren’t that great. With Kenny Britt gone for the year, it is up to Damien Williams and Nate Washington to try and get some separation from Grimes and Dunta Robinson.
One thing the Titans have is a good veteran offensive line, which means the Falcons D-Line will have their work cut out creating pressure on Hasselbeck. This will put extra pressure on the Falcons DB’s that could be asked to hold down their man for longer which could give the Titans WRs a chance to separate and make a play.
On Defense for the Titans, the “no name” theme continues. With the only really recognizable name being aggressive corner Cortland Finnegan, who will likely be asked to cover Roddy White in what should be a great one on one battle. Other notables in the secondary are former pro bowler FS Michael Griffin and brother of Falcons DT Jonathon Babineaux, Titans SS Jordan Babineaux.
High draft picks from recent years, OLB Akeem Ayers and DE Derrick Morgan are part of a front seven trying to rebuild after recent losses in Albert Haynesworth and Jason Babin.
Although the Titans D lacks star power, they are still very effective being ranked 15th in the NFL in terms of yards per game and 6th in points per game.
The Titans also have the luxury of having one of the biggest legs in the NFL with K Rob Bironas, who could help amass points for the Titans, even if the offense is stuttering.
The Falcons must not take the Titans lightly otherwise, the Falcons could well be in for an upset this Sunday. The Falcons – Titans has been flexed to 4.15 ET on Sunday. Don’t miss it.