Balance, balance, balance... that was the key to Sunday's win. Though, it's funny to see the local MSM patting themselves on the back for four days of saying what we, and a few other observant fans/bloggers, have been screaming for three weeks now. Like I said in last week's podcast, if George Plaster is correctly taking the Titans to task for something, you know it's painfully obvious.
Gramsey's favorite coach is disappointed by all of the yards given-up in the secondary, but really I think it's a symptom of the NFL today and not anything to get panicked about. To wit: 5 teams threw for over 300 yards last week (Cowboys, Chargers, 49ers, Broncos and Redskins), and only the Redskins won. This is a pass first league more than it is a win first league these days, and we've hit a stretch of three teams who have no problem throwing it 35-40+ times a week. I think that's artificially deflated our pass D stats, but we've only lost one of those games, and that was largely due to bad penalties and the muffed kick-off at the end of the game. Long story short, the secondary could be playing better, but then they'd be top 3 in the league. It's not like they're a glaring liability right now, in my opinion.
Gerald McRath had a very nice game last Sunday, and that's a good mark of his focus and work ethic to stay mentally and physically in shape throughout his four game suspension. You have to keep in mind that he's so young, and this was going to be his first NFL season where he was a starter going into camp. If he can keep that focus up he will just keep getting better and better.
Jump for more linky goodness and thoughts on why Damian Williams is higher on the depth chart than Hawkins....
Coach Fisher's comments on Hawkins vs. Williams are encouraging because it sounds like Williams is ahead of him on the depth chart because Williams is practicing/playing better, not because Hawkins is practicing/playing any worse:
"[Damian Williams] gets open. He's a natural at it," Fisher said of Williams. "He played well. We need to try to keep him on the field."
While we wait for the updated Football Outsider stats, Paul K has a good collection of key raw stats across the division. Gotta love that, despite probably having the hardest schedule in the division, we're the best in overall defense, defensive third down % and points given up. We're also second best in the division in rushing, offensive scoring and rushing D.
One thing that's shocking considering how much Jeff Fisher (needlessly, IMO) puts emphasis on it: only four teams have possessed the ball for less than we have so far this season. Part of the reason for that is forcing turnovers and big-time special teams returns give the offense a lot of short-field situations, which is bore out by the fact that we're 5th in the league in scoring despite having yet to throw for over 200 yards in a game.
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