Underrated Defensive Players vs. the Patriots

NASHVILLE, TN - SEPTEMBER 9: Alterraun Verner #20 and Kamerion Wimbley #95 of the Tennessee Titans celebrate after a big play during the season opener against the New England Patriots at LP Field on September 8, 2012 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Patriots defeated the Titans 34 to 13. (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)

Titans fans were welcomed Back to Football (get a better slogan NFL) with an opening day loss to the New England Patriots. While there is a lot to work on, I wanted to make a short post on what I thought was a great day for a few defensive players. It was an ugly day for the defense, but there were still some positives.

Let's start with the obvious one. Free agent acquisition Kamerion Wimbley had a solid debut for the Titans. The stat totals aren't a lot to write home about: 1 sack, 2 solo tackles and 2 assisted ones. Still, Wimbley didn't get a lot of help on the line yet was able to push the pocket on that side frequently. I thought he was a bright spot yesterday for sure, even if putting him against Gronkowski isn't a very good move. Right Gramsey? I kid, I kid.

Akeem Ayers was all over the place yesterday too. Like the rest of the team, I'm sure I'll notice his fair share of missed tackles when I re-watch the game later in the week. He gets credit here for being a tackling machine, with six solo tackles and another five helpers. He didn't get any sacks but Gray used him a lot more on blitzes and the early results look promising. He's going to be fun to watch.

This next one is a perhaps a bit of a head scratcher. I'm giving a tip of the hat here to Robert Johnson's performance. Safety play is so hard to evaluate without a full screen view, so once again I'll give the disclaimer that the game film could prove me very wrong. Why he's included in this segment? Because I don't remember yelling at him too much and against the Pats that's a fairly good accomplishment. At the very least I yelled at him less than his safety partner.

This final player has been the recipient of much vitriol pretty much his whole Titans career. With Tommie Campbell making some boneheaded decisions, the opportunity arose for Ryan Mouton to snatch some playing time. He certainly stunned me. Earlier last week I had a post on Wes Welker, who is simply a machine when it comes to catching the football. I didn't think we had a chance to contain him. Final stat line: 3 catches for 14 yards. The praise can be shared around here since it was a team effort, but Mouton deserves a lot of credit. You need several good DBs and if he can establish himself as one the Titans will have a lot more freedom in their schemes.

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