To get to playoffs, should Titans study the Jets?

Al Bello

Do the 2009 Jets hold the key to the playoffs for Tennessee?

Strong running game, short passes, and an intimidating defense, that was the blueprint for the New York Jets in the 2009 season. So how can the Titans recreate that style of play?

Well, firstly the Titans are at a disadvantage at corner. Jason McCourty, Alterraun Verner, Coty Sensabaugh, and Tommie Campbell aren't a bad group of corners to have but they don't have two top-end players like the Jets did with Lito Sheppard and Revis Island. The Titans do have a few advantages on the 2009 Jets though believe it or not.

For one thing, the Jets "third safety" Eric Smith played nearly half the defensive snaps and he was atrocious. Between Bernard Pollard, George Wilson and yes even Michael Griffin the Titans should have a better three-headed safety group than those Jets.

Also, during that time the Jets struggled to pressure the quarterback. Sure they had a swarming run defense, but their leading pass rusher (Calvin Pace) only provided 35 hurries according to PFF. The Titans had two players (Derrick Morgan and Kamerion Wimbley) that had 43 or more hurries in 2012. If the Titans can keep that production up with better coverage on the back end those two could both have double-digit sack seasons.

Finally, the Titans should have a better running game than the Jets. You can't dispute the fact that the Jets had an all-time great line on the 2009 roster. At least two Hall of Famers (Allen Faneca and Nick Mangold) as well as three very good players (Damien Woody, "Brick" Ferguson, and Brandon Moore) but the Titans are nothing to scoff at now. The Titans now have two Pro-Bowl quality OTs, a very healthy battle at the center position, and possibly the best guard tandem in the league depending on Warmack's development and how Carl Nicks heals in Tampa.

If both lines are equal at the end of the day, then you have to give the nod to the Titans running backs. Thomas Jones was a decent number one RB, but he didn't have break away speed and he only managed 4.2 YPC with that all-star OL. This year expectations are much higher for CJ2K and company, and I would expect him to be closer to 5.2 YPC than 4.2. As far as depth goes, Leon Washington has struggled around the league and the Jets felt comfortable enough with Shonn Greene to make him their starting RB. So essentially their starter quality is the Titans back-up quality.

I think the Titans can have success mirroring this Jets team and if the corners can prove that they are up to the test of playing in the press-scheme, then I think the team will have a nice year, possibly ending in a playoff birth if they can win some tough games at home.

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