Great win by Tennessee today on a day where the offense struggled. The Titans needed to see that from their players after a preseason that was weak on the defensive side of the ball. So who looked bad in the win?
Kendall Wright WR
Wright didn't get open the entire game. The catches he did have were highly contested and he needs to be stronger than that if he expects to keep playing in this offense. Later in the game you could tell the coaches could see he wasn't helping the team, and they went to more three-TE sets. If Wright expects to show off all his offseason work he needs to show stronger hands and more elusiveness.
David Stewart RT
Stewart had a mediocre day pass-blocking and didn't open up any major holes in the running game. His one play of note was a 15-yard unnecessary roughness penalty that almost put the Titans out of FG range at a crucial point in the game.
Kenny Britt WR
Locker didn't have a great day, but he was forced to scramble on more than one occasion because the only WR that could consistently get separation was Nate Washington. Britt has to force Locker to throw the ball his way by being so open Locker can't ignore him. Britt is big, strong, physical, and fast but if he doesn't put it all together on Sundays it isn't worth re-signing him over.
Enough of the bad news, here are the players that deserve some heavy praise.
How could this list not start with Casey? Casey was physical in the running game, and he helped limit the Steelers ground game to a pathetic 32 yards. Oh he also had a decent day as a pass rusher, with two sacks! Despite dealing with Decastro and double-teams most of the day, Casey was a constant disruptor and deserves high praise.
Zach Brown OLB
Yet again Mr. Brown showed draft critics that he was not allergic to contact. The Titan led the team with eight tackles and also added two sacks of his own. Brown was all over the field and he is clearly in for a big year in the new Gregg Williams defense. (I know they are saying Gray called the game but....come on)
All the DBs.
That's right, everyone gets a shout out here. McCourty was a big part of limiting the deep plays as he managed a big third down pass deflection. Pollard was around the line of scrimmage often, and he helped clean up several unfinished tackles. Griffin was also good as he helped keep a top on the defense. Most importantly however, Verner proved to be the correct choice at CB. Verner wasn't afraid to stick his nose in the running game, and he made and AMAZING fingertip interception that changed the complexion of the game.
Often during the game it seemed that Turner was losing ground as a pass blocker, but he did several things presnap that were unique and helpful. Turner was often communicating with Locker on what blitzes were coming and helped fellow offensive linemen provide the right protection. He also quick-snapped the ball catching Troy Polamalu offside, which is a rare thing. Finally, he and Locker both showed great poise getting the ball off before the play clock ran out, which allowed Tennessee to keep all their time outs (not that they needed them).