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Are The Titans Making The Defense Too Complicated?

The Titans are making a lot of noise this off season by moving players around and creating multiple looks on defense. They're doing the opposite on offense and simplifying. Which is the right move?

Joe Robbins

Are the Titans making the defense too complicated?

Much of the the 2012 offensive lack of production has been blamed on Chris Palmer's complicated scheme. While this type of offense has been proven to work with certain teams in the past, it was a bit too much, too quick for the Titans offensive players.

The answer for the offense during this off-season? Simplify.

We have repeatedly heard about the simplified offensive game plan and much fewer option routes dictated by coverage. A run first offense that throws off of play action is the new look. Basically do a handful of things and do them well.

During this same season, the Titans defense happened to be the worst in the league and allowed a franchise record in points. They were equally inept, if not more so than the offense.

The answer for the defense this off-season? Complicate.

Ever since Gregg Williams showed up at Baptist Sports Park the talks began about his Ruby defense. Signing Bernard Pollard threw fuel on the fire and the Titans multiple looks on defense has been all the rage. Packages, sub-packages, and sub-packages of the sub-packages with a twist of lime are all being implemented as defensive players move all over the field.

Now I'm all for creating multiple looks for the offense and disguising your coverage. I truly do understand the benefits of confusing the opposing offense and quarterback. Just so long as they don't confuse themselves.

Exotic blitzes and 3-3-5 or even 3-2-6 defenses are fine and dandy, especially on obvious passing downs. But you don't want to see linebackers playing on the line, with safeties at linebacker and corners at safety while the opposing team is running the ball down the the Titans throat. More importantly, it doesn't matter where you line everyone up at if they don't what they're supposed to do, and what each other are doing.

Are the Titans defenders smart enough to handle all these formations?

Michael Griffin was moved back and forth between free safety and strong safety last year and it was a total disaster. Griffin and the coaches alike have come out and said the problem with his play was not knowing what he was going to do week to week. Griffin basically ended up with paralysis by analysis. In order to fix this, they went out and signed George Wilson and Bernard Pollard, veteran strong safeties, which will allow Griffin to play his original FS spot.

Moving Griffin around worked so well last year that they've decided to do it with everyone else this year. I understand the desire from a schematic perspective, but it does run counter-intuitive to everything else the team is doing this off season. I believe the advantage that these looks can give a team works best when used sparingly. They need to be able to function at a high level in their base 4-3 package without all the bells and whistles. If not, you'll never be in 3rd and long in order use them. I just hope they know what they're doing.