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Finding roles for the Titans new DEs Klug and Pitoitua

When and where should the Titans play their new DEs Karl Klug and Ropati Pitoitua so that they can maximize their talents?


One of the most publicized stories during this year's OTA is that the Titans have decided to move defensive tackle Karl Klug to defensive end. Klug has always been a little slender for a defensive tackle, (especially in the Gregg Williams influenced DL) but now that the Titans are trying to get bigger on the DL. Klug fits the mold of what the Titans are looking for in a defensive end. In fact, Karl Klug is listed at 6'3 275 lb. on ESPN, which is the same height and three pounds smaller than starting defensive end Derrick Morgan.

IF (and that is a huge if) Klug can survive the transition to LDE, then on paper this makes him the ideal backup for Derrick Morgan. The former defensive tackle's job behind Morgan would be primarily to stop the run, but on passing downs it isn't uncommon for a LDE to rush the passer. I believe that Karl Klug would shine in that role.

However, Klug faces tough competition for the backup LDE spot. Ropati Pitoitua was recently signed to add some bulk to the defensive line, and while most speculated that the Titans would use him as a DE given his size and past, he commented that the Titans had only used him as a defensive end, not as a DT.

Pitoitua stands at a mammoth 6'8" 315 lb. and may be the biggest 4-3 defensive player in the NFL. He definitely has a level of experience playing outside considering his past experiences as a 5-tech in the 3-4 defensive scheme.

What you see is what you get with Pitoitua, he is big and strong but he struggles with leverage and doesn't have the burst you want in a defensive end. This makes him a good situational player, but unlike Klug I don't think that he should be a high volume backup.

Now the question is, if you are the Titans how do you maximize your talent? Morgan is the starter, but he is going to get tired and will need a backup DE. In an ideal world, if the Titans needed to rest the starters they should platoon Klug and RP. Klug of course goes in on passing downs, and RP on running downs.

Now here is the sticky part, what do you do if one of them gets caught in a hurry up offense situation?

Klug in running downs

1. Move Klug to the 3-technique

2. Bring down a linebacker (Preferably Ayers) to play as an extra DL making it a 5-2

3. Then bring down the SS (either Pollard or Wilson) and put them at MLB. Their goal is to find the ball carrier if they try to go through the middle. Now you are in a 5-3 defense with at least two pass rusher near the L.O.S in case of a PA pass, while also keeping the box stuffed against the run.

RP in passing downs

1. This is unlikely to happen because even fast tempo offenses seem to take a second to sub when they are faced with long down-and-distance scenarios, but you should always have a plan.

2. Ropati goes to NT. The current DTs (lets say Martin and Casey) move to 3-techs and Ayers moves to a DE spot.

3. From this look one LB/DB will blitz behind the space eaters to force pressure.

4. If the pressure takes too long RPs job is to give an initial surge of pressure then try to stand up and clog passing lanes.

5. Hopefully pressure gets their by then, but if not Ropati should take away the frustrating dump offs forcing a great throw.

That is what I would do. Let me know your thoughts below.