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Titans-Texans: Cutting Through The Stat-Line

From here on out, I am going to be posting a weekly article looking at a performance from the Titan's game that went beyond the numbers. As in any game or season, a player's stats don't always tell the full story (see; Griffin, Michael). Without further delay, lets take a look at our first candidate of the year.

Bob Levey

(By the way, I would have picked Jake Locker this week but since he will be the subject of roughly 1 million articles here at MCM and around the web over the next few days, I will go in a different direction)

Alterraun Verner (5 tackles, 1 assist, 2 passes defensed, 1 INT, 1TD)

On the surface, Mat Schuab's 298 yards and 3 touchdowns, as well as 30 points, translates to a productive day for the Texan's aerial attack. It reflects, conversely, in a bad light for the Titans defense and a much maligned secondary. However, anyone that watched the game and paid even a sliver of attention would realize that the Titans defense had a solid day overall against a high powered offense and kept the Titans in the game.

Following up a shutdown performance in hostile Pittsburgh last week, Alterraun Verner was all over the field and the Texans tried their luck with him time and time again in Sunday's game. Matched up with a pair of special talents in De'Andre Hopkins and Andre Johnson, Verner played smothering coverage and was a blanket that Schuab could not seem to break through. People will no doubt point the to Verner's pick six as a result of nothing by De'Andre Hopkins' rookie status, but give credit where credit is due. Verner kept tight coverage as well as an eye in the backfield, giving him the chance to make a play on the ball and put the Titans up by 8.

Verner's single major error of the day was not bringing down Keyshawn Martin late in the game when he whiffed on a tackle. That mistake seems to have cast a pall over his excellent play, but it shouldn't. Sure, Verner should have made that stop, but plays like that are going to happen every so often in this game, and a single play is not enough for me to judge him (or Locker with his miss to Britt either). I really wish Verner had been matched up against Hopkins on the final play of the game. No discredit to McCourty, but Verner was playing a much better game.

The media loves to gloss over individual performances on small market teams, but through the first 2 weeks of the season, Alterraun Verner has been without a doubt in my mind a top corner in the league (And as noted on this blog earlier, rated as the No 1. corner to boot per PFF) The cornerback competition of the off-season feels like it never happened, and there is no doubt now that it shouldn't have.

So what did you think of Verner's performance?