While Zach Mettenberger seems to have developed a polar following among the Titans faithful thus far into his stint as the starter, I have erred on the positive side of things. For me, Mettenberger has made strides each week, getting the ball out more quickly when needed, throwing it away when nothing presents itself, and generally making better decisions. Couple that with some excellent accuracy and arm strength, and some play making moxie, and you have a guy who could cause the Houston Texans plenty of problems. That said, he will also have even less help from his line (more on that below) in this one, which figures to make shining an even harder prospect.
The wideouts looked better last week against the Eagles. Wright and Hunter overcame slow starts and made their presences felt down the field. Hunter will need to be more precise in his route running against an opportunistic corner like Jonathan Joseph, whose pick-six last week propelled the Texans back into contention vs the Bengals. Hunter garnered the most snaps out of any Titans wideout last week; he will need to prove he is worth that kind of playing time.
Wright has been a puzzle this season, in terms of how the team can get the ball to him more often. Whisenhunt and company can fix that issue, and Wright is surely as deadly as ever as a route runner and an explosive target underneath. The Texans have some issues covering the underneath zones with their linebackers, and Wright could be a key guy should they decide to commit extra men to pass rushing efforts.
Delanie Walker has been the start of the show when on the field. Last week he torched Philly's secondary, and his ability to shed tacklers after the catch is second to none at the position. He will need to do the same against a Texans secondary that is underrated. He has a definite advantage lined up against Brooks Reed, and Whitney Mercilus doesn't provide much help in that regard either.
Texans ILB Brian Cushing is banged up, and Clowney is not playing at all. That said, the Titans are down a staggering three starters on the offensive line this week. Second year center Brian Schwenke's MCL tear sent him to IR, maligned RT Michael Oher is in a walking boot, and Taylor Lewan hasn't practiced following a high-ankle sprain suffered against the Eagles last week. Their replacements don't inspire confidence against a line featuring JJ Watt. Chris Spencer will fill in at center, while Byron Stingily and Will Svitek will slide into the vacated OT spots respectively. That is not going to bode well for Mettenberger, who didn't have much time in the pocket last week either. The running game, something that has been abandoned early of late, will only suffer from these losses as well.
The combo of Shonn Greene and Bishop Sankey has promise. But it hasn't produced enough up to this point. Dexter McCluster is working through a knock that limited his practice participation, and scored his first touchdown of the season last week, far from the expectations Titans fans had of him when he was signed over the summer. Sankey is without a doubt the start of the group, but even he cannot will the offensive line into some solid blocking. His vision (and improvisation) may be key against a Texans group that figures to feast on the Titans evisceratedoffensive line.
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