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Titans vs Jets Comprehensive Preview: Defense

Breaking down the Titans next matchup on the defensive side of the ball.

Don McPeak-USA TODAY Sports

Front Three

The Tennessee Titans will have to get organized up front to prevent being run over by the Jets, which seems close to inevitable of late regardless of who the Titans play. Jurrell Casey will need to win over LG Oday Aboushi, a second year OL who has been serviceable in New York this season. C Nick Mangold and RG Willie Colon provide tougher tasks for the Titans in the trenches. Sammie Hill has played slightly better than he did earlier in the season, but his struggles against the run remain. Meanwhile, Ropati Pitoitua has been solid but unspectacular. This group has been figuratively fed to the wolves this year with little in ways of OLB support from behind them. That said, they have done themselves few favors.

The New York Jets like to Chris Ivory inside, and may look to spring former Titans Chris Johnson on some outside plays. Tennessee will need to play a careful contain strategy to spill all plays inside; they just don't have the linebacker talent to risk allowing the Jets to get to the edges.


Inside, rookie ILB Avery Williamson attempts to do the impossible; get this defensive unit organized. Last week the Titans actually managed this on the front seven, if only for a while, holding the Giants to virtually no positive gains on the ground in the first quarter. They were, of course, helpless to assuage the damage being inflicted on the secondary behind them, but that's another matter entirely. The Titans obviously need to figure out ways to stay fundamentally sound versus the run, but they have thus far been unable to do anything of note. Wesley Woodyard needs to be keener collecting receivers across the middle as well. One positive aspect has been Ray Horton's willingness to send Williamson on interior blitzes, where he has shown promise. I expect more of the same against the Jets.

Kamerion Wimbley figures to be sidelined yet again, and his future with the team is unclear. After restructuring his bloated deal last summer to remain in Nashville, the ex-Brown/Raider proceeded to rank as one of the worst outside linebackers in football. Quentin Groves will see the field plenty in his stead, with both Shaun Phillips and Akeem Ayers out of the picture. The Jets figure to take advantage of the Titans lack of athleticism by targeting the periphery with running back dump-offs and screens.


The season ending injury to Blidi Wreh-Wilson leaves the Titans poor CB group even thinner. In his stead, rookie MarQueston Huff figures to garner some extra snaps, and Coty Sensabaugh will be expected to step up in a big way. Erick Decker (One of the my least favorite people in the league) presents a big match-up threat against Sensabaugh/Huff, and I fully expect Percy Harvin to terrorize this group as well; this despite the Jets issues at the Quarterback position. Geno Smith is a wild card, and the Titans had his number last year as well, but this Titans squad is ill-prepared to deal with real talent at WR at this point. McCourty is the saving grace, but even he has had issues this year.

Daimion Stafford and Michael Griffin, both banged up, look set to play (should the latter pass the NFL concussion protocol). They will need to keep an eye on Harvin and Decker, whilst being pro-active and coming down into the box to help stop a run-heavy Jets attack.