The Titans headlined their opening week with an impressive defensive showing. They had a coming out party of sorts to begin the Ray Horton era in Tennessee. Despite an all-around great showing, there were a few notable standouts who rose above the rest. They are our Week 1 Defensive MVP's.
Casey is the obvious choice. As an outsider looking into this match-up, Casey was a huge mismatch against a makeshift Kansas City offensive line. For those that had been close to the Titans and knew the mechanism of their changes from the old 4-3 to Horton's hybrid 3-4, Casey's dominance was expected. He didn't fail to deliver in week 1. Casey was a big part of a defensive line which dominated the trenches, holding Jamaal Charles to 19 yards on the ground and generally making life miserable for Alex Smith. Casey made noise as a pass rushing tackle last season, and continued that trend in the season opener, forcing Alex Smith to scramble, and paving the way for other Titans defenders to register sacks.
Morgan was a big question mark in his transition from defensive end to outside linebacker. He did plenty of pass coverage against the Chiefs, and he didn't let down the coaches who have shown a lot of faith in him throughout the process. One particular pass breakup showcased Morgan's athleticism, and this came without any sacrifice of his ability to affect the game at the line. When called upon to rush the QB, Morgan was effective; getting in Alex Smith's face and playing responsible contain against the Chiefs backfield players. Morgan was a big part of a defense that held the Chiefs to a mere 8% success rate on third down.
McCourty's stat line speaks for itself in this one. The annually underrated corner made the most of his opportunities, picking off Alex Smith (who threw only 7 INT's last season) twice in the first half, and causing a third to ice the game in the 4th. McCourty shadowed the Chiefs only real receiving threat in Donnie Avery, and showed why he is the Titans clear-cut No. 1 Corner. Performances like his one against Kansas City essentially change games. In closer match-ups, they can be the difference between victory and defeat. For me, McCourty gets the game ball; a fantastic effort to complete what was an impressive (and often dominating) Titans defensive effort.