Notes from Titans-Jaguars, Week 17: Offense

I finally made it through my review of the all-22 from the final game of the Tennessee Titans' season, the 38-14 home win against the Jacksonville Jaguars, which means it's time to report on what I watched. As I did for the game against the Jets, this will be a somewhat organized collection of my notes for each individual play. 

1. Before the game, I went ahead and wrote a somewhat cranky post on Jake Locker, who went out and completed 9 of 15 passes with a couple drops. He had a couple good seam throws, one to Hawkins for a big gain and the other that Washington dropped. Both were only thrown after it was clear the receiver had already won. One of the sacks was a bad one, where he elected not to throw the open short crosser on fourth-and-2 and tried to scramble instead, while the other was a protection bust by the interior of the offensive line. He also had a 2-yard scramble where he apparently failed to recognize his man was coming and didn't throw to the open man on the short crosser.

2. The Titans' starting interior offensive linemen did not impress me very much. The backups were worse. The Jaguars did not have a great defensive line, but the Titans struggled at times to get movement. I had Deuce Lutui's name down again, and Kyle DeVan a couple times as well. I've said this before, I think, but I don't want to see either one starting for the 2013 Titans unless they're tanking.

3. Quinn Johnson's name appeared in my notes on five plays (of 54), not once for something positive. Even when I don't particularly rate a player, I try real hard to see why the Titans might. With QJ, I haven't figured that out yet. He's probably somewhere around replacement level, and that seems to be good enough for whatever reason.

4. I won't just copy-and-paste what I said about Chris Johnson in the Jets game, but it's very tempting to do so. His production is a function of his first-level blocking. If the blocking and/or play design can get him past the first level, in the hole where he's supposed to go, he has a chance to do something at the second level and beyond. Among his 21 carries, I noticed one play where he did something positive at the first level, a play where Daryl Smith was unblocked and CJ got 4 yards instead of only a yard or no gain.

5. It was still kind of surprising to see Collin Mooney get a couple carries late into the game. Both teams were in heavy looks, and Mooney just blasted forward. I can't remember the last time "blast" really came to me as a way to describe what a Titans running back was doing; maybe Ringer came closest, but he never gave me a strong impression of power running the way Mooney did.

6. 2013/scheme note: I didn't keep a formal count, but it seemed like the Titans did a lot more this game than they normally did with reduced/narrow splits for the wide receivers, bringing in a guy tight to help block or lining up both receivers inside the numbers. I don't have hard data for this, but anecdotally it was something that jumped out to me.

7. Byron Stingily played all the snaps at right tackle, and he didn't stand out to me as a guy who was clearly ready to be an average-quality NFL starter. If you want a more sophisticated critique of his play, talk to somebody who knows hand usage and the like better than I do.

8. None of the receivers or tight ends particularly stood out to me. Kenny Britt had a pass he should have caught, maybe with some slight miscommunication with Locker, but had a fine effort on a short crossing route short of the sticks on third down where he stiff-armed Derek Cox and converted the first. Kendall Wright had a big play where he picked up 36 yards, about 27 of it after catch when Rashean Mathis blew a tackle. Taylor Thompson played about every snap and didn't impress me.

I'll cover the defense in a post tomorrow. Let me know if there's a particular offensive player I didn't cover in this post you're curious about.