Notes on the Titans

I have a post I want to write, but it's a film thing that'll take me some time to go through, so it'll go up when I finish it.

First, a big of self-publicity. I put in an appearance on Paul Kuharsky's Periodic Podcast, so give that a listen. We talked a little bit about me, what I'm doing here, how what's happened the first six weeks of the season kind of validates the Titans' offseason plan, and stats.

Second, the Titans brought Zac Diles back to the active roster. I noted on Twitter I did not really expect this move. First, Diles was a Frank Bush guy, and Bush is of course no longer the linebackers coach. Second, Diles didn't play much for the 2012 Titans because he got hurt. Considering the Titans add him because of the current injury issues at linebacker, adding a guy who got hurt when he was on your team, even if he's currently healthy, is not a move I expected. Third, both veteran middle linebackers the Titans cut in training camp, Gary Guyton and Greg Jones, were still on the street, and both know the defensive scheme (which has been changed since last year) better than does Diles. I'm not saying they were wrong to bring Diles back, just that I did not expect it and am not following the internal logic.

Third, Mike Munchak announced this week The Inevitable Switch to Brian Schwenke would happen for this Sunday's game against the 49ers. On this move, I'll go back to something I noted this offseason: centers who cannot reliably snap the ball are guards or out of the league. I think both of Rob Turner's bad snaps against the Seahawks this past week were shotgun snaps when Ryan Fitzpatrick was in the Pistol. That seems like an easily correctable mental error. For a marginal player like Turner, though, errors like that are unacceptable. I don't expect Schwenke to be much of an upgrade, but as was the case for the transition from Fernando Velasco to Turner, I expect him to be differently flawed.

Fourth, I got angry enough from other things I managed to sit through all of Chris Johnson's runs against the Seahawks. And he was Chris Johnson. If there's not perfect blocking at the point of attack, he'll look for the cutback, even if the cutback is a worse situation to run into. On non-zone runs, plays with man or gap blocking, he seems to run without a feel for timing or blocking and doesn't seem to know how to adjust for a disrupted rhythm. The blocking was of course far from great-I noted the biggest issues with Chance Warmack, whose blocking contributed to a limited gain on each of CJ's first four carries. He wasn't the only issue, though, as Turner and Andy Levitre both had multiple plays I thought they could have done better. I also felt bad for Craig Stevens, who a couple times was put 1-on-1 with DE Red Bryant. Bryant is listed at 6'4", 323 pounds and is very strong. He had Stevens on roller skates on one run that was actually successful because it was a wide run to the wide side of the field and CJ could keep extending the play wider (this had to be part of the design).

Fifth, Ryan Fitzpatrick ranked 34th by Football Outsiders' DVOA metric among the 41 quarterbacks in 2012 who attempted at least 10 passes 15 or more yards downfield. Chan Gailey's offense, the one Fitzpatrick ran semi-successfully in Buffalo, consisted of a lot of short passes and very few deep shots. That was with good reason, as Fitzpatrick throwing downfield is an adventure. I'm trying not to sound too dismissive, but that's not news to anybody who paid attention to who Fitzpatrick is the last couple seasons. Of course he's struggled on his downfield passes with the Titans. That's who Ryan Fitzpatrick is. The right offense for him is asking him to do what Matt Hasselbeck did in 2011. Since Chris Palmer isn't coming back to coordinate the offense this week, it wouldn't surprise me to see the Titans play Jake Locker this week if he's physically able to perform.

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