Category: NFL

Titans Vs. Colts Preview:

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The Indianapolis Colts come into Nashville Monday night to play the Tennessee Titans. 

The Colts offense vs the Titans defense, T.Y. Hilton vs Logan Ryan: Hilton is the Colts leading wide receiver and after a big game last week vs the 49ers. Hilton went 7 for 9 for a total of 177 yards. (25.3 yards a catch) He has the 4th highest yards per route this season among wide receivers at 2.75, Without Andrew Luck Hilton has continued to have a great season with Jacoby Brissett throwing him the football. I have Logan Ryan matched up against Hilton Monday night, Depending on how Ryan matches up against Hilton will be a key role in Monday nights game. Against Jarvis Landry last week, Ryan did not allow a catch on three targets. Logan Ryan has allowed five catches on eight targets for 60 yards over his last two games. 

Colts backs vs Titans linebackers, In week 5 the Colts used a two-headed rushing attack  featuring veteran Frank Gore who forced three missed tackles on 17 touches, and Marlon Mack the rookie out of South Florida adding a 16-yard run. Mack had the best game of his young career against San Francisco, leading all Week 5 running backs with an amazing 80.2 breakaway percentage and three 15 plus yard runs. The fourth round pick also forced five missed tackles on the day, giving him the second highest elusive rating (222.2) at his position for week 5. Wesley Woodyard and Avery Williamson could be up to the task this week. Both defenders rank inside the top ten linebackers in terms of run stops. Woodyard leads the team with 14 while Williamson has nine. Woodyard ranks 5th at his position in 2017 in run stopping percentage with 11.2 

Demarco Murray vs Colts Edge Defenders, Murray has struggled to say the least this season. Ranking 41st at his position with less than a 60 percent overall grade. In 2016 Murray generated 24 missed tackles through the first 5 weeks of the season. In 2017 he only has 8. Murray has been his best when running to the left side behind (LG) Spain and (LT) Lewan. (Who was a full go at practice recently) Since 2016 he is averaging 5.17 yards per carry to the left side. Simon and Sheard should expect a heavy work load since Murray’s 29 of 56 carries as been to the left side. Sheard is the 2nd best edge defender against the run with a 91.1 run stopping percentage and Simon at 81.2 ranking at 22nd. Murray’s grade week 1 was a 46.5, Week 2 was 40.5, Week 3 was a 82.1, Week 4 was 74.2 and week 5 was a 46.0 

Matthews vs Colts secondary, Matthews much like 2016 has been the Titans top pass catcher. Matthews is ranking 22nd just under a 80 percent overall. He will most likely often be challenged by Colts cornerback Rashaan Melvin this week. Despite being thrown at 37 times this season which ranks him 3rd most of the season, Melvin is allowing 1.06 receiving yards per coverage snap which puts him at 41st out of 78 qualified cornerbacks. His overall grade of 86.3 ranks 10th in the NFL among all corners. 

Walker vs Colts safeties, Walker is playing at a very high level, Catches and yards are some of his highest totals through week 5 in his career. He has yet to get a touchdown so far in 2017. He is 2nd overall according to ProFootballFocus with a 87.6 only behind Rob Gronkowki’s rating of 88.0. Walker could be matched up against the Colts safety Matthias Farely, Who has given up a rate of 1.30 yards per catch this season. Ranking him among the most at his position. 

Titans OLB Orakpo vs Colts Tackle Castonzo, Castonzo who has been very good run blocking in the past has continued his success there boasting the best run blocking grade among tackles in the NFL at 88.0 overall. But this season he is among the middle of pack of tackles when it comes to pass blocking ranking 15th with an 78.7 grade. Orakpo has started the season off really well. Totaling 22 pressures from 128 pass rush snaps, which puts him at a pass rush rating of 13.1 productivity. Which ranks him 9th among edge defenders. 

 

 

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What Are The Titans Problems?

The Titans are coming into week 5 vs the Dolphins with a record of 2-2, 3rd in the AFC South but very much in the race to win the division a quarter of the way through the season. The Titans are going into the easy stretch of their schedule. Week 5 at Miami, Week 6 at home on Monday night vs the Colts, Week 7 at the Browns, Week 8 at home vs the Ravens. They have a combined record of 4 wins and 11 loses. The Titans could go 3-1 at best obviously 4-0. The Colts will more than likely have their starting quarterback Luck back for the Monday night game. But he won’t be in mid season form, So the Titans could still very much take the win. 

The two biggest questions about this team are 1. The secondary/ Defense, And 2, The offensive play calling. The defense is ranked 29th in total defense. Mainly cause the Texans had their way with them. The biggest question is was that 1 game exactly that. Just one game, If so we don’t have to much to worry about considering Byard, Jackson will get better as the season goes on. If it’s not just the one game. Then the Titans are in big trouble. I still see this team struggling against teams like Steelers, Colts later on in the season if Luck doesn’t get hurt again, Texans again, The Cards with Larry and Brown, And the Rams with this new offense under McVay with Gurley, Watkins, Kupp and under McVay they are finally using Austin right. A lot of people I have seen have been talking down on Adoree, Saying he is getting killed and beat. We didn’t draft Adoree to be the starter right off the bat like he did. He was mainly going to be the nickel corner with kick and punt duties. But he out performed Sims, Which kinda tells you Sims wasn’t ready to be that guy on the outside.

As far as the offense goes, I believe the play calling will be what holds this team back. Especially once Davis comes back in week 6 or 7 is when I think he’ll come back. And at 100 percent he would give Marcus and this offense a weapon we haven’t had really ever in Nashville. But if the continues to call plays the way we are now, The drafting of Davis and Taylor wasn’t the greatest of picks then. Taylor isn’t really on the field as much as he should be. And when he is he is getting carries and/or quick screen passes. Only sometimes he will get out on an actual route, We saw what he could do on a (go) route against Bouye. Now why aren’t we using him more like that? Cause we are to busy trying to run the ball with 2 tight ends or 2 tight ends and a full back. Take the Texans game for an example, We are down 21-0 and we run the ball on 1st and 2nd down. For a total of 4 yards. Leaving us with a 3rd and 6 and what do Terry and Mike want to do and call? They call a run with Taylor up the the middle. A small wide out coming in motion and getting the ball. And it doesn’t work. We are too busy trying to run the ball that we can’t get Marcus into a rhythm with his wide outs. I think that’s partially why he hasn’t been able to do well till the 2nd half. I’m truly starting to believe that we won’t win the big games or a playoff game with this type of offense. And Marcus won’t be as good as he truly can be until we change things up, We can still run the ball but we have to be able to throw the ball with more than 2 or 3 options for him to throw it too, We must adjust our offense, Look at KC, Pats, Raiders, Bucs, Rams. They all adjust their offense to their QB. KC, Pats, Raiders, Bucs and Rams pass with at least 3 options with the running back having an option to come out in the flat almost every time they pass the ball. They have adjusted to the QB. Of course they have good play calling in good situations for the most part. But also look at their play book to the Titans. It’s much bigger with more formations and more plays, Just look at Marcus in college and when he has plenty of options to throw the ball to, He’s much better in and out the pocket. But our coach goes the other way and makes us run the ball.

Until we fix these problems we won’t be a legitimate threat to go deep in the AFC playoffs. Say what you will but the proof in the past is evidence that Mike Mularkeys way doesn’t work.

Tennessee Titans Key Stat’s through week 3. ( OFFENSE )

Marcus Mariota has 696 yards passing with 3 touchdowns and 1 interception. 60 of 100 for 60 percent completion and a QBR of 86.9. Little side note. Through week 3 Marcus has 33 attempts a game. 3 more than his previous 2 seasons. And is averaging 4 more yards a game than in 2016. At home Marcus has combined for a total of 45-73 for 481 yards and 61.6 completion percentage. Plus 2 touchdowns with 0 interceptions. Away from home Marcus is 15-27 for 215 yards and 55.6 percent completion. 1 touchdown and 1 interception. 

Murray: Murray who was 3rd in rushing last season with 1283 yards rushing has gotten off to a slow start in the first 2 games. But in week 3 he found his groove and shined. Tallying 14 carries for 115 yards and a touchdown. And looked great on his 75 yard run for a touchdown. That puts him at 35 carries for 184 yards and a touchdown through 3 games. Murray has done his best work in the 2nd half of the game gaining 13 carries for 123 yards and a touchdown through 3 games.

Derrick Henry: 33 carries for 171 yards ( 5.2 YPC ) for 1 touchdowns. Which is an improvement on his rookie campaign through the first 3 games. In 2016 Henry was averaging 7 carries a game at 4.5 YPC and 32.7 yards a game. So far in 2017 Henry is averaging 11 carries a game at 5.2 YPC and 57 yards a game. Henry has became a bigger part of this offense like I believed he would be. Henry is at his best inside the redzone tallying 6 carries for 37 yards and 1 touchdown.

Matthews: In 3 games Matthews as 14 catches for 201 yards and 1 touchdown. We all know he wasn’t a big part of the offense this time last season. But he has grown to become Mariotas favorite wide receiver target and someone he trust on 3rd downs.

Walker: Walker is Walker. I have a hard time not putting him as my top overall tight end in the NFL. He just does everything and does it very very well. So far here in 2017 Walker has totaled 15 catches for 168 yards with 0 touchdowns.

OFFENSIVE LINE: The Titans with Mike Mularkey have made it a point to have a strong physical offensive line and Mike and GM Jon Robinson have done just that. Last season Pro Football Focus (PFF) rated the Titans offensive line as the best in the NFL. And they have stayed completely together in 2017. In the first 3 games of the season. The offensive line have allowed just 2 sacks (tied for 1st) and 5 QB hits (2nd best) in the NFL. Tennessee is 2nd in the NFL in rushing with 469 yards. Only behind the Kansas City Chiefs who have 486 yards. Titans are also tied with 3 other teams with 5 rushing touchdowns. And rank 14th in passing yards.

 

The Tennessee Titans top 5 grades” (According to PFF)

LT Taylor Lewan, 91.1 overall grade

LB Wesley Woodyard, 86.8 overall grade

G Josh Kline, 85.6 overall grade

Edge Brain Orakpo, 84.8 overall grade

S Kevin Byard, 93.0 overall grade

Performances note:

Lewan: Lewan was in the middle of a pile when Seahawks corner Richard Sherman came in late on Marcus Mariota. But he didn’t get to physical. Instead he used his anger and frustration on used it to dominate the player across from him.

According to PFF QB Marcus Mariota tallied a 56.0 overall grade. Largely in part to Marcus missing out on to many routine passes in the game while struggling to take advantage of great pass protection from his offensive line. But made key plays throughout the game.

Keys To The Game: Seahawks vs. Titans

Keys to watch for in this week 3 match-up between the Titans and Seahawks.

  1. Titans defensive front seven vs. Seattle Seahawks offensive line. The Titans front seven on the defense consist of Casey, Jones, Johnson, Morgan, Williamson, Woodyard and Orakpo will be looking to have a breakout game against the Seahawks poor offensive line. Look for Dick Labeau to use stunts and delayed blitzes to confuse the offensive line of the Seahawks. Morgan leads the team with 2 sacks followed by Orakpo and Woodyard with 1 a piece. The Titans defense has allowed 208 rushing yards (15th) and 461 (11th) most in the NFL. The Seahawks offensive line is well known for their poor pass protection of Russel Wilson. Seattle is averaging 158 yards passing per game. (29th) and 110 rushing yards per game (13th) The offensive line has allowed 6 sacks for 40 yards through 2 games.
  2. Titans wide outs and tight ends vs the Seahawks legion of boom. How will Matthews, Walker, Decker, Taylor and maybe Davis if he is good to go fair against Sherman who has been one of the best corners in the NFL since 2012. Kam Chancellor is a feared safety in the middle of the field with his hard hitting ability. Matthews and Walker will have to step up against Sherman, Chancellor and Thomas as the Seahawks has arguably a top 3 secondary thanks to the Legion Of Boom (LOB)
  3. Will the Titans be able to run? The Seahawks are well known for the impressive defense since Pete Carol has arrived. In 2016 the Seahawks finished 6th in the NFL against the run allowing 93 yards per game. But in week 2 last week Carlos Hyde of the 49ers ran for 124 yards on only 15 carries. In week 1 the Titans couldn’t get the run game going. Running only for 95 yards on 21 attempts. With Marcus running for 26 of those 95 yards. The Titans cannot go away from running the football, In week 2 playing Jacksonville the Titans ran 12 times in the 1st half. But ran for 24 in the 2nd half. Large portion was due to them leading in the game.
  4. Turnovers, Can the Titans continue forcing turnovers in week 3 like they did in week 2. The Titans are plus 2 in turnovers thanks to causing 3 turnovers last week in their victory against Jacksonville. Head coach Mike Mularkey said. It’s the difference. You can put a chart that goes back 20 years and it will show you the difference in the outcomes of games based on turnovers.
  5. Titans pressure on Wilson, Russel Wilson has been hit 16 times in just 2 games. And has been sacked 6 more times. That means he’s been hit 22 times on 66 drop backs. Outside Linebacker Derrick Morgan has a sack in each of the first 2 games of the season. Wilson is one of the most elusive quarterbacks in the NFL. He has ran for 74 yards on 14 attempts. The Titans defensive front must maintain good gap control and not over pursue Wilson. That would allow Wilson to climb the pocket and possibly find a running lane to take off. Mularkey went on to say that Wilson has a history of that and we know that.

The future is bright in Tennessee

  1. The Tenneesse Titans have faced there frist AFC South rival and have come out on top.1st half was a Offence struggle as they went in to half time 6-3 with the Jacksonville Jaguars.With both Defense holding there own.When running back Demarco Murray comes out the game with a strained hamstring enters Derrick Henrey and major contributors like Taywan Taylor on offence and Jaylon Brown, Derek Morgan and Byrad this is a preview to all Titans fans of what this team is becoming right before their eyes… by Adam Pitts

Kevin Byard will be a household name

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FS Kevin Byard was tabbed as our breakout candidate of the year prior to the season. (Photo Credit: titansonline.com)

What defensive coordinator has more success with safeties than the legend, Dick Lebeau? He has orchestrated some of the most fearsome defenses in the NFL throughout his coaching career. When a coach with his level of expertise handpicks a prospect, there is a good chance that he will pan out. Dick Lebeau was vocal about Middle Tennessee safety, Kevin Byard. Before the season, we chose him to be our Breakout Candidate of the year.

His rookie campaign was solid, yet unspectacular. With poor cornerback play last season, Byard was left cleaning up broken coverages and holding the last line of defense. The cornerback position has been rehauled since then and two games into this season, he has been very outstanding. He’s great in coverage and active in run support. The former Middle Tennessee standout has already racked up 14 tackles.

Extrapolate those numbers through a 16 game slate, and he would be looking at 112 tackles.  Are those tackle numbers sustainable? Maybe not. But, this week against the Jaguars, Byard played all 67 defensive snaps. He was the only player on the defense to do so. The coaching staff has faith in him, and so does the man who drafted him.

“He’s always had a swagger, but he’s more vocal. He’s kind of the field general back there.”  Titan’s GM Jon Robinson on Kevin Byard’s progression.

Pair his instincts and his high motor together, add in being on the field for the majority of defensive snaps, and you’re going to see Kevin Byard blow up this year. Anything less than top five safety numbers this season, would be an absolute surprise.

The Titans throttle Jacksonville

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Derrick Henry will not be denied the touchdown, runs right over Jalen Ramsey.

In what was most certainly a tale of two halves, the Titans proved that they are the smashmouth kings of the AFC South. It seemed like coaches Mike Mularkey and Doug Marrone were using the same playbook in the first half, feeling each other out and trying to establish the run game.

It was tough sledding for the Titans early, and the Jacksonville defensive line kept Demarco Murray bottled up. Likewise, Jacksonville’s Fournette couldn’t get much going either. Marcus Mariota had a spotty first half, with a few questionable throws. Including an errant throw that was picked off by Telvin Smith. He settled down once the run game started to take off. He ended the day 15/27 with 215 yards, a touchdown and an interception.

The real story on the day was the emergence of Derrick Henry. He did most of his damage in the second half, and had a career high 92 yards on the day with a touchdown. He consistently broke tackles, and the Jaguars couldn’t slow him down.

 

Blake Bortles is always going to Bortles it seems, his three turnovers were nails in the coffin for Jaguars. Brian Orakpo hit him for a strip sack in the second quarter, which was recovered by Erik Walden. Then Bortles had two tipped balls in the second half that the opportunistic Titans defense intercepted.

The Titans dropped 31 points on Jacksonville in the second half, and validated some of the hype that media pundits were lavishing on them prior to the season. Next week’s matchup, against the Seattle Seahawks, will be another bar fight and will test the toughness of this Titans team. Fantasy owners, do what you can to move Demarco Murray, King Henry has ascended his throne.

 

 

 

2017 Small School Draft: Top 20 Results

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Bears TE Adam Shaheen

Summary

Taking a look at our top 20 players from last year’s pre-draft, small school big board. And our results are in.

 

11 players made the final 53 man rosters on their team

1 player retired with an opportunity to play, to pursue a coaching career

1 player is designated as a non football injury and eligible to return Week 8

2 players ended their season on IR

5 players waived by their team

 

 

The Prospects

1. Derek Rivers (Youngstown State EDGE) *drafted 3rd Rd 83rd overall to the New England Patriots–Season Ending IR (ACL)

2. Adam Shaheen (Division II Ashland TE) *drafted 2nd Rd 45th overall to the Chicago Bears–Made the 53 Man Roster

3. Julien Davenport (Bucknell OT) *drafted 4th Rd 130th overall to the Houston Texans–Made the 53 Man Roster

4. Cooper Kupp (Eastern Washington WR) *drafted 3rd Rd 69th overall to the LA Rams–Made the 53 Man Roster

5. Tanoh Kpassagnon (Villanova DE) *drafted 2nd Rd 59th overall to the Kansas City Chiefs–Made the 53 Man Roster

6. Jordan Morgan (Division II Kutztown OG) *drafted 5th Rd 147th overall to the Chicago Bears–Season Ending IR (Shoulder)

7. Corey Levin (UT Chattanooga OG) *drafted 6th Rd 217th overall to the Tennessee Titans–Made the 53 Man Roster

8. Lorenzo Jerome (Saint Francis FS) *Signed as UDFA with San Francisco 49ers–Made the 53 Man Roster

9. Brendan Langley (Lamar CB) *drafted 3rd Rd 101st overall to the Denver Broncos–Made the 53 Man Roster

10. Jessamen Dunker (Tennessee State OG) *Signed as UDFA with the NY Giants–Waived by the Giants

11. Ezra Robinson (Tennessee State CB) *Signed as UDFA with the Jacksonville Jaguars–Waived by the Jaguars

12. Javancy Jones (Jackson State LB) *Signed as UDFA with the Arizona Cardinals–Retired to pursue a coaching career

13. Chad Williams (Grambling State WR) * drafted 3rd Rd 98th overall to the Arizona Cardinals–Made the 53 Man Roster

14. Keionta Davis (UT Chattanooga)*Signed as UDFA with the New England Patriots–Designated non football injury and eligible to return in 8 weeks

15. Roderick Henderson (Alabama State NT) *Signed as UDFA with the Tennessee Titans–Waived by the Titans

16. Javarious Leamon (South Carolina State OT) *Signed as UDFA with the NY Jets–Waived by the Jets

17. Kendrick Bourne (Eastern Washington WR) *Signed as UDFA with the San Francisco 49ers–Made the 53 Man Roster

18. Samson Ebukam (Eastern Washington EDGE) *drafted 4th Rd 125th overall to the LA Rams–Made the 53 Man Roster

19. Jylan Ware (Alabama State OT) *drafted 7th Rd 231st overall to the Oakland Raiders–Made the 53 Man Roster

20. Ethan Cooper (Division II IUP OG) *Signed as UDFA with the Pittsburgh Steelers–Waived by the Steelers

Analyzing a crazy week for the Browns

With the final preseason game looming and the regular season opener fast approaching, it’s been a crazy and busy week for the Browns.

Most of these moves were not unexpected but how some went down has been the topic of much discussion.

Here is an analysis of each of the major moves that have occurred in the past week.

KIZER NAMED STARTING QUARTERBACK

As I’ve said throughout the summer, Brock Osweiler had the best chance at the starting quarterback position based on his experience. But if rookie DeShone Kizer played equal or above him, it would be in the best interest of the franchise to start Kizer because he is the future and Osweiler is not.

Osweiler had his chance to win the starting job in preseason Week 2, but played poorly. Kizer, while unspectacular last week against the Buccaneers, played well and moved the offense. The team would have scored more points if not for a pass interference penalty against Corey Coleman and a fumble by Duke Johnson.

At this point, with Cody Kessler struggling, coach Hue Jackson should stick with Kizer the entire season and live with the growing pains.

JOE HADEN RELEASED

This one is a head scratcher. Not in the fact cornerback Joe Haden is gone. Injuries have affected his play in recent years and he clearly has lost a step. But it’s curious that with a need at wide receiver, the Browns couldn’t find a trade partner and chose to release him instead.

As a result, the rival Steelers snatched Haden up quickly. It’s going to be a strange opening Sunday with Haden in black and gold.

CAM ERVING TRADED TO THE CHIEFS

It finally happened. The Browns are rid of a player they should have released long ago. The amazing thing is the Chiefs actually gave them a 5th round pick for him. This is a total steal by the Browns.

Patriots lose a much needed pass rusher

derek rivers

The New England Patriots used their top selection, a third round pick, on Derek Rivers from Youngstown State. Rivers spent his college career terrorizing quarterbacks, and was expected to do much of the same in Foxboro. Rivers, who was already a hot name in small school draft circles, really boosted his stock with an outstanding showing at the Reese’s Senior Bowl.

Bill Belichick has never been afraid of throwing the dice on small school prospects, and generally comes out on the winning side. Though Rivers is an exceptional prospect athletically, the question was if his skill set was translatable. He was showing his ability in joint practices with the Houston Texans, dragging down Tom Savage for a sack at one point. In an unfortunate turn of events, the former Youngstown State defensive end went down with a knee injury while covering a kickoff. Though he walked off the field under his own power, it was later determined Rivers had torn his ACL and sprained his LCL. It looks like he may be lost for the season, whch depletes an already thin position for the Patriots. They will probably look to upgrade their depth, via trade or a signing.

Though its a tough pill to swallow for the young rookie, Derek Rivers is a hard worker and is devout in his faith. Expect this young man to battle back, and be better than he was prior to the injury. Speedy recovery Derek.

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