Know Your Enemy: Tennessee Titans


This week I talked to Brandon, editor of FanSided’s Tennessee Titans blog, Titan Sized. I asked him a few questions about the upcoming matchup between the Titans and Ravens. Here’s what he had to say:

1. How do you think Chris Johnson will perform? Do you think the holdout will affect him in any way?

"The Titans offensive line remains highly touted, but I won’t get upset if you call me a non-believer. Pro Football Focus recently ranked them in roughly the bottom third of the league (based off their 2010 performance). Most observers (including Sports Illustrated) still think the line is top-notch, I feel this remains due to their past achievements, not their current abilities. Chris Johnson, like any back, can easily be limited by the play of his offensive line. Nothing about Johnson looked ‘special’ this past Sunday. I have no reason to believe that will change this Sunday against a defense that will be considered top-10 and possibly top-5 at the end of this season. Johnson needs a few more weeks to get his act together. The Lockout combined with his holdout to limit his play….for now."

2. What do you realistically expect from Matt Hasselbeck? Do you think that Jake Locker will come in at any time this season? If so, when?

"I’ve long been a fan of Hasselbeck. I think he warrants any positive attention he receives. Jacksonville’s defense kept him at bay during the first half, and his newness to the system may have held him back as well. However, late in the game when Jacksonville played without one starting corner, Hasslebeck built momentum. When you combine that with a few penalties, they moved down the field. Confidence changed his output. If you let him get going just a little bit, he’ll get on a roll. He could be really special this year.Jake Locker will most likely not start for this team in 2011. Now, he may play but he shouldn’t start. I think most within the organization truly believe in Hasslebeck, especially for this year. While Locker looked great in the pre-season (I’d say second-best rookie QB behind Ryan Mallett), he still needs some refinement. Hasselbeck has seen it all and can show it to Locker. Locker will be much better long-term due to this relationship. Hasselbeck signed a 3-year deal and I have no doubt he will be with the team in 2012, that role right now is uncertain, though I imagine it would be Locker’s team at that point."

3. Who’s your biggest X factor for both teams?

"Great question! I can’t watch the Ravens and not wonder what Ed Reed will do next. He remains one of the most exciting defensive players in the game, even moreso than Polamalu (I bet you like hearing that). However, he is also a known commodity. For a true x-factor, I’m going to have to go with Terrence Cody, the second-year mammoth from Alabama. I saw that he started with zero tackles last week. Most of that is probably by design, I’m thinking they just use him to eat up blocker as opposed to penetrate. Regardless, if he turns it on like he can, he could catch the Titans interior line napping. He won’t have too much of a problem.For the Titans, I’m going to pick an oddball–Quinn Johnson. I’ll give you the movie trailer version. The teams starting fullback Ahmard Hall, will miss the first four games for using those ‘performance-enhancing’ drugs that every NFl fan has become so aware of. GM Mike Reinfeldt pulled off a great last-minute move and traded for Quinn Johnson, a 6’1″, 260 lber from LSU that played for the Packers the last two seasons. He won a championship at LSU, and he won one with the Packers. He’s a big body, hard hitter and might turn out to be a really solid player. If he can get better this week (less than two weeks in the offense) then he may be able to spring Chris Johnson loose, and we all know what happens then."

4. What position do you feel is the Titans biggest weakness?

"I’m going to say interior offensive line. Our left guard and center are very weak and bring down the play of right guard Jake Scott and left tackle Michael Roos. Right tackle David Stewart can be erratic at times, but he’s an above-average player when the unit plays well as a whole."

5. What’s your prediction for the game? Any interesting match-ups or additional thoughts worth noting?

"I think the Ravens will win but the Titans will play better than the Steelers did in week 1 (not that it takes a lot). This may be a game decided in the third quarter, but as long as the Titans can limit turnovers and keep the offense on the field for long drives, they may be in at the end. The big key for the offense will be the ability to run the no-huddle. If you keep everyone moving quickly, then that monstrous line the Ravens put together will get tired just a little bit quicker. So, keep those big boys sucking for air and there’s a chance. Most likely, Ravens win 24-10."

Thanks again to Brandon. Be sure to check out!

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