Tennessee Titans State of the Union: Where They Stand Through Five Weeks
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Well, that happened.
There are only so many ways to summarize the Titans' disastrous 1-4 start. The record is what it is, but even optimists knew the early-season stretch was going to brutal.
No one envisioned the team being outscored by 93 points over the first five games, losing four blowouts in the process.
Here's the full report on the Titans one-third of the way through the year.
Short list, this one.
Obviously, the play of Darius Reynaud has to be mentioned. He was the AFC Special Teams Player of the Month for September and was fantastic. For a player on the roster bubble in camp, his electric play has been a bright spot.
Jake Locker's play falls in this category, though his shoulder does not. Locker showed flashes of the player he can be, and his overall production was acceptable. If he can get healthy and play the rest of the season like he did the early games, it will be a positive for the club.
The pass blocking by the offensive line has been solid throughout the year. The Titans have only allowed eight sacks on the season, and generally the quarterbacks have had time to throw.
We could start with Chris Johnson and/or the run blocking of the offensive line. Needless to say, 2.9 yards a rush is not going to cut it in the NFL.
The defense has been embarrassing. The Titans have allowed at least 30 points in every game of the season, and the problem starts up front.
While offseason addition Kamerion Wimbly has generated some pressure at times, he has just one sack in five games, which is only one off the team-high total of two set by Mark Martin.
No pass rush has led to wide-scale chaos in the secondary, as teams have passed at will on the Titans from Week 1.
The overall lack of talent is evident by the fact that they've only forced four turnovers, good for 27th in the NFL.
The Titans have been beset by injuries from the preseason on. Obviously, the Locker injury combined with lingering health problems for Kenny Britt have crippled the offense.
The defense played without Colin McCarthy for most of the year as well, leading to huge problems against tight ends in the passing game.
Tennessee has a favorable schedule going forward. They play eight of their final 11 games against teams currently with a losing record.
If they can just turn it around against the Steelers, there's still hope for a late-season surge. All it will take is better health and better execution.
Even if the season is a washout, if Locker can get healthy and play, there will still be a lot of valuable growth toward the higher goal that can take place.
Half-empty is being generous. This glass has been completely spilled.
The quarterback is hurt. The running back talks more than he runs. The entire defense has applied for a job with the Nashville tourism board as "an official end-zone greeter."
Jerry Gray has had five weeks to put together a game plan capable of holding an opponent under 30 points, and the closest he came was a 24-point effort against Houston, which the offense kindly augmented by handing the Texans 14 points of their own.
The half-empty view of the Titans is that their closest loss was by 21 points to the Patriots.
It's going to get better in Nashville, simply because it has to.
The defense may not be good, but it can aspire to mediocrity.
The schedule gets easier fast, and the Titans should manage not to embarrass themselves in several games before 2012 is over.
At this point, anything north of six wins seems over-optimistic, but with some breaks, the Titans can soar as high as seven.
If Locker doesn't return, that number could wind up considerably lower.
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