Titans tighten up on Jeremy Maclin
The Tennessee Titans are on a hot streak. After a come from behind victory at LP Field on Sunday the Titans proved they are a Superbowl contender. Overlooked amongst the great play of Kenny Britt and veteran Kerry Collins. who lit the Eagles up in the fourth quarter, is the defense.
They may not look impressive as they are only 14th in the league in defense, but they are third in the league in scoring defense allowing only 16.7 yards per game. They are also tied for first in the league in sacks with 25 and lead the league in interceptions with 12.
Wow they're pretty good, but I bet you don't know one guy on this defense do you? That's ok, because that's the way they like it. The mentality of a no name defense with no stars has been a motto for the Titans all year. That doesn't mean they don't have good players though, in fact here are five Titans defenders you should know about.
Jason Jones first broke onto the scene two years ago in a game vs. the Pittsburg Steelers. Playing for an injured Albert Haynesworth Jones had 3.5 sacks.
This year he only has two, but gets constant pressure on the quarterback and has bottled up the run game well. Last week with the Titans down 16-7 Jones forced a fumble on a handoff from Kevin Kolb to LeSean McCoy, which sparked the Titans to thier comeback win.
Trust me in a few years you will definately know who he is.
This year has been very good so far for Stephen Tulloch. It seems his name is called after every play for yet another tackle. He is one of the finest middle linebackers in the league.
His 71 tackles ranks second in the league and he constantly makes big plays. Earlier this season the Cowboys were driving down the field with under two minutes left. They were looking to tie the score after a one yard Chris Johnson run put the Titans ahead. Sadly for the Cowboys Tulloch picked off a throw and took away any chance of a comeback. That my friends is indeed a big play by a big player.
Jason Babin was considered done. He was drafted in the first round of the 2004 draft by the Houston Texans. After two lackluster years he was labeled a bust and began a journey which took him to three teams in four years before landing with the Titans.
When he came to the Titans most thought it was for depth, but somehow he became a starter. So far this year he has proven that making him a starter was a wise choice. He has six sacks in the first seven games.
Before this year he never had six sacks in a season, but those days are behind him. Now no one calls this tatooed terror a bust, no they call him a play buster.
Dave Ball like Bavin was also drafted in the 2004 draft. His story is different though. Despite being an All-American at UCLA in 2003 he was not deemed to have the tools to be a defensive end in the NFL and he fell to the fith round before the Chargers drafted him.
In his first four season playing for the Chargers and Jets he did not record a sack. Then he came to Tennessee as the backup of Kyle Vanden Bosch he recorded 4.5 sacks.
People still just thought of him as a depth payer and the next year he had another sackless season. Then in 2010 he shot up the depth chart. By week one he was a starter and by week seven he had a matching six sacks to go with his teamate and fellow underdog Jason Babin's six sacks. Pretty good for a guy who didn't have the tools to be an NFL player.
Alteraun Vernner was the Titans 4th round pick this year. Despite not being the starter at the beggining of the year Verner has proven himself to be a great talent.
When Jason McCourty went down with an arm injury Verner stepped in and played like an All-Pro. In 4 games he has two interceptions and two fumble recoveries including the big one on the eagles three yard line last week.
The sky is the limit for this young UCLA product.
Micheal Griffin: Led the league in interceptions two years ago, but struggled last year. This year he has four pics, tied for second best in the league. An All-Pro calliber player who many NFL fans already know.
Courtland Finnegan: Probably the best known of the Titans defenders. An All-Pro two years ago and a great talent that has held down the secondary for the last few years. Was not a well known player out of college and was a 7th round draft pick.
Will Witherspoon: A good player who has jumped around the league. Spent time in Philly and St. Louis before becoming a Titan. He is a solid defender who has three sacks this year.
Tony Brown: The defensive MVP a few year ago in NFL Europe he has played very well since becoming a Titan. His main asset is as a run stopper, but he also has two and a half sacks.
Chris Hope: Savvy hard hitting veteran. Been to a few Pro Bowls and is a very talented player.
Gerald McRath: Got off suspension three weeks ago had eight tackles his first game back. Titans fans are interested to see what he brings to the table.