Tennessee Titans: 5 Reasons Titans Are Most Underrated Team in the NFL
The Titans currently sit at 3-2, tied for first in the AFC South standings, as they head into their bye week.
The Week 5 loss to the Steelers was a poor performance but was merely a hiccup in what looks to be a promising season.
Here are five reasons why they are so underrated.
Young and Improving Defense
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The Titans are tied for sixth in the NFL in points conceded per game, averaging 18.8 per week, despite Pittsburgh putting up 38 against them last week.
Their defense is giving up the 10th least yards per game—sitting 11th in both passing and rushing yards allowed.
The best thing about this Tennessee defense, though, is the youth and the potential that goes with that.
A solid draft class saw them bring in a pair of tackles, Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug, who are competing for game time. They also added linebacker Akeem Ayers in this year’s draft, who looks to be adding some much needed athleticism and sting to the position.
In the secondary, there are Jason McCourty, Alterraun Verner and Michael Griffin who, along with 2010 first-round pick Derrick Morgan and fellow defensive end Jason Jones, are all still 25 years old or younger.
This young talent is mixing nicely with veterans such as Cortland Finnegan, Barrett Ruud, Will Witherspoon and Jordan Babineaux.
Stable Quarterback Situation
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The Titans currently have the quarterback situation that most teams dream about.
They are in the enviable position of having drafted their quarterback of the future, Jake Locker, high in the first round of this year’s draft and being able to sit him for a year or two behind a solid veteran.
So many quarterbacks get rushed into starting roles way too soon, and it can effectively ruin careers before they begin.
The Titans are fortunate that their veteran QB still has something left in the tank and can help them win games.
Matt Hasselbeck has fit in perfectly with the Titans and has already guided them to three wins and, although in the twilight of his career, he's still more than capable of delivering more wins in the coming months.
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Chris Johnson is too talented and dynamic to be kept down for long. It is surely a matter of time before he explodes.
Johnson's offseason contract disputes have slowed his progress so far in 2011, but now into Week 6 of the season, it is time for him to turn it on.
After his 2,006 rushing yards in 2009, Johnson became a household name in the NFL—ranked in the top two or three in his position.
It is time for him to start showing what he is capable of, and when he does get back to some of his best stuff, the Titans' chances to win games will greatly increase.
New-Look Coaching Staff
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It was time for a fresh start in Nashville.
Long time Titans coach Jeff Fisher parted ways with the franchise in the offseason, and the reins were handed over to first-time head coach Mike Munchak.
Munchak has been with the franchise his entire professional football career and was seen as the obvious successor to Fisher.
Drafted by the then Houston Oilers in 1982, Munchak enjoyed an 11-year NFL playing career before turning to coaching, where he has primarily been the Oilers/Titans offensive line coach.
No one knows Titans football better than Munchak, and it is great when someone like him from inside a franchise gets hired.
His new-look coaching staff, including coordinators Chris Palmer and Jerry Gray, have gotten off to a solid start. They should continue to improve as they spend more time with their players after missing a lot of time in the preseason due to the lockout.
The AFC South
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The AFC South division is a simple reason why the Titans could be a contender this year.
It is obviously not why they're underrated, but it could help them be a team that flies under the radar come playoff time.
The Texans are the heavy favorites to win the AFC South and are currently tied with the Titans at 3-2. If the Titans can keep improving, this could be an intriguing season-long battle.
After their bye week, the Titans will host Houston in Week 7, which is shaping up to be a very important game in how this division might pan out—even at this early stage of the season.