Jets vs. Titans: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Tennessee

Chad Minton@@chad_mintonCorrespondent ISeptember 30, 2013

Jets vs. Titans: Full Roster Report Card Grades for Tennessee

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    The big win over the New York Jets to move the Tennessee Titans to 3-1 comes in bittersweet fashion for the Titans as quarterback Jake Locker went down with a nasty hip injury.

    It was perhaps the best all-around game for not only Locker, but for nearly the entire team. 

    The Jets were supposed to still have a respected defense, even though the offense is still finding its way.

    The Titans outplayed them on both ends.

    The Titans are now sitting in a two-way tie with the Indianapolis Colts for first place in the AFC South with one quarter of the regular season in the books.

    Here are the position grades for the Titans in a huge 38-13 win over an AFC opponent.

Quarterback (A+)

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    Jake Locker, Ryan Fitzpatrick

    It was yet another solid outing for Locker after playing extremely well in the previous week's win over the San Diego Chargers.

    There's no telling what Locker's stats would've ended up being if not for the hip injury early in the third quarter that forced him out of the game. The Jets had no answer for Locker for most of the game.

    When the Jets did seem to have the right coverage called, Locker made precision throws that you're use to seeing from elite quarterbacks.

    This game wasn't nearly as thrilling, but Locker continued to show that he's improving by the week. Hopefully the injury will not force him to miss more than a few weeks, and that it doesn't put him into another setback.

    Ryan Fitzpatrick got off to a slow start but also got in on the action by throwing a 77-yard bomb to Nate Washington to add onto the scoring onslaught.

    The Titans should be able to stay relevant with Fitzpatrick under center for the remainder of the season if Locker does miss an extended amount of time. Making the playoffs is another issue for another day.

Running Back (D)

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    Chris Johnson, Jackie Battle

    It's still hard to believe that the Titans won so comfortably after how dismal the running game was. Chris Johnson was lucky to crack more than a yard each time he touched the ball.

    Jackie Battle didn't fair any better, and it's even more of a testament to how well Locker played to help the Titans win this game in easy fashion.

    This won't be a formula for success in the future for the Titans with teams like the Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers still on the schedule. The running game has to perform better for the Titans to keep up this success, and Shonn Greene's return should help with that.

Wide Receiver (A+)

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    Nate Washington, Kendall Wright, Justin Hunter, Damian Williams

    We're really starting to see how deep this receiving corps is after seeing the type of game Damian Williams put together to complement Nate Washington and Kendall Wright.

    Justin Hunter can't be forgotten as now both of his career receptions are touchdown receptions. This one against the Jets was even more impressive than the game-winner over the Chargers the week before.

    Defenses are going to have their hands full preparing for this balanced passing attack that is fully capable of putting up enough points to shoot it out with anyone.

    Kenny Britt's services weren't needed at all in this game, and that should reinforce the notion that he's gone at season's end. Hopefully the Titans can get a high draft pick out the deal and just cut their losses.

Tight End (B)

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    Delanie Walker

    It was another largely ineffective day for the tight end position, but Delanie Walker did grab his second touchdown of the season.

    The Titans have gotten by without much production for the tight end position. Better defenses will force the tight end to get more involved in the passing game.

    Walker does seem like he's ready to deliver if he could just start getting more targets. However, he just wasn't really needed in this game as the Titans wide receivers really had their fingerprints all over the offense.

Offensive Line (B+)

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    Andy Levitre, Robert Turner, Chance Warmack, Michael Roos, David Stewart

    Those great passing numbers put up by Locker and Fitzpatrick wouldn't have been possible without what was one of the better performances of the season for the offensive line. 

    It did give up two sacks to a respectable Jets pass rush.

    The run game never got going for the Titans, and some of that falls onto the shoulders of the offensive line. It looked very similar to last season, but luckily the Titans were clicking in the passing to offset those problems.

    As the season progresses, this unit will get better. It's going to have to get better with a less mobile Fitzpatrick possibly taking over for Locker for an extended amount of time.

Defensive Line (A+)

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    Karl Klug, Derrick Morgan, Ropati Pitoitua, Jurrell Casey, Antonio Johnson, Mike Martin

    The best performance of the season by far comes in this win over the Jets. They knew they would have their opportunities against a struggling offense that was starting a rookie quarterback, and these guys took advantage of that.

    Karl Klug made a game-changing play by recovering the fumble for a touchdown to put the game completely out of reach in the fourth quarter. 

    Both Ropati Pitoitue and Jurrell Casey also had strong outings to put pressure on Geno Smith and hold the Jets rushing attack under 100 yards.

    This unit is playing a lot better than many expected it would, and that's even with the ineffectiveness of Kamerion Wimbley as he's been leapfrogged by Pitoitua.

    It'll be challenged next week with the mobile Alex Smith and the Kansas City Chiefs.

Linebacker (A)

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    Zach Brown, Akeem Ayers, Moise Fokou

    Zach Brown is quietly having a Pro Bowl season through four games after adding another sack to his season total that's now at three.

    He's the top linebacker on this team and was all over the field making plays against the Jets, much like he did last December in another Titans win over the Jets.

    Moise Fokou should not be overlooked here. He's have a solid season as well in a role that was expected to be Colin McCarthy's until injuries sent him down the depth chart.

    We knew linebacker was going to be a strong part of this defense, and it hasn't disappointed so far with bigger challenges ahead on the schedule.

Defensive Backs (B+)

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    Alterraun Verner, Jason McCourty, Coty Sensabaugh, Bernard Pollard, Michael Griffin, George Wilson

    Geno Smith had a couple of deep completions, but he was held in check for the most part by the Titans secondary. 

    Alterraun Verner was fighting for his starting job in training camp, and now he's tied for the NFL lead in interceptions with four.

    He added two in this game to continue Smith's turnover problems, and Jason McCourty once again held his own on the other side of the field to prevent too many big plays.

    The Jets aren't exactly loaded at receiver, so this was somewhat expected.

    Bernard Pollard continued to pile on the tackles and remain a key part of this revamped defense that has given up just 69 points in four games. That's a dramatic turnaround from last season's record-breaking blunder.

Special Teams (A)

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    There weren't a lot of opportunities for Darius Reynaud in the return game, but he did make the most out of them by returning one punt for 35 yard to keep the field position battle tipped in the Titans' favor.

    The game was still somewhat close at this point in the third quarter, so that punt return helped the Titans keep the Jets pinned back.

    Brett Kern had an excellent game, including putting a punt at the 1-yard line to force the Jets to go 99 yards to even make it a game in the second half.

    Field position is always so important, and Kern is having another good season.

    Rob Bironas wasn't really needed much outside of extra points and a chip-shot field goal. That's a good thing that the Titans aren't settling for field goals over touchdowns.