We’re checking in with each team during their bye week for a look at their state of the season.
So much for the crippling lockout
When coming up with teams hurt by the lockout, the Titans should have been at the top of the list. They had new systems to install on both sides of the ball. They had a new quarterback and a star holdout at running back. The Titans haven’t been phased at all, going 3-2 early. Expectations should be adjusted.
The Titans have looked very powerful at times, soundly beating the Ravens at home and the Browns on the road. They have also looked overwhelmed in a blowout loss to the Steelers and a deceptively close loss to Jacksonville.
Inconsistency isn’t a shock with this team. It’s more surprising how well they can play when they are “on.”
Hasselbeck a perfect pickup
The Titans are paying Matt Hasselbeck a lot of money, and it’s still not enough. He’s showing first-round pick Jake Locker how to get it done. Hasselbeck is a terrific leader and has avoided the mistakes that plagued him in Seattle. His protection has been excellent. Hasselbeck threw nine touchdowns with four interceptions and a 7.8 YPA in the first five weeks.
Johnson’s slump a good sign?
We’ve written about Chris Johnson’s struggles here plenty. In the long run, they could be viewed as a good sign for this team. The Titans won’t stay last in rushing all year. Johnson won’t stay so ineffective. (Right?) It’s a good sign the Titans have won while C.J2k isn’t on pace for 1k.
Britt’s loss a huge blow
Few wideouts meant more to their team. The Titans are thin in the playmaker department. It is going to be difficult to consistently generate offense without Britt in the final 11 weeks.
The defense has come along faster than expected. The Titans are sixth in points allowed this season and tenth in yards allowed. They don’t have great pass rushers, but rookie Akeem Ayers looks like a keeper and Derrick Morgan has shown flashes since returning from injury.
Finnegan leads strong secondary
Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray has moved Cortland Finnegan around a lot to great effect. He’s playing like a Pro Bowler again in a contract year. Jason McCourty and Alterraun Verner have also played well for an underrated secondary.
A division there for the taking
The Titans are the only team other than the Colts to win the AFC South since Peyton Manning became Peyton Manning. With Manning out, it looks like a two-team race between the Titans and Texans. The Jaguars are 1-4 with a rookie quarterback and a brutal upcoming schedule. The Colts are 0-5.
The Titans have three straight home games after the bye, starting with the Texans.
While Tennessee is a developing team, the time for playoff contention is now.