Michael Griffin admits defense is in a Catch-22

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As much trouble as Titans defensive coordinator Jerry Gray had explaining what he really meant by his “bring the Gator truck” comments, his players are having a hard time putting his words into play.

Titans safety Michael Griffin agrees with the general thesis — the worst-in-the-league scoring defense needs to play tougher — but admits it’s hard to put it into action.

Gray basically wanted his players to play with an abandon, to not let fear of fines make them pull up, and to make the middle of the field a painful place.

“I’ve watched film, and said to myself: ‘OK, I could have taken a shot there,’ ” Griffin said, via Jim Wyatt of the Tennesseean. “When the shot presents itself, yeah you take it. But that’s the problem — it’s not like every game a shot is there. If there is a fine, I am not worried about it. You think about it, but when you go to take the hit you have to do it right.”

That’s more of a quandary than you’d think, as players are being hammered about player safety more often than ever.

“But still, when you take the shot you have to make sure it is legal,” Griffin said. “Of course the fans want to see it and they question you about it and everything else. But it’s kind of a no-win situation. You take a shot and get a 15-yard penalty, and it’s like, ‘Way to take it, but you are a dumb [expletive] because you just got a 15-yard penalty.’ And if you don’t take the shot, then you are a dumb [expletive] because you didn’t take the shot. So you are wrong either way.”

Kind of like his boss was, when he tried to verbalize things coaches have been talking about for years, to players who are working under a new set of rules.

6 responses to “Michael Griffin admits defense is in a Catch-22

  1. Or you could just make a tackle instead of trying to knock someones head off every single play.

  2. I’ll admit that the player safety rules favor the offense, but this is just a terribly poor excuse for terribly poor play.

  3. This is what frustrates me.

    If you watched football 10+ years ago, defenders knew how to tackle. They’d keep their head up and eyes on the player with the ball, deliver a hard hit to the mid-section, and WRAP UP.

    These days, the guys lower their heads and take their eyes OFF the player with the ball, and fly through the air either hitting the ball-carrier’s head or missing completely.

    Wrap up! Most big plays come off of missed tackles.

  4. It’s as simple as this, it comes down to coaching. That was a period at the end of the last sentence, because I shouldn’t have to say period. It’s the difference between strategy and tactics. Coaches are apparently so absorbed with “game planning” for the next opponent they aren’t stressing, or for that matter teaching, the fundamentals of tackle football. The problem is systemic because the NFL is a combination of athletic competion, entertainment and the level of money that’s at stake makes the “business” aspect more important, at least in some people’s minds. It’s all about the flash and it’s definitely all about the cash.

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