Saturday, October 6, 2012

Notes from Titans vs Texans - Offense

The Titans traveled to Houston, Texas to play AFC South conference leader the Houston Texans who were undefeated and generally considered one of the best teams in the league. Unfortunately the Titans lost Jake Locker to a shoulder injury and it appears he will be out at least a few weeks if not more.Let's dive in and take a look at the offense, and see how it fares without Locker.

Chris Johnson looked really fast on the first and second plays from scrimmage. I thought the run blocking generally was pretty good. The right side of the line played well and kudo's to Steve Hutchinson and Michael Roos who had what I think was his best game of the season. He really played well. Look as how well he seals a block here.

Overall, I thought Chris Johnson ran with good effort and vision. He isn't quite the CJ of the past as he seems to have lost that "turbo" gear but he approaches the line quickly and for the most part reads the coverage well.

He does need to be careful about losing those pants. This isn't the first time it's almost happened. <insert joke emoticon> Finally, I do wonder if CJ sees the difference in his own performance and whether he is aware that he had issues of his own. Still, it is good to see the running game improve.

One thing I did notice was that on that run in the first quarter where CJ loses a yard we pull Leroy Harris from the right side to the left and JJ Watt comes in unblocked. It does look Craig Stevens was supposed to pick up two guys including JJ Watt.

That’s just a failure of the blocking scheme as Craig Stevens one on one with JJ Watt didn’t work too well on that 6 yard loss first play second quarter either. That’s just a failure of the blocking scheme as Craig Stevens one on one with JJ Watt didn’t work too well on that 6 yard loss first play second quarter either. 

The right side of the line generally struggled however and Amano and Stewart couldn’t hold anyone off at times. 

Finally, the offensive line did struggle to protect the quarterback as Jake Locker was put out of the game with a helmet to his shoulder on a sack. Matt Hasselback was under pressure a lot and he was sacked 3 times. He also lost a fumble. He finished 17 of 25 with 2 touchdowns, 2 interceptions and a fumble.

Another thing I liked from the coaching staff was the use of Quinn Johnson in the passing game. I hope we see a little bit more of that as he looks good when he is catching and running with the ball and it has been successful so far.

Unfortunately, the passing game struggled some but there were some good things to see besides Quinn Johnson. I liked how we used Craig Stevens in the red zone to score the first touchdown. Also, Chris Johnson caught a couple of passes. Nate Washington continues to be a reliable veteran in the passing game and he really did a nice job blocking. Taylor Thompson struggles a bit with his blocking on the offense but the interception simply wasn't his fault just a poorly thrown pass by Hasselback.

Kendall Wright struggled early on but after watching the film it is easy to see the reason. I do not like to call other players or teams dirty but clearly the Texans play dirty. There were a ton of missed calls and Wright was held on the 2nd and 3rd incomplete.

 Furthermore, the last time I checked the NFL rulebook specifically prohibits the following: 
  • A tackler using his helmet to butt, spear, or ram an opponent.
  • Any player who uses the top of his helmet unnecessarily.
Well kids the Texans did that a lot as you can see from the following shots (pardon the pun).

Late hit and spear on Chris Johnson by Demps

He led with his helmet

A spear and a pile on

This is a spear (leading with helmet) on Hawkins

He lowers his head and leads with his helmet

After holding him for that incompletion, Kareem Jackson also took a shot at Kendall Wright after the ball was dropped. This of course wasn't called either.

Also, Damien Williams got mugged on that last pick six from Kareem Jackson who hot dogged it into the endzone. Kid, act like you've been there.

Finally, a note about David Stewart who clearly had reason to be angry. Having said that Son you can't lose your head like that and in retrospect Munchak should have pulled him for a few plays while he cooled down. Unfortunately, it doesn't appear we have a backup plan. 
Stewart lost his cool on the first Hasselback interception when a Texans offensive lineman kept grabbing him from behind. The Texan ultimately slung Stewart around and he retaliated by throwing a haymaker. I can't say I blame him but he has to shrug it off after that and play smart.

Obviously the Texans game was a struggle for the Titans offense and one only hopes to see improvement overall in the weeks to come. Let's also hope Jake Locker doesn't need surgery.

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