The Sports Daily > Total Titans
Early Titans grades vs the Jaguars

OK, this will be down and dirty. These are just my impressions from watching the game from the stands, without looking at replays. Another caveat, I didn’t see all of the plays watching all 22 men. On quite a few plays, I had my binoculars focused in on a particular Titan. As a result, I missed most of what the other men on the field did on those plays.

Defense: A

A tremendous overall effort by the D. They were expected to be good this year, but exceeded expectations today with their dominating performance. The only touchdown the Jags scored occurred after a Vince Young interception which gave the Jags a first and goal on the Titans’ five-yard line. Talk about a short field.
D- line: A
The Jaguars didn’t have many holes to run through today. The Titans d-line, including the subs in the rotation, were swarming, holding the high-powered Jags’ running game to 33 yards. They almost completely dominated the line of scrimmage. Oh, I need to also mention the pressure they kept on Jags QB David Garrard, who was sacked seven times. Albert Haynesworth and Tony Brown had two apiece. Kyle Vanden Bosch scored a triple play with a sack, forced fumble and fumble recovery. Albert was shaken up on one play and later returned, despite apparently having his bell rung. In a post-game interview, he said he didn’t remember most of the game.
Linebackers: B+
See above for the stats on the Jags’ running game, which was due in large part also to the linebacking corps. David Thornton was active and had a good day. Ryan Fowler, Keith Bulluck and Stephen Tulloch were solid.
Secondary: A
Cortland Finnegan was the star, with two picks, but the play that impressed me most was the hit he put on Matt Jones, who had a height advantage of about eight inches and outweighs Finnegan by about 50 pounds. All Finnegan did was put a lick on Jones that stood him up and stopped him in his tracks. I didn’t like the way Harper played on occasion, but Griffin and Hope seemed to do a pretty good job, both in coverage and in run support.

Offense: C

Hot and cold. They looked great on some plays but awful on others. No consistency. A few groups were good. Others sucked.
Quarterbacks: C-
Vince Young looked terrible at times but also threw a few good passes downfield, some of which his receivers didn’t catch. Still, his overall performance was quite poor. The QB grade would have been a D, if not for Kerry Collins.
Running backs: A-
Chris Johnson did all you could ask of a rookie in his NFL debut. Over 100 yards in all-purpose yards and one touchdown. LenDale White didn’t have great stats but gained some tough yards.
Receivers: D-
A very underwhelming performance. Starters Justin Gage and Justin McCareins both dropped and/or failed to make receptions on a few catchable balls. Gage caught two for 25 yards, to lead the wideouts. McCareins was 0-for the afternoon. Brandon Jones contributed five yards on one catch. Very ugly.
Tight ends: A
A very good game by Bo Scaife, who had a few catches at opportune times, including the fourth quarter TD drive. His play determined the TE grade. Alge Crumpler was almost invisible.
O-line: A
They dominated a very good Jaguars d-line, paving the way for over 100 rushing yards against a defense which was among the best in the league last year against the run. Their pass protection was also very good.

Special teams: D

The kick and punt coverage teams were awful. The Titans were lucky they didn’t have one returned all the way. One of Craig Hentrich’s punts was partially blocked. Chris Carr didn’t do anything to impress and received a lot of boos for fair-catching a punt that could have been returned for at least a few yards. He had room to run. Instead, the Titans had to start out on their 9-yard line. At least, he prevented the possibility of a punt being downed inside the five.