After yesterday’s post on Jake Locker’s play, it’s time to take a look at how the rest of the offense performed against the Buccaneers.
Since the Titans put up 30 points, all of them with the offense, there was only one turnover, and every quarterback who took a meaningful snap at least got the ball to the red zone, you’ll find some fairly nice things in this breakdown. The star was the running game, and the Titans ran the ball more often than they called pass plays, so you’ll find more on the running game, particularly the backs, than the passing game in this week.
As with last week’s analysis, I’ll start with player participation, as best I could tell.
Let me stress these numbers are unofficial and you should not trust them. I tracked them to the best of my ability, but the Bucs’ broadcast that aired on NFL Network was not Titans-focused and was not very downfield camera-shot-friendly. Some players I did my best.
A slight change in methodology from last week-I then counted every time the Titans lined up. This week, I counted only counted plays involving a snap. This includes a couple plays that were wiped out by penalty and don’t count in the record books, but they’re still worth analyzing and independent events more than plays where there was a timeout or pre-snap penalty.
There were 63 non-kneeldown plays. As I did last week, players will be listed in order of their first appearance into the game.
Jake Locker started at quarterback and was in for 27 of those. Matt Hasselbeck played second and got 14 snaps. Rusty Smith got the remaining 22 snaps.
The Titans rolled out the following offensive lines:
Roos-Hutchinson/Matthews-Velasco-Harris-Stewart: 22 snaps (all Locker, the first 20 with Hutch)
Kropog-Matthews-Velasco-Harris-Stingily: 11 snaps (Locker/Hasselbeck, through the end of the first half)
Kropog-Durand-Matthews-DeVan-Stingily: 30 snaps (Hasselbeck and all of Rusty)
The Titans used the following running backs: Chris Johnson-21 snaps (incl. 3 as WR), Javon Ringer-11 snaps (1 as WR), Darius Reynaud-10 snaps, Jamie Harper-15 snaps (19 total), and Herb Donaldson-7 snaps (1 as WR).
Fullbacks: Collin Mooney-8 snaps (incl. 1 as WR, all with the first team, picked up knee injury), Quinn Johnson-13 snaps, and Jamie Harper-4 snaps.
Tight ends: Jared Cook-15 snaps, Craig Stevens-15 snaps, Taylor Thompson-24 snaps, Cameron Graham-17 snaps, and Joey Haynos-9 snaps.
Wide receivers, and once again here’s where the count is most likely to be wrong: Nate Washington-20 snaps, Kendall Wright-29 snaps, Damian Williams-35 snaps, Marc Mariani-22 snaps, D.J. Woods-11 snaps, Michael Preston-11 snaps, and James Kirkendoll-3 snaps.
The following players did not play on regular downs but did appear on the first kneeldown: QB Nick Stephens, LG George Bias, C Chris Morris, RG William Vlachos, and WR LaQuinton Evans.
- On CJ’s first run, Cook got the point of attack seal on RDE Michael Bennett. That qualifies as a complete “whoa” move to me, even with the normal preseason, not sure of effort level caveat. Bennett does blow up the third down run, thanks to what may have been some miscommunication between Stewart and Stevens, and a couple others later in the game.
- CJ looked GREAT. He actually followed his blocks this game and went where the run was supposed to go. For so long, he’s rarely down that but instead looked for a bigger hole elsewhere. Not only that, he ran decisively, forcing players to commit to him and then making a move to avoid them. Whoever has the time machine back to 2009, use it on Kenny Britt, too, since he was actually healthy then.
- Collin Mooney got most of the the first-team reps at fullback. While he wasn’t as tough to watch as QJ, he still didn’t make many good blocks. He did a better job of getting in position, but rarely actually sustained a block. Getting in the way is enough some of the time, especially with how CJ ran last night, but he didn’t actually impress me. QJ had a very solid block on CJ’s second TD.
- Kendall Wright needs to do a better job of shielding the defender and preventing plays like the pass breakup by the corner on the slant from Locker.
- Thompson needed to do a better job of playing to the whistle on his short catch in the two-minute drill before the half. He thought he was down, and may have been, but they didn’t call it and needed to get out of bounds. Cost the team a timeout. Rookie mistake, as was the TD pass from Rusty he dropped on contact from a defender.
- Harper still reminds me a lot of the better version of LenDale White-not much quickness in his game, and maybe not quite the power runner you’d expect from a man his size, but generally makes good reads when not trying to bounce everything. The failed 4&1 play is a good example of his limitations and what you get from having not much burst. He got a couple snaps at fullback late in the game and didn’t wow me with his pop.
- Reynaud’s running style reminds me of his history as a returner at times, with the stutter-step to set up defenders. He seems like much more of a perimeter runner, like CJ. If he could catch (not worried about this being an issue) and block (yeah…), he’d be a much more dynamic third down back than Ringer. Ringer’s the only back I trust in pass pro, though.
- I haven’t said a lot about O-linemen, especially the backups in this analysis, but on a broad-scale point, I think I liked Byron Stingily somewhat better at the left tackle position he played last week than at RT this week. I might feel differently if I really went through and tried to grade him, but I wouldn’t attempt that without end zone shots for every play.
- Pretty sure the Titans have not yet run a play in the preseason with four regular wide receivers in the game. We’ll see if that limitation is just something for the preseason, or if Palmer won’t be changing that aspect of the playbook.
I’ll try to have a post covering the defense up tomorrow.