Defense Mid-Season Report

Tuesday, November 2, 2004 at 1:00am

The Tennessee Titans defense has had its share of problems in the first half of the season. Injuries have decimated the linebacker corps, turning it from the deepest spot on the roster to the thinnest.

The Titans rookie defensive linemen have not made nearly as many contributions as the coaches would have hoped by this point, though they appear to be slowing improving.

But some credit must be given. Just because the Titans have been dealt a less than stellar hand, they have not been afraid to make changes. That was evident when Kevin Carter, whom the Titans had used all offseason and in the first three games at defensive tackle, shifted back to end where he has helped to solidify the position.

The Titans are also back to blitzing more this season, using linebackers and defensive backs to help them generate needed pressure on opposing quarterbacks.

Defensive line

Some good things can be said of the defensive line. First, Carter has helped to bring some stability to the end position, by sliding back outside from left defensive tackle. Second, Albert Haynesworth has matured into a consistent force inside along the defensive front, something the Titans will need to continue to see if they are to stay on the right course in the second half of the season. Aside from that, question marks have abounded as the Titans have tried to nurse rookies Antwan Odom and Travis LaBoy along at defensive end with each showing occasional flashes, but having had their share of rookie hiccups as well. Defensive line coach Jim Washburn is a master at getting the most out of his charges, but this season has been his most challenging to date with three rookies seeing time in the rotation. They need to generate pressure more consistently. Under Washburn

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