Numbers explain some problems for Titans

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 at 5:32pm

In trying to figure out just where things have gone wrong for the Tennessee Titans, there are plenty of areas to explore.

But on the offense there are plenty of befuddling stats that help to show why the Titans have been so inconsistent despite some strong individual numbers.

For instance, Chris Johnson is the NFL’s leading rusher with 434 yards through four games, but even Johnson’s work has inconsistencies that have plagued the offense and played into the team’s undoing.

Despite being the league’s top ground gainer, too many times, Johnson has been stopped for little to no gain or even losses. For example, Johnson carried 16 times for 83 yards Sunday against Jacksonville, but six of his attempts were for two yards or less, including two for lost yardage.

Last year, the Titans had a strong one-two punch with Johnson and LenDale White having about a 60/40 split of the carries. Thus far this season, White has been practically invisible with only 23 carries in four games. Johnson, whose speed dictates that he needs the bigger portion of the carries, has 69 attempts through four games this season, or three times what White has.

Also, the use of the pass has been a big change from last year. Some of it has been skewed by being behind in the second half, but nevertheless, the Titans won 13 games with Kerry Collins throwing an average of 26 passes per game and completing an average of 15.

With an upgrade at wide receiver, the Titans are now finding themselves too pass happy. Collins is averaging 38 pass attempts through four games and has an average of 21 completions. Worst of all is that his interception total has risen. In ’08, Collins had only seven passes picked off, and already has six in four games thus far in ’09.

The two problems seem to go hand-in-hand. Consider this: The Titans have gained 10 or more yards on first down 22 times, and gained 5-9 yards on first down 18 times. Comparatively, they have gained 1-4 yards on first down 29 times, had no gain on first down 32 times and lost yardage on first down 11 times. That means that 38 percent of the time, the Titans are faced with second-and-10 or longer and 72 percent of the time, the Titans face second-and-6 or more.

In general terms, second-and-6 or more is generally a passing down for many teams, and in the Titans’ case it has not carried over into success.

Of 52 drives this season, only 13 have resulted in points – nine touchdowns, four field goals.


15 Comments on this post:

By: Doug Eley on 10/6/09 at 4:47

I too have wandered why Lindell has been used so seldom. When he has been in , he has been effective, but yet it seems the coach is hell bent on trying to get Johnson to bust a long one. I honestly feel we need to use Lindell more. He can wear the defense down more, and then perhaps CJ could break a long one. The coaching staff seems too inflexible to me.

By: jps13pat on 10/6/09 at 10:11

Hate this article, because I don't think it paints an accurate picture of what's actually happening to our football team. Yes, Lendale should probably get more carries, but he had the flu all last week and looked very sluggish on the few plays that he was on the field. I wish I had a ton of time to pour through statistics, because the stats mentioned don't seem to be off par with the other teams in the league.

What bugs me about our fans and sportswriters in this town is everything is always about the offense. Always. Everybody lauded Kerry Collins after winning 13 games last year, and while he played well and deserved much of the praise, it was the defense that won us those games. Now that we're losing, everybody wants to put it on the offense. It's the defense, minus Albert and Schwartz, that are losing us games.

Last time I remember seeing a legitimate pass rush out of the Titans was last season.

By: TITAN1 on 10/7/09 at 4:55

I want VY to start not because the problems are all Kerry's fault or that I think he can get us to the playoffs this year, but to see if he has progressed to where he needs to be to lead this team in the future. He played very well in the last preseason game, but can he carry that over to the games that count and to the future? We will not know that if he sits on the bench the rest of the year. The defense can be corrected with the current personnell. If we don't have our QB situation setteled by the begining of next season it won't matter about the defense. Kerry did a fine job last season, but this season is all but lost and it is time to decide on the future.

By: daKine7 on 10/7/09 at 5:36

0-4 is a lousey way to start a season, and Indy may dismantle us play by play, piece by piece. Coach Fisher has to get off his stubborn streak and put VY in the game.
Collins was failing miserably against Jacksonville, and there was no way the Titans could win. He should of let VY start the 4th qtr., and see what he can do. Leaving Collins in accomplished nothing, except another loss. Game 5 will tell all.

By: blktenn on 10/7/09 at 6:40

One the for sure " It is NOT and never will be " Kerry " fault for losing.
It's only his fault if the titans WIN (LOL) 0-5

By: TitansFan035 on 10/7/09 at 7:33


By: jwk6179 on 10/7/09 at 7:57

Here's another stat I heard this morning on the radio: Since the Titans 10-0 start of last season, the Titans have a record of 3-8 since that time in GAMES that have meaning. I think a lot of people, including a FEW RADIO HOSTS, are beginning to believe that last seasons 10-0 and their 13-3 season record was a fluke and the REAL TENNESSEE TITANS are the ones playing this season.

By: TitansFan035 on 10/7/09 at 8:20

TWell the Jets just got even better by getting Braylon Edwards! Who do we get Mark Jones, Cary Williams can you say Titans super bowl bound with those kinds of moves! FIRE FISHER AND PUT BUD ADAMS IN A NURSING HOME, LET SOMEONES THAT CARES A BOUT WINNING RUN THE TEAM!

By: BigPapa on 10/7/09 at 10:27

I dont think Bud is very involved in the day to day running of the team. That's fisher and Reinfeldt. I son't know what role Reinfeldt plays- does he just get the playes fisher wants? is he just there to negociate contracts (or botch them in the case of Albert)? does he evalute players?
The one thing I know is that he keeps a VERY low profile.

Im quite disappointed in this year, and it makes last year's loss to BAL even more painful. That last fumble was apprently the window shutting on TN's chance for another SB.

By: gratefulted on 10/7/09 at 2:31

Chris Johnson is dangerous when he gets to the edge. Fisher is going to get him killed running into the middle. Our offensive line hasn't blocked anyone yet this season. The inability to get the snap count right has cost us far too many drives . Penalties are the result of lack of concentration. Lack of concentration goes directly to the coaching staff.

By: sudalaal on 10/7/09 at 2:35

PLEASE !!! PLEASE, STOP REPORTING ON THE TITANS OFFENSIVE STRUGGLES !!! The issue with the Titans is DEFENSE and SPECIAL TEAMS !!! They gave up 37 points to the Jaguars, because they stopped the Jags on only ONE of SEVEN first half possessions resulting in a 27-3 deficit at the break. Moreover, the Jags played without both of their starting tackles and still managed to rush for 137 yds (with a 4.6 per carry avg) and they held the Titans to ONE sack in the first half (which William Hayes celebrated with a dance, even though his team was down 24 points). In addition, the Titans started a rookie in the defensive backfield (McCourty), who like Harper (the team's Cover-2 CB - which is not a Titans defensive set) played 10 yds or more off the Jags WRs in man-to-man coverage Then, after Harper (who has 2 passes defensed this year with both coming against the Jags and no INTs) was injured, they moved another rookie (Mouton) from the nickel to CB. On STs, they allowed Mike Thomas (who had a 37.5 yd avg on KRs and a 12.7 yd avg on PRs) to look like Billy "White Shoes" Johnson.

Earlier, the Titans lost to Steelers because the ST line decided not to block for Bironas' first FG, and then Amato made a rare bad snap on the 2nd FG. Then, they lost to the Texans because they had no sacks (despite the Texan's loss of their best OL in the 2nd quarter) and Griffin failed to adjust to Houston's WR sets, forcing Harper to play catchup in zone coverage. Afterward, they gave the Jets a game because a Mouton (who did not field a punt in college) muffed a punt and fumbled a kickoff leading to 14 or the Jets 24 points.

The bottom line is that THIS and EVERY Fisher coached team is built to RUN the ball and play DEFENSE with no mistakes on STs. So, while Collins has struggled (especially having to play catchup in weeks 2-4) and Johnson (whose getting 75% of the carries, instead of the 60% he should be getting) leads the league with runs of zero yards or less, this team will not improve until the DEFENSE and STs play to their capabilities. This will occur when Finnegan, Fuller and Harper are completely healthy or the Titans decide to sign Ty Law, Patrick Surtain and/or John Thornton to 1 yr deals, as well as employing better blitz packages (i.e. safety blitzes, corner blitzes and overload blitzes), and bump-and-run, man-to-man coverage on obvious passing situations. Similarly, just as the Titans finally accepted that they need a proven punt and kick returner, they also need to shuffle the backups to bring in ST players who can cover kicks and at least try to block a FG or punt.

By: TITAN1 on 10/7/09 at 2:47

Now that last post looks familiar.

By: wayneCaluger on 10/7/09 at 5:59

It's not me, but I agree 1000% with sudalaal. It's great to see their others who understand what the Titans needs to do. Now it was Fisher who made the call on releasing Mark Jones since anyone could field punts and kickoff's. It was Fisher who promoted Chuck Cecil while 19 year veteran Gregg Williams was waiting for Fisher to call. Williams would have keep the defense together and built on it, not try and remake the wheel. For $5 million we could have kept Chris Carr (what he wanted and what the Ravens paid him) a seasoned return man who averaged over 30 yards a return, and regardless if Fisher wanted him Reinfieldt would have signed him. As for Albert, loved him, but $100 mil was to much and he has yet to make an impact as the skins struggle against bottom feeders (only two left, Panthers &KC) beating the lifeless Rams by 2, Buc's by 3 and losing to the Lions, their only win since 2007. The Skins would have been smarter in picking up a half dozen good free agents.

Now you can turn a run offensive line into a better pass defensive line like the Bears have. Cutler lite the scoreboard up Sunday with 48 points and the Bears don't have near the receiver depth we have. The Bears is where Fisher cut his coaching teeth

Anyway, again I agree 1000% with sudalaal assessment .

By: jps13pat on 10/8/09 at 11:09

Let's clarify: I don't think anybody thinks that we should have paid Albert $100 million dollars. I do think, however, that Albert should have been locked up well well well before he had the opportunity or inclination to seek outside offers. Even if you couldn't get an extension done, why in the &$^# would you build in incentive clauses that would prevent us from being able to franchise him? Because he threatened to hold out??? Let him hold out!! Fine him for every practice he misses and then see how long it takes for him to show up. Bengals did that with Ochocinco. Broncos did that with Brandon Marshall. Reinfeldt caved, and the loss of Albert, in my opinion, is the single biggest reason why we're struggling this year.

By: titans suck on 10/10/09 at 7:29