Reading and Thinking Football

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Upon Further Review: TEN@JAX Offense

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On Sunday, the Titans defeated the Jaguars, 13-10 to win their opening game in the 2007 regular season. What’s below is a breakdown of each Titans play during that game. Below that are some additional comments on some of the Titans’ players and the overall offensive performance.

LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T42 1 10 Shotgun Split Backs, Slot Right Run -5 Young QB Sweep
CBS is already in midseason form, and it’s only the first play! Yes, they missed the snap. I have no idea who’s in the slot to the right, or even if it’s truly a WR or instead Scaife flexed out a little. Thankfully, this is the first play of the game, so I have the starting lineup from NFL Gamebook to tell me that’s actually Scaife, with White and Brown in the backfield. VY fakes the counter-trap, and then tries an outside run in the direction of the sweep. Alas, Stewart (-1) is supposed to have the contain on DE Hayward, and he doesn’t, so VY goes down for a 5 yard loss. Note this play is listed in the official PBP as a “scramble,” implying VY is going to pass. I’m pretty sure this is wrong, though, because Bell or Mawae moves downfield to block immediately after the snap, and if this were a pass that’d be a penalty for ineligible man downfield. The playcall is a mildly interesting variant of the normal shotgun read-option VY ran so well at Texas that was generally successful in the first Colts game last year and in the ensuing weeks largely disappeared from the Titans’ playbook.
T37 2 15 Shotgun 3-WR, 2-TE Pass 6 Hall Sitdown
Yes, you read that formation correctly. Hall is split wide to the left side. The Jags blitz 6 against 5 Titan blockers, so VY hits Hall on the far side of the field. Williams was playing WAY off, like 10 yards, and didn’t close immediately so it’s an easy pitch and catch. It would be nice to see Hall pick up more YAC, though. (CA)
T43 3 9 Shotgun Strong Pass 8 White Dumpoff
This is pretty disappointing blocking. The Jags only rush 3 and drop 8 into coverage. The Titans initially keep Scaife and White both in to block, so it’s 7 to block 3 and 8 to cover 3. Kinda tough to complete a pass that way. More disappointing is that Stroud runs a little bit of a stunt and Bell (-1) can’t handle him, forcing VY to act before he probably wanted to. Decent enough throw to White a grand total of 0 yards downfield. White does his stupid stutter-step he does looking for a way to avoid contact and kind of dives forward and comes up a yard short rather than try to run through tackles and get the first down. This may be wise for his career longevity, except that if you won’t gain those yards you’re not going to have that long of a career anyway. (CA)
Drive Notes: Punt, 0-0, 1Q 12:54. The Titans start with good field position after a nice kickoff return by Griffin, and do nothing with it. Maybe this is 20-20 hindsight from the rest of the game, but I’m surprised the Titans didn’t call any straight running plays here.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T21 1 10 Shotgun Base Run 0 White Read Option
Kind of an off tackle run off the sweep to the short right side. And, since there’s no misdirection here, the Jags are able to flow to the side pretty easily and shut down this run for no gain.
T22 2 10 I-Form, 3-WR Run 6 White Blast
T22 2 10 Penalty 15 JAX-Stroud Face Mask
I’m going to stop using “iso” to refer to runs where I don’t have an obvious call. This is therefore a “blast.” It’s a classic I-formation run up the middle. It works because the Jags have 6 guys in the box, there’s a blocker for all 6 guys, and everybody does their job. Stroud is able to tackle White while being blocked, but to do that he has to take him down by his face mask, adding the extra 15.
T42 1 10 Strong I Run 19 Jones Reverse
It’s an actual, honest-to-goodness reverse! Yay, the play dubbed a “reverse” by most commentators is actually an “end-around,” since there’s no actual reversal of direction. Here, though, VY fakes the handoff to White strong side, and bootlegs to the left, before handing it off to Jones running the other way. VY gets popped by Sensabaugh right after making the handoff, but stands tall, makes the good handoff, and doesn’t get blown back into Jones (+1). Once he gets around the corner, Jones has lanes to run through and picks up a few yards.
J39 1 10 I-Formation Run 2 White Off Tackle
Basic I-formation off tackle run. Stroud makes a great play here-he gets a chip from Olson, but runs down the line of scrimmage all the way to the hole off Roos on the other side of the line and almost beats White to the hole. Great individual effort. I’m not trying to rip on White because I don’t like him; I just don’t think he’s that good, and this is one of the reasons why. Stroud’s a good player, but you as a running back should be able to outrun him.
J37 2 8 Trips Right Run 5 White Cutback
Trips are, unusually, 2-TE, 1-WR, viz. Hartsock, Scaife, and Moulds (I think). White gets a decent gain up the middle.
J32 3 3 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass 4 Young Scramble
An “I (heart) VY” play. He looks around, notices the Jags dropped 7 into coverage against 3, and there’s nobody keeping contain to the right side. He moves that direction, LB Mike Peterson is dropping into coverage to ensure some WR (presumably) is still covered, and basically concedes the first down. (SCR)
J28 1 10 2-TE Strong, 2-WR Weak Pass -3 Scaife Screen
Fake to the back, drop back, and set up the screen to Scaife on the right strong side. It’s pretty well set up, too, with Olson out there to block, and Bell and Mawae heading downfield. Naturally, Olson (-1) can’t prevent Smith from blowing up the play. (CA)
J31 2 13 Standard 2-TE Run 3 White Off Tackle
Off tackle run to the right side. If I wrote five lines on every play, I’d be here forever. If I was getting paid by somebody who wanted that, I’d do it. As is, I (a) have a job and (b) sleep, at least occasionally.
J27 3 9 Shotgun Base Pass 21 Scaife Flag
Scaife runs a corner route and Moulds, who’s the WR on that side, runs an In to about where Scaife breaks out for the flag. Personally, I’m a fan of the good old post-corner route, forcing the safety to choose one or the other. VY’s throw is slightly late here, but perfectly fine. John OfThe River challenges the catch, for no particularly good reason I can see. (CA)
J6 1 G I-Form, 2-WR Weak Run 1 White Stretch
A decent run off tackle to the strong side. There’s a hole there, but White hesitates, looking for a big lane or to run to the outside. The hole’s there, take it for three yards. Because he waits, his opening closes and he doesn’t get as much.
J5 2 G 2-TE Run 3 White Stretch
How to get White to run forward: don’t give him any real options. No cutback or outside lane was apparent, so he had no choice but to run forward, which he generally does reasonably well. A 3 yard gain on 2&goal from the 5 isn’t a bad play at all.
J2 3 G Shotgun Strong Pass Inc Davis Out and In
Eh, little to say about this key play. The big issue was the pressure by McCray, working against Roos (-1). He hit VY while throwing, forcing the bad pass. But, VY had a gaping hole up the middle and probably could easily have scored a TD with his feet. Split grade to reflect both problems. (.5 BR, .5 PR)
Drive Notes: FG, 3-0, 1Q 4:03. OK, I’ll admit it, I like short drives because they’re easy to chart.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T20 1 10 4-WR Run 5 Brown Iso
Put a hat on a hat and run it up the middle. If you can get 5 yards doing this, it’s a happy day. They could, and it was.
T25 2 5 I-Formation Run 5 Brown Stretch
Stretch run to the strong left side. Mike Peterson makes a dive for Brown’s ankles in the backfield, but no dice. Brown just follows his blockers here and turns it upfield before he gets to the sidelines. The spot appears to be pretty generous, as I thought Brown was at least half a yard short of the first down.
T30 1 10 4-WR, 3-WR Right Pass 8 Davis Smoke
Kind of a baby WR screen, as it’s quick pass to Davis a couple yards in the backfield with the other two WRs to that side looking to block downfield for him. (CA) He gets to show off his PR skills and gets a good gain on first down.
T38 2 2 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Run 4 Brown Read Option
This is a read option on the defensive end to the Titans’ left side. VY makes the proper read, and while there’s not the room to the left you’d expect from a wide-rushing DE, Brown is able to find a hole up the middle and pick up the first down.
T42 1 10 2-TE Strong Pass 8 Young Scramble
VY shows boot action here, right into an unblocked Bobby McCray. Uh, that’s bad. For most quarterbacks, at least, but this is not most quarterbacks. This is Vince Young, Shamer of Kiwanuka. He slips the tackle and takes off, picking up 8 yards. I (heart) VY. (SCR) For the record, I think it was Scaife’s job to pick up McCray, and he’s late getting over. (-1)
50 2 2 I-Form, 3-WR Pass 17 Gage Smoke
Quick pass to Gage, who’s in the slot to the right side. The Jags LB (Thomas?) is playing more towards the middle, in run support, so he’s not able to make the play. Moulds has a nice block on his man Mathis, and Gage has a good gain. (CA)
J33 1 10 I-Form, 3-WR Run 24 Brown Iso
Wow, Mike Peterson makes a terrible read here. This is a run up the middle, but the footwork for VY is sort of counter-ish. Peterson is utterly confused and moved from his MLB spot to protect against a run off right tackle. He’s terribly out of position for a run up the middle at left guard and Brown has the sort of lane you could drive a truck through. Not only that, but Jones is blocking Williams downfield and Brown makes a move to leave Sensabaugh grasping at air and picks up a dozen or so extra yards. A beautiful run, and the kind of play we didn’t really see from Brown at all last year.
J9 1 G I-Form, 2-WR Weak Run 4 White Off Tackle
Off tackle run weak side. Henderson makes a dive as White as he’s going by and takes him down. Isn’t this the kind of tackle we saw bring down Brown too often last year? This is technically a successful play, but I don’t like White here.
J5 2 G I-Formation Run 0 White Stretch
I actually like this play much better from White than the previous one. Here, it’s the stretch play, and rather than try to run outside and hope the mess of guys there get blocked, White tries to find a lane between Henderson and Stroud. Stroud makes the tackle, but I do like to see running backs run the right direction (unless you’re Barry Sanders, who could run wherever he pleased).
J5 3 G Shotgun Base Pass 4 Young Scramble
VY looks, and takes off, what he should have done the previous 3&G play. Here, though, there are guys in the middle of the field, plus it looks like there’s a spot to throw the ball to the WR at the top of the screen in the back corner of the end zone. I know, I hate the fade on 3rd down, but this is an In&Flag rather than a true fade. Still, I guess a run up the middle does get you closer on 4th down. (SCR) The ball comes out but is ruled dead before that happened. Nevertheless, that was a trend in VY’s game I didn’t like this year and I hoped ball security worries would disappear in the offseason.
J1 4 G Goalline Run 0 White Stretch
Goalline = I-form, 3-TE. White gets tackled by Sensabaugh by the friggin’ ankle, which is why I find it curious that we didn’t see any of Chris Brown down by the goalline. I’m well aware of Brown’s traditional struggles in that area, but White hasn’t shown anything to me there either, and he has a quality I find ill-suited for running in close quarters, viz. an aversion to contact. This play also features an uncalled fumble forced when White was trying to dive forward for the end zone. The play is blown by an inadvertent whistle, and the potential long return would have been called back for being down by contact anyway, but that doesn’t mean we can’t hold White blameworthy for these errors.
Drive Notes: Downs, 3-7, 2Q 11:24. Um, ball security, guys? It didn’t actually cost the Titans this time, but it will in the future, guaranteed. As mentioned above, I don’t like seeing only White down by the goalline, particularly since Brown was the one who got you down there. Lack of passing downfield = bad. Also, 4 goal-to-go plays, and none designed to take advantage of VY’s mobility, particularly the 4&G from the 1 play? I don’t like that playcalling. As for Fisher’s decision to go for it, I have no issues with the decision, just with the playcall.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T33 1 10 4-WR Run 1 White off Tackle
Run through the hole, then hesitate and see where to go! Don’t hesitate, then try running through the hole. Roos has a block, but White hesitates, closing down the hole and reducing the gain. Attack the hole!
T34 2 9 Shotgun 4-WR Close Pass INT Moulds Deep Out(?)
Where 4-WR includes Scaife. The pass is intended for Moulds, but it sails on VY. Mathis grabs it, and he has to jump for it, and he’s a good 2 yards downfield of Moulds. Just a terrible throw by VY. (IN)
Drive Notes: Interception, 3-7, 2Q 7:48. The worst part about this is all the praise for Mathis after the INT. If VY had thrown the ball to Moulds, it’s a completion and a first down. But he sails it over Moulds, and Mathis is the only one to come down with the ball.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T37 1 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass Inc Jones Drag(?)
If you have no clue what route a player ran, just make something up! VY rolls out here, and throws for Jones wide open about 8 yards downfield. And totally airmails it. Just a terrible, terrible throw. How terrible was it? A diving Brian Williams had a good chance to catch it, and he was only about 9 yards further downfield than Jones. (IN)
T37 2 10 I-Form, 3-WR Run 42 Brown Cutback
Hartsock is lined up as one of the WRs, in the slot to the right side. This isn’t a really fancy play, I don’t think, just a good cutback run. Mike Peterson overruns the play to the outside, creating a crease up the middle for Brown to drive a truck through. Brown again makes Sensabaugh look really silly, and this time picks up about 30 extra yards because of it. Not only that, Brown uses his arm to fend off CB Williams and picks up 10 yards because of it.
J21 1 10 4-WR Pass 3 Brown Dumpoff
VY drops back, takes a look around, and dumps it to Brown over the middle for a short gain. Peterson makes a nice tackle on the play. (CA)
J18 2 7 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Run 6 White Counter Trap
A nicely designed play: VY moves right, then gives to White going the other way. White and Brown are the two RBs on this play, and Brown is downfield blocking for his backfield mate. Good gain to set up 3&short.
J12 3 1 I-Form, Standard 2-TE Run 2 Brown Stretch
It’s a stretch play to the short side! Hall gets just enough of Cousin to give Brown some outside running room and he uses it to pick up the first down. Thanks to Norm Chow for (1) giving Brown some work on short yardage situations and (2) calling a play where what Brown does well is used.
J10 1 G I-Form, 2-WR Weak Run 3 Brown Stretch
Brown only gets 3 yards, but this is actually a pretty good job. The play is designed to go outside, but Roos doesn’t do a good job on DE Spicer (-1), allowing him to get outside and forcing Brown to run up the middle. Brown snags a couple yards before being taken down by Peterson. A very good job to rescue a play that probably could have been a TD.
J7 2 G n/a Penalty -5 TEN 12 Men
Freakin’ stupid, worthless penalty. It is, of course, impossible to tell whose fault this is. Chris Brown is angry when he heads toward the sideline after the previous play, but I don’t know that it’s him responsible for the play-he could just be mad that he could have had a TD.
J12 2 G Shotgun 3-WR, 2-TE Pass Inc Scaife Flat
Scaife runs a little flat route, and VY misses him about 3 yards downfield. Bad throw. (IN)
J12 3 G Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass -1 White Dumpoff
A dumpoff to White in the left slat about 15 yards away from the goalline. VY didn’t have to make this throw then, why didn’t he wait longer and see if something, anything else developed? Normally I’d just call this CA, but on 3rd and goal you can’t just take this play. (.5 BR, .5 CA)
Drive Notes: FG, 6-10, 2Q 0:43. Nice running by Chris Brown to get down the field. He even picked up a 3&1!
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T49 1 10 4-WR, 3-WR Right Pass -4 Collins Sack
Bunch right. The Jags rush 3, and eventually Peterson who was playing a bit of a spy role. This play should be a Haily, because that’s all you can do with 0 TOs. Only Collins holds on to the ball forever, then tries to move around. Uh, Kerry, you’re not VY. Without a view of the action downfield, who knows what really happened here.
Drive Notes: Half, 6-10, end 2Q.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T21 1 10 Shotgun Base ? -7 Young Fumble
T21 1 10 Penalty 5 JAX-Henderson Offside
Mawae with an uncharacteristically awful shotgun snap that totally blows up this play. My hope is that Mawae snapped it a little early explicitly to catch Henderson offside. But, as we saw in the Bears-Chargers game, even obvious offsides aren’t always called.
T26 1 5 I-Form, 3-WR Run 4 Brown Iso
I’m not sure what exactly this run is-maybe a cutback with a cutback lane outside instead of inside, or maybe a weird-looking counter play. Anyway, Brown runs left tackle and gets some decent yardage. He’d get more, but Brandon Jones can’t escape the problem of outside positioning to block CB Brian Williams.
T30 2 1 I-Formation Run 2 Brown Iso
Line up and run forward at its finest. Brown hits a guy and slides off him, forward enough to get the first down.
T32 1 10 I-Form, 3-WR Pass Inc Jones Comeback
Play-action, deep drop, and VY throws it too short for Jones on the comeback at the first down marker. Not one of VY’s better throws. (IN)
T32 2 10 Shotgun Base Run 5 Young Read Option
T32 2 10 Penalty 15 JAX-Cousin PF Face Mask
Classic read option action. VY fakes to the RB, and Hayward bites on it badly. Rather than turn it upfield, though, VY tries to pull a White and runs down the line and find a crease. Since he’s the QB, I have greater appreciation for this decision, but it’s still not a great one. He’s able to dive forward for the same 5 or so yards he would have gotten without trying to run wide, but manages to pick up a first down on a face mask call. Chris Davis is toward where VY is running, but is pretty worthless as a blocker.
J48 1 10 4-WR Run 14 Brown Cutback
Poor, poor Mike Peterson. This just isn’t his game-the Titans spread the Jaguars out and run Chris Brown. Peterson fills the hole where it looks like Brown will be running. But, no! It’s a cutback run, and by now Peterson has been blocked by Bell and Brown has another hole can you drive a truck through. A prudent, wise team might have brought down its safeties by now, since the Titans have shown neither the inclination nor the ability at this point to throw the ball downfield and you maybe kinda sorta could use some run support. Nah, he’s Jack OfThe River.
J34 1 10 4-WR Run 13 Brown Cutback
What’s the definition of stupidity? How about doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result? See previous play, only this time Peterson is not in the hole he was, so Brown doesn’t need to cut it back. Ha ha.
J21 1 10 4-WR Pass 1 Young Scramble
Aww, look at the Jaguars, finally putting a 6th guy in the box against 4-WR. The Jags react well to this play, taking away VY’s two apparent pass options of the slot WRs right and left (Gage and Davis, respectively). Roos for some reason doesn’t block to RDE, so after VY looks at his hot reads, he has no time and has to tuck the ball down and dive forward for a yard. (PR)
J20 2 9 Shotgun Strong Run 6 Young QB Draw
Designed run for VY. Chris Davis didn’t learn to block between the previous play where I wrote about his blocking and this one, else VY probably has a first down. This is something the play designed and VY should take into account, and I’m not sure if they did or not.
J14 3 3 Shotgun Base Pass 4 Moulds Curl
Moulds lines up outside to the right and runs a little curl route just past the first down marker. After Davis the slot guy clears, VY throws the ball to Moulds. The throw is a little behind him, but not too bad. Moulds goes down and makes a good catch to keep the drive alive. (CA)
J10 1 10 Shotgun Base Run 6 White Counter Trap
Same play they ran earlier in the game, similar results for a good gain.
J4 2 4 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Run 2 Brown Iso
White and Brown in the backfield, and this time Brown gets the carry. This is closer to a 3 yard gain than 2 yards. They probably had given White the ball earlier because Brown is the better blocker. To avoid that problem, White is outside and runs to the outside, while Brown runs up the inside. If the Titans had another HB who could run and block, this would be a play with more possibilities.
J2 3 2 Shotgun 4-WR, TE Pass 2 Young Scramble
VY takes a look, then sees an opening up the middle and takes it. He kind of loses the ball as he crosses the goalline, but gets it back and it’s a TD. (SCR)
Drive Notes: TD, 13-10, 3Q 0:59. Silly Jaguars, runs are for Titans. I might take a wild guess and say Mike Peterson isn’t looking forward to a trip to Nashville on November 11.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T8 1 10 3-WR, Slot Strong Run 8 Brown Cutback
Love that cutback action this game. 6 in the box for the D, but 6 in the box for the O as well. Hayward and Peterson should have this play stopped, by Peterson pulls a Colts and runs too far outside, while Stewart gets to block Peterson.
T16 2 2 Standard 2-TE Run 11 Brown Stretch
Hey, it’s a change from the cutback run! Well, kind of, as this play ends up working like a cutback, with Brown . . . cutting back! before he gets to the outside and finding a crease for good yardage. The Jags are pretty terrible when it comes to stopping Chris Brown today.
T27 1 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Run 5 Brown Read Option
VY makes the proper read, and Brown heads up the middle. He appears to be tiring a little from three straight runs, and doesn’t show quite the same power and acceleration he did. Still, it’s yet another good gain against a porous Jaguar run D.
T32 2 5 I-Form, 3-WR Pass 9 Gage Smoke
This is similar to the play that didn’t work earlier, where VY tried to throw to Gage in the slot. Here, it seems to be a quicker decision and throw by VY and a little more space to run. Gage gets a good block from Moulds. (CA), though I considered Dead On and probably would have awarded it on a 3rd down play-it was a nicely thrown ball, well-positioned for Gage to pick up YAC.
T41 1 10 I-Form, 3-WR Pass Inc Gage In
Deep drop by VY and he throws for Gage on the in about 15 yards downfield. I think the pass is thrown too far ahead for Gage-it disappears completely off the TV screen en route to Gage, so I’m giving it an (IN).
T41 2 10 4-WR Run 4 White Cutback
Same play that worked earlier so well, only a couple things are different. First, the defenders covering the slot WRs are closer to the middle of the field. There’s pretty much 7 in the box here. Second, the hole isn’t as big, as Stewart doesn’t have a great seal on Meier. Third, it’s LenDale White, though his LenDale-ness isn’t really that big a facotr on this play.
T45 3 6 4-WR Pass Inc Moulds In
The Jags blitz with 7. Titans give VY some time to throw to his hit read, Moulds on a 5 yard in route. Only VY gets off a bad throw, at Moulds’ feet. Mathis has pretty good coverage, Moulds can’t go down and get the ball, and even if he does Mathis still tackles him short of the first down. (IN)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-10, 4Q 8:16. Good runs = good yardage, bad throws = drive killers.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T28 1 10 I-Form, 3-WR Run 8 Brown Cutback
Ok, there’s a difference between “keeping contain” and “ridiculous overpursuit” and the Jags’ left defensive end totally obliterates any distinction here. Brown has a gaping cutback lane, but, in addition to the DE overpursuing on VY, the 2 LBs both flowed way too far to the side, leaving Stewart with an easy contain. If you haven’t gotten the idea yet Mike Peterson didn’t have a great game, well, he did. Brown probably should have gotten a few more yards here; looking to avoid the hit by Reggie Nelson, he cuts right into Cousin.
T36 2 2 Standard 2-TE Run 13 Brown Stretch
Stretch run to the short right side. The Jags have 5 guys with the hands down, loaded to the Titans right, and when the play starts that direction the defense flows there, creating a good hole for Brown about right guard. Sensabaugh takes a terrible angle to the play and gives Brown about 8 extra yards, another great play from Gerald on the day.
T49 1 10 4-WR Run 13 White Left Tackle
This was a banner play for Marcus Stroud. He gets beat by Olson at the point of attack and driven back and appears to give up on the play. He doesn’t fight hard to run after Brown and gets in the way. If he can stand at the point of attack, this play probably isn’t nearly as successful. Instead, his poor play gives the Titans a big gain.
J38 1 10 3-WR, Slot Strong Run -1 White Iso
Stroud does much better here than he did the previous play, pushing Olson back a yard and not giving White much space to run. The Jags’ D-line overall does a much better job, and the LBs are able to pursuit the gaps. Since there’s not a gap, White runs down the line looking for one rather than plowing into the line and getting two yards like Henry would have.
J39 2 11 3-WR, Slot Strong Run -1 Young QB Draw
Keeper by VY here. It’s probably intend to go off left tackle, but LB Smith is in good position and Brown can’t get a seal on him. VY runs down the line looking for a lane to turn upfield, but is forced out of bounds by a diving CB Williams. Going out of bounds here is a really bad play by VY-the game has just gone under less than 5:00 to play, meaning going out of bounds stops the clock. A minute earlier and going OOB doesn’t really matter, but here it’s a lack of game situation awareness by a young QB.
J40 3 12 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Pass -6 Young Sack-Fumble
The Jags bring up defenders late and rush with an honest-to-goodness 8. The Titans have 3 receivers in the pattern, which means 7 blockers. Single coverage, DBs playing off, throw a quick pass to Davis in the slot and let him run for the first down. But VY doesn’t take that and looks for a longer playdownfield. He rolls out to buy more time, but it hit from behind by Reggie Nelson, forcing a fumble. Better ball security, please. Moot point if VY throws the ball early to an open WR like he should have. (BR)
Drive Notes: Punt, 13-10, 4Q 4:18. Some good running plays, but the last two plays leave a very sour taste in my mouth. It would have been nice to run an extra 35 seconds off the clock, something the Titans could have done almost effortlessly. It also would have been nice to extend the lead from 3 to 6, as a long field goal would have done. By getting sacked like that rather than taking a short gain, VY doesn’t even give Fisher any choices.
LINE DOWN DIST FORM TYPE YARDS PLAYER BRIEF
T27 1 10 I-Form, 3-WR Run 7 Brown Iso
Basic I-formation run behind the fullback, this one to the left side. The Jags have figured out a little, playing 7 in the box, man over the 3 WRs, and only one safety deep. But if you get beat 1v1 like they did on this play, it doesn’t matter that much.
T34 2 3 I-Form, 3-WR Pass 6 Jones Smoke
One step drop, and a pass to Jones, the slot WR left, out of the same formation as the previous play. The Jaguar CBs are all playing off. Jones is able to sidestep Williams and dives forward for a 6 yard gain and a first down. A nice low-risk pass and a first down. (CA)
T40 1 10 Shotgun Split Backs, 3-WR Run 6 White Draw Trap
This play looks for all the world like a pass, as VY almost surveys the field, then gives to White on the draw trap after the Jaguar pass rush is mostly well upfield. White does well and attacks a hole up the middle, dragging Peterson for about 4 extra yards. If White looked like this all the time, I’d be a happy man.
T46 2 4 3-WR, Slot Strong Run 3 Brown Cutback
Poor, poor Mike Peterson. The Titans have more fun with him this play, creating a crease for Brown up the middle; I know this play is officially only a 3 yard gain, but it’s really more like 3.75 yards, leaving 3rd and less than a yard.
T49 3 1 3-WR, Slot Strong Run 6 White Iso
7 in the box v. 6 blockers, should be a win for the Jags, right? Ixnay on the uffstay. Most of the OL blocks down, Hartsock blocks the DE on the right side. He gets pushed back, but the run’s going left side. By blocking the DE, he also blocks the pursuit of the LOLB, who lined up on the line outside the DE. The other LBs, Smith and Peterson, immediately attack holes. Only because of Hartsock and the rest of the OL’s blocking, Stewart is able to get a helmet on Peterson, preventing him from filling the hole. Smith, the other LB, had attacked outside LT, so he’s out of position, and White finds a hole left guard that gives him the first down, and ends the game.
Drive Notes: End of game, 13-10, end 4Q. 2 QB kneeldowns after this play, but I don’t chart those. For anybody who thinks John OfThe River is a good coach, the Jags’ use of their timeouts on this drive is a good counter-example. The rule is that you should use your timeouts as soon as possible. Instead, he uses only one timeout before the two minute warning, and that a mere 23 seconds after the Titans snapped the ball to start the play. More intelligent time-out usage saves the Jags time and also simplifies the Titans’ play-calling, making a pass less likely because of the clock penalty associated with an incomplete. An inability to stop the Titans when it counts, thanks to poor play by key players renders Del Rio’s miscues moot, though.

And there you have it. A win, one driven primarily by the running game. Take a look at the pass chart, and this becomes pretty clear.

Opponent DO CA IN BR SCR PR
@ Jaguars 0 10.5 6 2 4 1.5

This isn’t quite as bad as VY’s effort in the game against the Jaguars in Nashville last year, but it’s within striking distance. And it’s not like the CA’s came on decent throws downfield-the Titans only completed one pass that went more than 10 yards downfield through the air, and only tried about four times. They had great success running, but you can’t expect to set a new franchise record every week. The (DO) grade (all zero of them) is largely a result of such short throws; most <10 yard throws simply aren't difficult I can justify awarding such a high grade.

As to the running backs, well, I heap abundant praise on one of them above, and say mixed things about the other, some good, but mostly bad. The former is Chris Brown, who looked better than he has since probably the early part of 2004. The latter is LenDale White. I’m trying to remain sanguine about Chris Brown, though, as I think he could get worn down pretty easily. After carrying three straight times in the fourth quarter, he really needed a breather. Watching him, I don’t think he could have been stayed effective for more than two or three more carries. Part of this was probably the heat, but I think it’s mostly a product of his running style and/or body type. Aside from White’s seeming desire to avoid contact and be a finesse runner (scary words: Ron Dayne), he seems to have similar long-term effectiveness issues as Brown; I think a 15-15-type split between the two backs is probably ideal, though White’s effectiveness seems just as scattershot with carries 14-18 as it does with carries 1-5, unlike Brown’s.

The receivers were mostly decoys this game. Gage had two catches, while Moulds, Davis, and Jones had one each. The longest grab was Bo Scaife’s first quarter catch, the one that was reviewed by the Jaguars. White also had two catches, neither interesting. Hall and Brown each had a catch to round out the completions. On a day where the passing game took a back seat to the running game, I don’t have much to say about the pass catchers.

In the PBP breakdown, you’ll see a couple (-1)’s and (+1)’s-these are points for blocking. I’m still working through how exactly I want to do this, so there’s no summary here of those grades. I may revisit this in the future.

UPDATE (9/13 2310): Whole game up. Pass chart and additional comments to follow shortly.
UPDATE (9/13 2334): Pass chart and additional comments up.
UPDATE (9/14 0019): I have a post up on Total Titans about this.

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Written by Tom Gower

September 13, 2007 at 05:52

Posted in Uncategorized

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