It’s time for your first quarter grades as the Tennessee Titans are four games into the 2014 NFL season. Unfortunately, the Titans as a whole have regressed from the 2013 season at every single position so the grades aren’t good. Having said that, let’s forge on with our first quarter grades starting first with the offense.
Quarterback: Grade C
Jake Locker has been inconsistent and is now injured (again) and Charlie Whitehurst started the Week 4 game against the Indianapolis Colts. Whitehurst did a commendable job given the circumstances as his receivers generally let him down. The Titans wide receivers have mostly been missing in action this year though Kendall Wright and Justin Hunter did give up two interceptions against the Colts making Whitehurst’s numbers look worse.
It’s impossible to give a grade to Whitehurst given how little he has played in his career but Locker has definitely regressed this season. Zach Mettenberger saw limited action against the Colts and only completed two passes for 17 yards.
Running back: Grade B
When utilized, the running backs have generally done well running the ball though Shonn Greene still struggles in pass protection. This grade would be better except Dexter McCluster’s numbers don’t look good. The Titans insist on running the 5′ 8″ back straight up the gut. Apparently they are the only ones shocked that doesn’t work.
Collectively the Titans running backs have 11 targets in the passing game which seems low when you consider how frequently the Titans are throwing the ball. That’s 11 targets out of 129. The Titans run/pass ratio is 129/76 and they are averaging only 15.0 points per game which is 3rd worse in the league (behind Oakland and Jacksonville).
Wide receiver: Grade F
There isn’t much you can say about this lackluster group of wide receivers but I think it can be summed up in one word. Soft.
Tight end: Grade B+
Harking back to last year, Delanie Walker once again is responsible for this positive grade. Craig Stevens is quietly having a good year helping block in the run game and while he hasn’t been used much in pass protection (only a head scratching 19 snaps) he hasn’t given up any pressure on the quarterback. Taylor Thompson has been limited with an injury but is right behind Stevens in terms of snaps overall and also has 19 snaps in pass protection.
Walker is easily the offensive MVP of the first quarter. He is the leading receiver on the team right now and only reliable option in the passing game. Walker has been targeted a team high 33 times and has 22 receptions for 317 yards and three touchdowns.
Offensive line: Grade D
I really don’t even know where to begin here. So let’s start with the positive first and that is the offensive line has been pretty good in run protection. Now the bad and they have been pretty terrible in pass protection. While numbers don’t tell the entire story the Titans have given up eight sacks, five quarterback hits and 38 quarterback hurries.
The regression of the group is astounding. While Andy Levitre has owned up to his struggles the real issue to me is the center position. Brian Schwenke has struggled through the first quarter and really isn’t playing well. We saw last year what impact poor center play can have as Levitre struggled when Rob Turner was at center and performing poorly. Michael Roos is having his worst year as a pro and Michael Oher is struggling as well. Second year player Chance Warmack has improved so there is some more positive news.
There you have it Titans fans do you agree or disagree? What are your first quarter grades for the offense through four games? Post them in the comments.