It’s time for your second quarter grades as the Tennessee Titans are eight 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. We previously took a look at the offense and here are our defensive grades.
Defensive line: Grade B
Jurrell Casey, Ropati Pitoitua, and Karl Klug are playing well. Mike Martin is also playing fairly well in rotation. Sammie Lee Hill has been better than expected at nose tackle though he doesn’t grade out all that well per Pro Football Focus. We might start to see more Al Woods there.
This might be the strongest position group for the Titans right now. So strong that rookie Daquan Jones is seeing limited playing time this year. That might not change until next year and it will be interesting to see if Sammie Lee Hill finishes his contract with the Titans. He will count $4.6 million against the cap next year. Karl Klug is in the final year of his rookie deal and there have been no signs the Titans are interested in extending him.
Linebackers: Grade B
Derrick Morgan had been playing well in the new system but has struggled in run defense. It’s an odd situation for a guy who was expected to struggle in pass coverage, where he has played quite well, and be strong in run support. Kam Wimbley has been decent and came on the last two games before the bye but the Titans will need to upgrade his position in the offsason.
Wesley Woodyard continues to play well and rookie Avery Williamson is now starting alongside him. They form a pretty good inside linebacking group. Zaviar Gooden has been relegated to an afterthought role much like Akeem Ayers early on. Woodyard needs to tackle better.
Akeem Ayers mysteriously got demoted, deactivated and ultimately traded to the New England Patriots for essentially nothing before Week 8. In the Patriots system, Ayers in two games has nine tackles and two sacks. Add Shaun Phillips to the list of Titans who should be put on a milk carton.
Cornerbacks: Grade D
The Titans secondary has somewhat stabilized but is missing slot corner Coty Sensabaugh who was out with a concussion and then a Jason McCourty has been dinged up a bit but has started to play better. Blidi Wreh-Wilson struggled horribly early on and is still growing into the position but he has definitely improved. Marqueston Huff had an adjustment period but has also shown flashes of real talent.
Safeties: Grade C-
The loss of Bernard Pollard hurts the secondary and free safety Michael Griffin has suffered the worst. Griffin has been rather dreadful this year but remains the only Titans defender who has seen every single defensive snap.
George Wilson has replaced Pollard and Daimion Stafford is also getting good playing time right now though it’s mainly at strong safety. The Titans are using Wilson and Stafford in the backfield to give Griffin and the cornerbacks some help there.
That’s it for our grades Titans fans. Do you agree or disagree? Weigh in on twitter at @SportsBySharona or in the comments!