NASHVILLE — Cornerback Jason McCourty looks at the numbers associated with the Tennessee Titans defense and admits that he is embarrassed for the unit.
Asked if numbers like 238 points allowed in seven games embarrasses him, McCourty replied, “Damn right, it does. That’s not what we practice all week for. That’s not our intent.”
Through seven games, the Titans are on a historic pace that projects to 544 points allowed in a season, a number that would shatter the all-time record for points allowed by a team in a season. That number is 533 allowed by the 1981 Baltimore Colts. And while after two or three games, that pace might have been an aberration, with nearly a half a season in the books, it is an alarming trend for the Titans defense.
And it is a trend that bothers McCourty.
“Especially a game where our offense comes out and plays so well, and we go out there and basically just lay an egg for the first three quarters. That’s not what we want to do and that’s not the type of defense we want to be,” McCourty said
That the Titans have actually won three games while being on such a pace is rather amazing. Of the three teams in modern NFL history that allowed more than 500 points, they had three victories combined.
Tacking or the lack thereof has been one of the major problems for Tennessee’s defense. And with the new CBA’s limitations on padded practices, there might not be much that can be done about it other than just effort and “want to” from the 11 guys on the field.
“You look at Sunday we did a poor job of tackling,” McCourty said. “We just didn’t fit the run the right way or a guy might have over run it or not hit his gap the right way. Looking at that game specifically, we just overall did a poor job of tackling.”
Asked for answers on the subject, McCourty, one of the Titans defensive captains was nearly at a loss to explain it.
“You guys watch it. You tell me. What do you think? There have been other games where we have missed tackles and that’s led to big plays,” he said. “(Against Buffalo) it wasn’t so much big plays because of missed tackles, but it was sustaining drives. It was just chunks at a time they were able to get because we were missing tackles.”
McCourty said the last three drives against the Bills, one of which ended with his interception to set up the winning drive, shows the Titans defense is capable of better.
“The sad part about the game is we waited for the last three drives to play our best football. We’ve got to do that throughout the game. We just got to do a better job of realizing what teams are trying to do to attack us,” he said. “We did a poor job on playing the screens as well. A lot of that has to do with swarming to the ball better. Our d-linemen hit them in the backfield or along the line of scrimmage, but there was nobody back there to finish off the tackle. We have a lot to improve on. Winning that game was a good thing, but seeing that film, we have a lot to improve on. Just because we won doesn’t mean all our problems are solved.”
Left tackle Michael Roos watched Wednesday’s practice and likely won’t practice today either. Roos underwent surgery Monday to remove his appendix and is awaiting clearance from doctors to resume practicing and playing. He has never missed a game, spanning 119 contests, in his NFL career.
“I can’t imagine he’d do much. Maybe Friday, he’s going to get the permission, obviously from the doctors,” Titans coach Mike Munchak said. “This is a different type of injury. He has to be checked out again as we get toward the end of the week. I know he’s going to be chewing at the bit to play, he wants to play. A guy that plays 119 games and hasn’t missed a game since he’s come in the NFL, it’s hard to miss for any injury. He’s a guy that heals quickly and tolerates high levels of pain. We’ll see.”
Mike Otto, who has been bothered by knee problems for much of the season, would get the start at left tackle if Roo cannot go.
The Titans also worked without linebackers Patrick Bailey (ribs) and Will Witherspoon (hamstring) Wednesday. They are hopeful of having Colin McCarthy available this week after he sat out last week to rest his troublesome ankle.
To bolster the sagging numbers at linebacker, the Titans signed former Texan and Viking Xavier Adibi on Wednesday.
Quarterback Jake Locker remains limited to scout team work as he comes back from a shoulder injury.