2013 DRAFT GUIDE
Titans hope getting back to basics helps defense

By TERESA M. WALKER - AP Sports Writer
    2013-11-21 16:29

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - The Titans are talking a lot about lining up properly, communicating better and improved tackling to tighten up their defense.

Translated, they want to get back to the basics.

Tennessee ranks as one of the NFL's stingier defenses in most areas. But the Titans have lost five of six with too many mistakes defending the run where they've slumped to a tie for 20th giving up 117.1 yards per game. Get them inside the 20, they're one of the league's worst.

''We just really need to get back to what we were doing early in the season,'' linebacker Akeem Ayers said. ''I think early in the season we just kept things simple, kept it basic and we communicated well. And that's the main thing we talked about just getting back to what we were doing early in the season because we believe it worked well for us.''

The Titans (4-6) need to improve on defense heading to Oakland (4-6) on Sunday where the Raiders have been running the ball very well and even using the wildcat. The Raiders rank fourth in the NFL averaging 145.4 yards per game.

Tennessee let Indianapolis run on 10 of 11 plays to help seal a 30-27 win last week.

Defensive coordinator Jerry Gray said Thursday they've got to make sure that doesn't happen again, and he said they need to rise up and make a play to give the ball back to the offense. He said the Titans have to make sure they're not thinking so much about rushing quarterbacks that they neglect stopping the run.

''That formula was working for the first six weeks,'' Gray said. ''It's still working for good teams that understand ... We got to make sure we get back to making sure we're not pass rushing on run downs.''

Tennessee stopped the run well through the first few weeks with middle linebacker Moise Fokou helping get everyone into the right alignment and gaps. But Fokou hurt his left knee Oct. 13 at Seattle and has missed the past four games. He practiced fully Thursday and hopes to return against the Raiders, though Fokou will be limited to possibly only 25 snaps at most.

Ayers may be wearing the helmet allowing communication with coaches on the sideline. Gray said Fokou should give the Titans a little more stability, but he wants everyone to make sure they get the call right.

''Get the call called in the huddle and get everybody on the same page,'' Gray said.

Defensive tackle Jurrell Casey said it's just a case of mental errors.

''We watched a couple films of our third downs and the last four games that we played the biggest issues that we had was misalignment or mental errors,'' Casey said. ''We can't have those if we want to win games.''

The Titans currently rank 10th in yards allowed, seventh against the pass and have allowed a league-low seven touchdown passes this season with only one allowed in the past six weeks. That just means opponents have been running through the Titans on their way to the end zone.

Tennessee has given up at least two touchdowns on the ground in each of the past four games, including three to the Colts.

''I think it's more about guys being out of position, about guys not hitting the right gap,'' coach Mike Munchak said. ''All of a sudden, you're out of position. That's what we were doing a good job this year avoiding being out of position.''

Notes: Munchak said surgery to repair QB Jake Locker's right foot went well and he is expected to be ready for the start of training camp next year. But Munchak didn't know an exact timetable yet after Wednesday's surgery. ... C Brian Schwenke (ankle) practiced fully and should play barring a setback. RT David Stewart (shoulder) and DE got a day off but is expected back Friday. DE Derrick Morgan (groin) also did not practice but is expected back Friday. WR Justin Hunter (concussion) practiced fully.

---

AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org

--

Follow Teresa M. Walker at www.twitter.com/teresamwalker

Fantasy Football Player Notes RSS FeedPLAYER NOTES

Terrelle PryorApr 23 08:58a

The Seattle Seahawks acquired QB Terrelle Pryor from the Oakland Raiders Monday, April 21, in exchange for a seventh-round draft pick in this year's draft. He will compete with [ More ]

Matt RyanApr 22 10:53p

Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith is calling for major improvement on both sides of the line of scrimmage. He fears the team could bottom out for a second [ More ]

EJ ManuelApr 22 08:13p

Buffalo Bills QB EJ Manuel (knees) is healthy entering voluntary workouts and feels normal and had no limitations during the Tuesday, April 22 conditioning program. Bills head coach Doug [ More ]

Rolando McClainApr 22 07:53p

Updating a previous report, the Baltimore Ravens have officially placed LB Rolando McClain on the reserve-retired list for a second time. The Ravens will retain McClain's rights if he changes his mind again.

Eli ManningApr 22 07:33p

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) expects to be 100 percent for the beginning of training camp. Manning has no concerns about learning the Giants' new playbook, instead [ More ]

Ray RiceApr 22 04:43p

Baltimore Ravens RB Ray Rice looks great physically, according to strength and conditioning coach Bob Roguck. 'He's doing some things differently as far as his diet and so forth, [ More ]

David WilsonApr 22 02:43p

New York Giants RB David Wilson (neck) said he is still waiting for a clear MRI to be medically cleared, but is currently ahead of schedule.

Julio JonesApr 22 01:13p

Atlanta Falcons WR Julio Jones (foot) will be limited during the team's offseason workouts while he recovers from offseason foot surgery. 'Julio is participating with our athletic performance department,' [ More ]

Eli ManningApr 22 01:03p

New York Giants QB Eli Manning (ankle) said his ankle is progressing but he does not have a timetable for his return to the field. Manning is currently in a walking boot.

Stevie BrownApr 22 12:33p

New York Giants FS Stevie Brown (knee) said he feels like he is ready to go when the Giants hit the field after recovering from a serious knee injury. [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 10:33a

The New York Giants are likely to cut FS Will Hill after his third potential drug suspension.

Josh MorganApr 22 09:52a

Chicago Bears WR Joshua Morgan is likely to compete for the No. 3 or 4 wide receiver role this year, and he'll compete with WRs Domenik Hixon, Eric Weems [ More ]

Will HillApr 22 09:33a

New York Giants FS Will Hill is facing a year-long suspension after reportedly failing another drug test. He will appeal what would be his third drug-related suspension.

Kyle WilliamsApr 21 09:33p

The Kansas City Chiefs re-signed WR Kyle Williams Monday, April 21. Terms of the deal were undisclosed.

Colt AndersonApr 21 07:12p

The Indianapolis Colts signed free-agent FS Colt Anderson (Eagles) to an undisclosed deal Monday, April 21.

Jamar TaylorApr 21 06:43p

Miami Dolphins CB Jamar Taylor (groin) is healthy following hernia surgery and began offseason workouts with his teammates Monday, April 21. Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin said he expects [ More ]

Dustin KellerApr 21 05:42p

Eugene Parker, agent for free-agent TE Dustin Keller (knee), said Keller is ready to participate in offseason workouts when he signs with a team.

Eric FisherApr 21 05:12p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) said there is no timetable for his return following multiple surgeries, but he doesn't think he'll be out for long. 'He's [ More ]

Josh MorganApr 21 04:02p

The Chicago Bears have signed free-agent WR Joshua Morgan (Redskins) to a one-year deal. Financial terms were not disclosed.

A.J. GreenApr 21 03:32p

Cincinnati Bengals WR A.J. Green said he has added around six pounds this offseason, because he wants to be more physical as a way to beat coverage at the [ More ]

Michael VickApr 21 02:42p

New York Jets QB Geno Smith said he believes he will be the starting quarterback this upcoming season even though the team added QB Michael Vick this offseason. He [ More ]

Navorro BowmanApr 21 02:12p

The San Francisco 49ers plan to place LB NaVorro Bowman (knee) on the Physically Unable to Perform list when training camp begins, because he is not expected to be [ More ]

Eric FisherApr 21 02:02p

Kansas City Chiefs OT Eric Fisher (shoulder, hernia) underwent shoulder surgery and had a procedure to fix a sports hernia. He's currently rehabbing in Kansas City.

Tony CarterApr 21 01:22p

The Denver Broncos signed DT Mitch Unrein to his restricted free-agent tender Monday, April 21. CB Tony Carter, SS Duke Ihenacho and LB Brandon M. Marshall all signed their exclusive rights tenders.

Rolando McClainApr 21 01:02p

Baltimore Ravens LB Rolando McClain is retiring from the NFL again Monday, April 21. 'I gotta follow my heart. It ain't football. If football made me complete I would [ More ]

Tony RomoApr 21 12:42p

Dallas Cowboys QB Tony Romo (back) will take part in the team's voluntary offseason program beginning Monday, April 21, according to a source. Players are allowed to lift weights, [ More ]

Marcus LattimoreApr 20 09:12p

San Francisco 49ers RB Marcus Lattimore (knee) is not expected to be restricted in any way when offseason workouts begin.

Michael EgnewApr 20 08:42p

The Miami Dolphins likely will add at least two more tight ends this offseason that will compete with TE Michael Egnew for a roster spot.

Armon BinnsApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Armon Binns is currently the team's No. 4 receiver, but the Dolphins have had discussions about WR Rishard Matthews replacing Binns at the spot, according to a source.

Tyrone CrawfordApr 20 12:02a

Dallas Cowboys DT Tyrone Crawford (Achilles') is expected to be ready for the team's offseason program, and he is expected to be a key piece to the defense this season.

M. Jones-DrewApr 20 12:02a

If healthy, Oakland Raiders RB Darren McFadden is expected to be the team's starting tailback with RB Maurice Jones-Drew as his backup.

Brian HartlineApr 20 12:02a

Miami Dolphins WR Brian Hartline (knee) is expected to be ready for the start of mini camp, according to a source. He suffered a torn posterior cruciate ligament in the 2013 regular season finale.

RSS Feeds

NFL News:
 
Player Notes:
 
Forum Posts:
 

© 2014 RealTime Fantasy Sports, Inc.
Email Us  ·  Call Us 636.447.1170  ·  Lost Password
Advertising represented by USA Today Sports Media Group