I must apologize for those who have been following my season review series. I obviously haven’t kept up with it for a while (due to general busyness and a little laziness recently), but here is the next installment.
After finishing at 13-3 in 2008, good for best in the NFL, the Tennessee Titans started out a with a shocking six straight losses in 2009. By their week 7 Bye Week, their season appeared to be over, and owner Bud Adams had seen enough of Kerry Collins. With that, Vince Young got his chance to take back the starting QB position, and he didn’t disappoint. With Young starting, the Titans won their next five games, and 7 of the next 8 before a Week 16 loss to the Chargers finished off their playoff hopes. Despite the disappointing 8-8 record, the team and their fans must feel pretty good about Young’s development and maturity after the concerns from his behavior in 2008. With that said, let’s take a look at how the Titans performed with respect to their competition’s season averages.
Before going further, you should take a look at the Season Reviews Informational Post, if you haven’t already. It describes the methodology and data presented in the following tables. Now that you have reviewed the methodology behind this data, let’s take a look at the data, and I will discuss it below.
|Team Offense||Value||Rank||Team Defense||Value||Rank|
|Pass Yards||3031||23||Pass Yards||4139||31|
|Pass TD||16||24||Pass TD||31||30|
|Pass INTs||15||15||Pass INTs||20||8|
|Rush Yards||2592||2||Rush Yards||1711||10|
|Rush TD||19||6||Rush TD||16||21|
|Ten Pts||Opp D||Opp Pts||Opp O|
|Opp||Score||Avg Pt||Diff1||Score||Avg Pt||Diff2|
|New York Jets||17||14.75||2.25||24||21.75||2.25|
|New England Patriots||0||17.81||-17.81||59||26.69||32.31|
|San Francisco 49ers||34||17.56||16.44||27||20.63||6.38|
|St. Louis Rams||47||27.25||19.75||7||10.94||-3.94|
|San Diego Chargers||17||20||-3||42||28.38||13.63|
|Ten Yds||Opp D||Opp Yds||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff1||Gained||Avg Yd||Diff2|
|New York Jets||286||252.31||33.69||229||321||-92|
|New England Patriots||186||320.19||-134.19||619||397.31||221.69|
|San Francisco 49ers||315||326.38||-11.38||358||290.75||67.25|
|St. Louis Rams||446||372.81||73.19||240||279.38||-39.38|
|San Diego Chargers||270||326.88||-56.88||425||360.06||64.94|
|Ten P-Yd||Opp D||Opp P-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff1||Gained||Avg Pa||Diff2|
|New York Jets||159||153.69||5.31||146||148.75||-2.75|
|New England Patriots||-7||209.69||-216.69||426||277.25||148.75|
|San Francisco 49ers||163||229.38||-66.38||250||190.75||59.25|
|St. Louis Rams||286||235.25||50.75||160||167.88||-7.88|
|San Diego Chargers||88||209.25||-121.25||259||271.13||-12.13|
|Ten R-Yd||Opp D||Opp R-Yd||Opp O|
|Opp||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff1||Gained||Avg Ru||Diff2|
|New York Jets||127||98.63||28.38||83||172.25||-89.25|
|New England Patriots||193||110.5||82.5||193||120.06||72.94|
|San Francisco 49ers||152||97||55||108||100||8|
|St. Louis Rams||160||137.56||22.44||80||111.5||-31.5|
|San Diego Chargers||182||117.63||64.38||166||88.94||77.06|
Just looking at Table 1 gives a pretty good idea as to why the Titans struggled so much with Kerry Collins as the starter. After finishing the 2008 season ranked 2nd and 7th in defensive points and yards allowed, respectively, they plummeted to 28th in both points and yards allowed in 2009. Collins is a solid QB on a team with an excellent running game and elite defense, but he has never been good enough to carry a team at the NFL level.
I seem to recall hearing discussions amonst the punditry last season that the rest of the team had given up on Collins, and the numbers from Tables 2 and 3 seem to agree with this. When comparing the Titans’ points scored in the first six games against opponents’ season averages, they scored a cumulative 32 points fewer than their opponents’ averages for points allowed, while for the next ten, they were a cumulative 52 points above opponents’ averages. On defense, they gave up 58 points above opponents averages in the first 6 games while holding opponents to nearly 4 cumulative points below their averages in the final 10 games. In total yards, they were held to about 30 yards below opponents’ averages in the first 6 games while gaining over 300 yards above opponents’ averages in the final 10. On defense, they allowed a total of about 260 yards above opponents’ average in the first 6, but only about 130 above opponents’ averages for the final 10 games.
So, the Titans clearly performed better as an overall team with Vince Young at QB than with Collins. Not only did they perform better in terms of yards and points, but if you check their Pro-Football-Reference.com page for the 2009 season, you will see that they dramatically improved in terms of winning the turnover battle. In the first six games they turned the ball over 18 times and took it away only 8. In the final 10 games, they only had 13 turnovers, with 19 takeaways.
Reviewing Tables 4 and 5 tell us which aspects of the offense and defense were the greatest strengths and weaknesses. I guess it’s no surprise that rushing offense was the greatest strength. Passing offense and defense were the biggests respective weaknesses. But based on Vince Young’s development, I would expect the passing offense to grow as he does, with perhaps another weapon or two for him to throw to. It’s the passing defense that they really need to shore up. That could be somewhat surprising, given that they ranked 8th in the league in INTs, but they may also have ranked so high because teams preferred to pass against them. That would make sense, as they were also ranked 30th in passing TDs allowed.
Based on that data, and this tidbit (full article here) from Music City Miracles,
ESPN.com had a mock draft where the picks were made by the site’s divisional bloggers (Paul K representing the AFC South), and the shocker here was that we passed on Joe Haden to draft Michigan’s Brandon Graham. If that is how it actually plays out I’ll be fuming. I know we need a DE, but Haden has every indication of being the real deal at CB, and we haven’t signed anyone to even compete for a spot across from Cortland who hasn’t washed out in multiple franchises already.
I would expect the Titans to draft CB somewhere in the first couple of rounds. As the quote mentions, they do need a DE to replace Kyle Vanden Bosch, who was lost to free agency. That loss may mean that DL is a priority, but as we saw from last season, the defensive backfield is also a priority.
Tags: Tennessee Titans