Reviewing the Tennessee Titans 2009 Season

NASHVILLE, TN - DECEMBER 13: Vince Young #10 of the Tennessee Titans looks to pass the football in the first half against the St. Louis Rams at LP Field on December 13, 2009 in Nashville, Tennessee. (Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

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
Points 354 16 Points 402 28
Yards 5623 12 Yards 5850 28
Cmp 271 Cmp 404
Att 476 Att 604
Pass Yards 3031 23 Pass Yards 4139 31
NY/A 6.2 14 NY/A 6.5 23
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
Y/A 5.2 1 Y/A 4.3 16
Sacks 15 2 Sacks 32 T-18

Table 1


Ten Pts Opp D
Opp Pts Opp O
Opp Score Avg Pt Diff1 Score Avg Pt Diff2
Pittsburgh Steelers 10 20.25 -10.25 13 23 -10
Houston Texans 31 20.81 10.19 34 24.25 9.75
New York Jets 17 14.75 2.25 24 21.75 2.25
Jacksonville Jaguars 17 23.75 -6.75 37 18.13 18.88
Indianapolis Colts 9 19.19 -10.19 31 26 5
New England Patriots 0 17.81 -17.81 59 26.69 32.31
Jacksonville Jaguars 30 23.75 6.25 13 18.13 -5.13
San Francisco 49ers 34 17.56 16.44 27 20.63 6.38
Buffalo Bills 41 20.38 20.63 17 16.13 0.88
Houston Texans 20 20.81 -0.81 17 24.25 -7.25
Arizona Cardinals 20 20.31 -0.31 17 23.44 -6.44
Indianapolis Colts 17 19.19 -2.19 27 26 1
St. Louis Rams 47 27.25 19.75 7 10.94 -3.94
Miami Dolphins 27 24.38 2.63 24 22.5 1.5
San Diego Chargers 17 20 -3 42 28.38 13.63
Seattle Seahawks 17 24.38 -7.38 13 17.5 -4.5
Sum Difference 19.44 54.31

Table 2


Ten Yds Opp D
Opp Yds Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Yd Diff1 Gained Avg Yd Diff2
Pittsburgh Steelers 320 305.31 14.69 357 371.31 -14.31
Houston Texans 449 324.88 124.13 420 383.06 36.94
New York Jets 286 252.31 33.69 229 321 -92
Jacksonville Jaguars 379 352.31 26.69 442 336.56 105.44
Indianapolis Colts 245 339.19 -94.19 367 363.06 3.94
New England Patriots 186 320.19 -134.19 619 397.31 221.69
Jacksonville Jaguars 430 352.31 77.69 330 336.56 -6.56
San Francisco 49ers 315 326.38 -11.38 358 290.75 67.25
Buffalo Bills 378 340.56 37.44 296 273.88 22.13
Houston Texans 344 324.88 19.13 340 383.06 -43.06
Arizona Cardinals 532 346.44 185.56 292 344.38 -52.38
Indianapolis Colts 375 339.19 35.81 358 363.06 -5.06
St. Louis Rams 446 372.81 73.19 240 279.38 -39.38
Miami Dolphins 364 349.31 14.69 468 337.56 130.44
San Diego Chargers 270 326.88 -56.88 425 360.06 64.94
Seattle Seahawks 304 356.44 -52.44 309 316.81 -7.81
Sum Difference 293.63 392.19

Table 3


Ten P-Yd Opp D
Opp P-Yd Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Pa Diff1 Gained Avg Pa Diff2
Pittsburgh Steelers 234 215.44 18.56 321 259.25 61.75
Houston Texans 209 217.94 -8.94 357 290.88 66.13
New York Jets 159 153.69 5.31 146 148.75 -2.75
Jacksonville Jaguars 284 235.88 48.13 305 209.75 95.25
Indianapolis Colts 155 212.69 -57.69 309 282.19 26.81
New England Patriots -7 209.69 -216.69 426 277.25 148.75
Jacksonville Jaguars 125 235.88 -110.88 113 209.75 -96.75
San Francisco 49ers 163 229.38 -66.38 250 190.75 59.25
Buffalo Bills 210 184.25 25.75 207 157.19 49.81
Houston Texans 116 217.94 -101.94 283 290.88 -7.88
Arizona Cardinals 369 233.69 135.31 217 251 -34
Indianapolis Colts 233 212.69 20.31 270 282.19 -12.19
St. Louis Rams 286 235.25 50.75 160 167.88 -7.88
Miami Dolphins 236 234.63 1.38 347 198.13 148.88
San Diego Chargers 88 209.25 -121.25 259 271.13 -12.13
Seattle Seahawks 171 245.44 -74.44 169 218.94 -49.94
Sum Difference -452.69 433.13

Table 4


Ten R-Yd Opp D
Opp R-Yd Opp O
Opp Gained Avg Ru Diff1 Gained Avg Ru Diff2
Pittsburgh Steelers 86 89.88 -3.88 36 112.06 -76.06
Houston Texans 240 106.94 133.06 63 92.19 -29.19
New York Jets 127 98.63 28.38 83 172.25 -89.25
Jacksonville Jaguars 95 116.44 -21.44 137 126.81 10.19
Indianapolis Colts 90 126.5 -36.5 58 80.88 -22.88
New England Patriots 193 110.5 82.5 193 120.06 72.94
Jacksonville Jaguars 305 116.44 188.56 217 126.81 90.19
San Francisco 49ers 152 97 55 108 100 8
Buffalo Bills 168 156.31 11.69 89 116.69 -27.69
Houston Texans 228 106.94 121.06 57 92.19 -35.19
Arizona Cardinals 163 112.75 50.25 75 93.38 -18.38
Indianapolis Colts 142 126.5 15.5 88 80.88 7.13
St. Louis Rams 160 137.56 22.44 80 111.5 -31.5
Miami Dolphins 128 114.69 13.31 121 139.44 -18.44
San Diego Chargers 182 117.63 64.38 166 88.94 77.06
Seattle Seahawks 133 111 22 140 97.88 42.13
Sum Difference 746.31 -40.94

Table 5

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.

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