A wish list of some things the Titans’ defense wants to do against the Vikings:
1) Maximize playing time — Starters aren’t expected to play very long in the preseason finale but this will be the final tune up of game action before opening at Pittsburgh on Sept. 8. The first-team would like to have a fast start because doing so can be quite helpful in road games and Tennessee opens its season with back-to-back appearances in hostile environments. Tennessee’s defense forced a turnover early at Cincinnati two weeks ago, but then didn’t respond as well after a missed field goal. Last week, however, the Titans held the Falcons without a touchdown on any of their three trips to the red zone.
2) Fill the voids again — Tennessee was missing four of its front seven starters against Atlanta, but replacements rose to the occasion. Antonio Johnson filled in for Sammie Hill at defensive tackle, rookie Lavar Edwards filled in for Ropati Pitoitua at defensive end, Patrick Bailey replaced Akeem Ayers at strongside linebacker, and Tim Shaw did the same for Zach Brown at weakside linebacker. Each of those is likely to happen again at Minnesota, and the Titans want to continue manning up by the next men up because it is necessary during a game or the course of the season.
3) Get a good assessment tool — Titans coaches and Tennessee’s personnel department must reduce the roster from 75 to 53 by 5 p.m. CT on Saturday. There are only a few spots up for grabs, but they are vital to making the team as strong as possible. Tennessee has several young cornerbacks that it wants to see play in another game as well as players to sort through on the defensive line. Several players would be eligible for the practice squad, but that decision-making process is always clouded by the fact that other teams could sign those players to their 53-man rosters.
4) Refine tackling — Tennessee improved its tackling between the Cincinnati and Atlanta games and wants to keep doing so because this will be the last opportunity for defenders to do so in a full-contact setting until Pittsburgh. The Titans have done less studying of the opponent than last week, so fundamental tackling will be even more important.
Tags: akeem ayers, Antonio Johnson, Patrick Bailey, Ropati Pitoitua, Sammie Hill, Tennessee Titans, Zach Brown
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The latter, the rookie from North Carolina, gave Munchak every reason to feel confident about his linebacker corps going forward.
Brown intercepted Jaguars QB Chad Henne twice for touchdowns — and he could have had another had he not dropped his first chance early in the game.
Brown’s first pick went for 79 yards and his first career touchdown, tying the game at 14 late in the second quarter. It was the team’s longest interception return since Jordan Babineaux’s 97-yarder at Cleveland on Oct. 2, 2011.
In the third quarter he struck again, picking off a Henne pass and racing 30 yards for a score to give the Titans a 35-14 advantage.
Brown tied the NFL record (reached several times) for most interception return touchdowns in a game, and he became the third player in franchise history to accomplish the feat, joining Miller Farr (Dec. 7, 1968) and Ken Houston (Dec. 19, 1971).
“It felt good to get the picks,” Brown said after the game. “The first one, I dropped it, but coach (Munchak) told me he’d throw me another one. I was just waiting for it. He threw it to me two times, and I should have had one more, but it is what it is.”
Brown said Henne has a tendency to stare down defenders, so he began taking “a little quick peek” on Henne’s passes that were often intended for his go-to target Mercedes Lewis.
“It feels good, and it’s something as a defensive player that you want to do,” Brown added. “We’re not in the playoffs, but in any event, we were still playing to win. For us, it’s just pride kicking in. If you don’t like to play the game to win, then you shouldn’t be here at all.”
Brown’s touchdowns gave the team four interceptions for touchdowns in 2012.
Tags: Zach Brown
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Linebacker Zach Brown and defensive end Kamerion Wimbley each had 1.5 sacks in the game*, while linebacker Akeem Ayers, safety Michael Griffin, and defensive tackles Jurrell Casey and Karl Klug each tallied a solo sack.
In franchise history, there have been only five games in which the Oilers/Titans recorded more than seven sacks and only three road games with more than seven sacks.
Most team sacks in a road game, franchise history:
8 – Nov. 10, 1985 at Buffalo
8 – Sept. 12, 1982 at Cincinnati
8 – Oct. 17, 1976 at San Diego
7 – Nov. 25, 2012 at Jacksonville
7 – Oct. 9, 2005 at Houston
7 – Nov. 28, 1999 at Cleveland
7 – Nov. 14, 1999 at Cincinnati
7 – Sept. 23, 1979 at Cincinnati
7 – Dec. 22, 1963 at Oakland
* Brown was initially credited with two sacks in the game, and Wimbley was credited with one sack. A third-quarter sack by Brown has since been changed to a split sack between Brown and Wimbley.
Tags: akeem ayers, Jurrell Casey, Kamerion Wimbley, Karl Klug, Michael Griffin, Zach Brown
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