PFF Preview: Titans @ Jaguars, Week 16
Despite the NFL Network’s insistence that the days of the week are transient rather than set in stone, Thursday Night Football will by all other accounts end with the Titans traveling to Jacksonville this week. With both teams contending for 2015’s top overall pick, there won’t be any playoff implications here, though Jacksonville would like to avenge their Week 6 loss in Nashville.
Blake Bortles was playing in just his third career start in that game and would end up posting his second-highest passer rating at 88.7 while his 32 completions and 336 yards still stand as career marks. Since then, however, Bortles has played the part of rookie quarterback, struggling with interceptions and combining with some less-than-stellar pass protection to land the second spot in sacks taken.
With one of last year’s better cornerback pairings, Alterraun Verner’s departure to Tampa left the Titans a bit thin in the secondary. Jason McCourty has taken a step back, already charged with allowing over 1,000 receiving yards. Blidi Wreh-Wilson hasn’t been any better, but a trip to I.R. means that Coty Sensabaugh will be seeing full-time duty yet again this week. Sensabaugh has held up reasonably well in coverage, though it has to be concerning that he’s missed nine tackles on the season and that over half of the receiving yardage he’s allowed has been after the catch.
There isn’t too much on the line other than bragging rights, but both clubs have their pride to play for in this divisional matchup. Let’s look at some other players that could help pull out a win on our last mid-week game of the season.
Jurrll Casey – Not many teams have an interior lineman leading the team in sacks, but Tennessee is one of them. In addition to his five sacks, Casey has 14 hits. Those 19 takedowns trail only J.J. Watt at his position.
Delanie Walker – With over four times more playing time than the next highest tight end on the roster, Walker is our sixth-highest-graded tight end (+9.4). The former 49er leads all tight ends with a +7.7 run blocking grade and has done well as a pass-catcher too, averaging 7.2 YAC per reception. Should Walker be hindered by his knee, Chase Coffman would have to fill in. Coffman is second among Tennessee’s tight ends with 50 receiving yards.
Derrick Morgan – Alongside Casey, Morgan has been an underrated pass rusher, though he’s just as impressive in coverage. His five pass defenses lead all 3-4 outside linebackers, with the next closest at two.
Brandon Linder – One of the bright spots on an underwhelming line, Linder’s Pass Blocking Efficiency of 98.1 is seventh-best among guards. The third-round rookie has allowed just 11 pressures while playing 94% of the team’s offensive snaps.
Sen’Derrick Marks – Re-signed to an $18 million deal this offseason after coming over from Tennessee on a one-year deal, Marks has repaid that with eight sacks (third among defensive tackles) and 36 total pressures, contributing to a Pass Rushing Productivity of 8.0.
Telvin Smith – For a rookie taken in the fifth round, you could do plenty worse than Smith and his +1.1 grade on the year. He leads the team with 38 defensive stops and has the highest coverage grade as well (+1.8) thanks partly to three pass defenses and an interception.
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