ReFo: Titans @ Jaguars, week 12
There was always the possibility that after a week of build up, Chad Henne wouldn’t be what the Jacksonville Jaguars needed him to be. He wouldn’t make the most out of the receivers, he’d struggle under pressure, and he’d be nothing more than a Blaine Gabbert imitator.
He wasn’t. Realizing how rare auditions for starting quarterbacks are, Henne inspired the Jaguars to a much needed victory as the team looked like one on the rise.
The Tennessee Titans weren’t great by any stretch, but they made the Jaguars work for their win up until Jake Locker’s interception with 2:53 remaining. Let’s look at some of the key performances:
Tennessee – Three Performances of Note
Impact Up the Middle
He doesn’t pick up the kind of sacks that will ever get him much attention (even if he did manage one in this game), but Jurrell Casey (+4.1) sure does make his presence felt. Already one of the leagues’ premier run defenders, Casey put in another fine exhibition in that facet of play which ended with him picking up five defensive stops against the run. Rookie guard Mike Brewer was the chief victim of Casey’s ability to hold ground and then get off blocks to get to the ball carrier.
Up and Down Day for Locker
There was a lot to like about the performance of Jake Locker (+1.4). When the Jaguars got pressure on him he did a good job of extending plays, and when the Titans went no-huddle late in the game, he moved the ball down the field exceptionally well, capping it off with a fine touchdown throw to Kenny Britt with 4:57 to go in the game. Unfortunately, there were some examples of less-refined play as Locker twice forced throws into coverage resulting in one missed interception (Derek Cox – Q1, 7:45) and one late interception on the tipped ball to Jared Cook. Encouraging for the future? Yes. An indication of instant success? Not so much.
There are times when you watch Colin McCarthy (-3.6) and wonder if long term he has what it takes to make the Titans’ middle linebacker position his own. He didn’t help himself with three missed tackles but his main issue was getting off blocks to make plays. On the one occasion he did (10:18 in Q3) he fell off the running back when making the tackle, allowing a third down run to go past the chains. Overall, an unconvincing display.
Jacksonville – Three Performances of Note
Henne Gives Hope
It wasn’t a flawless performance from Chad Henne (+5.1), but it was the best we’ve seen from a Jaguars quarterback since the days of David Garrard. Despite facing pressure on 45.5% of plays and overcoming three dropped passes, Henne walked away completing seven of 13 passes on balls aimed over 10 yards in the air. Jacksonville will want him to take less than the seven sacks he did in this game going forward (especially as six of them came when the Titans blitzed), but he stood firm when many would have faltered. Audition No.1 passed.
Impotent Pass Rush
46 times Jake Locker dropped back to pass, and on only 10 plays did he face pressure with three of those coming unblocked. Starting defensive ends Austen Lane and Jeremy Mincey combined to draw a blank, while only C.J. Mosley and John Chick earned positive grades as pass rushers. Considering Locker had 2.84 seconds to throw on average, that’s more than enough time for them to make life tough for the rookie quarterback, only it never happened for them.
Good Day for Nwaneri
I haven’t always been high on the work of Uche Nwaneri (+1.8) this year, and there were times in this game I certainly wasn’t either. He had some problems in pass protection that saw Casey beat him for a sack and he gave up another hit in addition to a holding penalty in the run game. However, he did show his athleticism on a series of nice blocks at the second level. When he pulled and worked his way up field it was normally at the expense of Zach Brown who simply couldn’t disengage once the big guard got his hands on him.
– Six of the seven sacks Henne took came on the 13 plays the Titans blitzed.
– The Jaguars missed nine tackles while the Titans missed 11.
– Jared Cook was on the field for 64.4% of snaps including 85.1% of passing plays.
PFF Game Ball
It really had to be Chad Henne didn’t it?
Follow Khaled on Twitter: @PFF_Khaled