Thus far this week we've discussed plenty about what the Tennessee Titans bring to the table on offense. Their primary weapon is Chris Johnson and most of us probably agree that he is the key player to stop tomorrow. And of course there is plenty of discussion about Vince Young and what he might or might not bring to the table. But what about the Titans defense against the 49ers offense? The 49ers defense has scored some points, but the offense is likely going to need to get some points on the board if this team is going to win.
The title is probably one that can be used each week for most of the rest of the year. Whether you are strongly behind Alex Smith or not, everyone will agree that the offensive line needs to step up for anything to develop on offense. If Frank Gore is going to make plays, he needs to get some holes to burst through. if Alex Smith is going to make plays, he needs time to progress through his reads. Simply put, the offensive line is once again the key.
The line has been riddled with injuries, so it's probably a lot to expect a fantastic performance. However, they could still put together a mediocre performance and the team still wins. The Titans defense has a lot of question marks, particularly in a rather young secondary. This could be a legit chance for Josh Morgan and Michael Crabtree to both take advantage.
Of course, Smith will need more than a second or two to make things happen. The Titans have some guys who can get to the quarterback, but like the 49ers they haven't been able to be all that consistent. They have one fewer sack than the 49ers, but I'd love some more insight on general pass rush. After all, a lack of sacks doesn't automatically mean no pass rush. For example, the 49ers have had games with limited sacks, but they've still managed to keep the quarterback running.
A quick look at DVOA (speaking of which, Florida Danny is dealing with some important stuff this week and will not be posting his rankings) indicates the Titans are 28th overall, 28th against the pass, and 14th against the run. On the same page it ranks a team's defense against various receivers (1st, 2nd, Other WR, TE, RB) and the Titans rank, in order, 28th, 18th, 30th, 26th, and 6th.
Needless to say, those rankings against receivers and tight ends has to be rather enticing. So, will Alex Smith get enough time to make plays tomorrow? Even if he has enough time, will the team utilize enough of a vertical game for it to make a difference? I guess I'm asking for general predictions about what kind of scheme we'll see from the offense tomorrow.