The 49ers and Titans square off this Sunday in Nashville, so I thought I would chat with Jimmy Morris from Music City Miracles, to get his thoughts on this matchup. In case you missed it, on Wednesday we broke down under the radar players in this game. On Thursday we broke down why each team will win on Sunday.
Niners Nation: Are the Titans just playing games or does Locker have a legit chance to play Sunday? If it's Fitzpatrick, what has that experience been like for Titans fans?
Music City Miracles: I have been told that it is a legit long shot, but Locker really wants to get back out there. The team wants to take it easy with him, and it would make sense for them to wait with the bye coming next week, but he is going to try to convince them to let him play. We will see.
The Fitzpatrick experience has been miserable. He can't throw the ball down the field and has accuracy problems on short throws. In case you were wondering, that is not a recipe for success.
NN: What happened to Chris Johnson? He had a very solid year last season, but seems to really be struggling this year. What can we make of the Titans run game coming into this game?
MCM: The run game has been awful for most of the season. The line isn't blocking very well, and CJ isn't hitting the holes when they are there. It has been extremely disappointing because the main focus for the Titans this offseason was revamping the offensive line. They spent a lot of money on guard Andy Levitre and a first round pick on Chance Warmack. Neither guy has played well to this point.
They announced this week that rookie Brian Schwenke will take over for veteran Rob Turner at center. That should help things because Turner has been really bad. They also get Shonn Greene back this week. He might be able to have more success running behind this line than CJ has.
All of that to say the run game has been a mess. We all have our fingers crossed that it will change this week.
NN: How do you explain the significant turnover differential in the Titans favor?
MCM: The Titans didn't turn the ball over for the first 4 weeks of the season. Jake Locker was doing a really nice job of taking care of the football, and the defense has been a turnover forcing machine. Gregg Williams has brought his aggressive style to this unit, and they are flying all over the field and making things happen.
NN: Tell us about your run defense. What are the strengths and weaknesses of the unit?
MCM: This defense has been a trillion times better than last season. They are playing inspired football and making plays all over the field.
The strength of the unit has been the secondary. Both corners are having really good seasons. Bernard Pollard has been the enforcer he was billed as, and Michael Griffin is having his best year since his rookie campaign.
The weakness right now is at middle linebacker. Colin McCarthy will be filling in for the injured Moises Fokou and he really struggled last week.
NN: Tell us about your two cornerbacks. PFF rates both of them quite highly, and they generally seem to be doing a great job. Is this expected or are either of them a surprise?
MCM: It is expected from those of us at MCM. Jason McCourty has been really good for the last 3 years. The Titans gave him an extension before his rookie deal was up because of how well he was playing.
As I said in the under the radar piece earlier this week, Alterraun Verner's play is no surprise to us, but it is to most people- including the Titans staff. They tried all preseason to replace him in the starting line-up, but ATV just kept making plays. He is a smart guy with great instincts.