Opposite Sideline: Titans no pushover
The lowdown on the Green Bay Packers' next opponent from a beat writer who covers the team.
The Green Bay Packers head to Tennessee this weekend to take on a Titans team that is still finding its way under head coach Mike Mularkey. That's not to say they can't still give the Packers some major problems.
We caught up with Paul Kuharsky, who covers the Titans for ESPN, to get a better feel for what's going on with the Titans heading into Sunday. You can see some of his answers below and in the video above.
1. With the injury to Derrick Henry and DeMarco Murray battling his turf toe injury, will the Titans lean on Marcus Mariota and their passing attack more than they would maybe like to against the Packers?
"They’ll lean that way more because of the Packers’ No. 1 rushing defense than because of the injuries. DeMarco Murray played with that toe in San Diego and I expect he’ll play with it Sunday. Derrick Henry wasn’t getting much work as the second guy, as the Titans say game flow determines his work. Game flow has usually led to heavy doses of Murray."
2. If the Packers spread the field with their multiple-wide-receiver sets, will the Titans' struggling secondary be able to match up in man or will defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau be forced into zone?
"They play plenty of zone. The key to a secondary lacking great corners is the pass rush. The DBs hold up if there is consistent pressure. Where there isn’t a lot of pressure, like early in San Diego last week, a good quarterback can pick them apart. I know there are complaints about the lack of separation for Aaron Rodgers’ targets. Even if they don’t get separation on the Titans' cover people, those cover people don’t make many plays on the ball."
3. The Titans got off the mat after falling behind early last week. How important is it for Tennessee to get off to a good start against Green Bay?
"If they can play well from the start, it enhances the possibility that the Titans can use Murray and maintain some level of offensive balance. That would be big. Mariota is equipped to take on a big workload and he’s accounted for 15 touchdowns in his last five games. The thing is, he’s got five giveaways this season — picks and fumbles — that have been returned for touchdowns. The Titans are 0-3 in the games where those have happened, and the Titans are not good enough to survive them."