Know Your Opponent : With @TitansMCM
Patrick D. Starr
State of the Texans goes into week four's "Know Your Opponent" by previewing the intense AFC South rivalry between the Houston Texans and the Tennessee Titans. All smack talk aside, we get an objective look into the inner workings of the team formerly known as the Oilers, from @TitansMCM. Music City Miracles provides insight on what's going on with Chris Johnson, the loss of Cortland Finnegan and how the myriad of match ups will play out this Sunday.
We continue take questions from the Twitter audience to ensure the questions YOU want answered are addressed. You can ask your questions for future weeks with the hashtag #KYO, addressed to @TheClaireBear23. We will select the best questions week to week.
@OlYeller01: With the departure of Cortland Finnegan, who will the Titans use to try and cover Andre Johnson, or will you change schemes to compensate?
Jason McCourty (CB) will probably match-up against AJ most of the day. One of the reasons they were willing to let Finnegan walk was because of how much they like McCourty.
That being said, the Titans don't generally match-up corners on receivers. They will obviously roll coverage to the side where Johnson lines up, but they probably won't assign McCourty to him.
@Texan_Beat_Down, @txbobbumman, @CrazyTex00: With RB Chris Johnson's lack of yards, and Javon Ringer's elbow, is there a chance for Darius Reynaud to get some touches in the run game?
He will get some touches, but I don't think you will see that many running plays. They showed last week that they are willing to move to an attack where they pass to set up the run. Reynaud will get touches, but don't expect them to run the ball more than 15 times.
To what does the Titans community attribute Chris Johnson's struggles?
A combination of a bad offensive line and CJ not hitting holes that are there. It is one of those things where the line and CJ can never seem to be good on the same play. Johnson looked a little bit better last week, but I don't expect him to be able to do anything against the Texans defense.
With the Titans' historically strong play in the trenches, to what can we attribute the offensive line struggles of 2012?
That is an excellent question. The tackles are still good, but the guys on the interior of the line just aren't very good. Leroy Harris (RG) has been a disappointment. They had high hopes for him, but it appears that he will never be as good as they thought he would be.
Fernando Velasco has been OK at center, and he should get better as the season goes along. Steve Hutchison (LG) is an upgrade from Jake Scott last season, but he isn't the player he once was. The talent just isn't there right now.
After QB Jake Locker's tough performance versus the Lions in week 3 (29/42, 378, 2TD, with some big plays including a 31-yard scramble,) what is expected from him from a Texans defense which is much different than that of Detroit's defense?
I would expect Locker to make some big plays and some big mistakes in this one. You are right, the Texans defense is nothing like that of Detroit, but Locker has gotten better each week. He will make a decision/throw that makes me throw my hat, but he will also make a throw or two that makes me jump off the couch.
The Titans have been giving up a lot of yards and points on defense in 2012. What will need to change in week 4 against the Texans?
Everything. This is just not a good match-up for the Titans. They have been terrible against the run and haven't faced a rushing attack anywhere as close to as good as the one the Texans have.
Last week they were content to keep their safeties 20 yards off the line of scrimmage and dare the Lions to run the ball. They obviously won't be able to do that in this one. Look for (Arian) Foster and (Ben) Tate to have big days.
We witnessed an amazing TD catch by WR Nate Washington over Lions CB Jacob Lacey; how do you feel about his Texans matchup this week?
Washington has been the most consistent playmaker the Titans have had on offense the last two seasons. He won't average 37.3 yards per catch in this one like he did last week, but he will make some plays. Look for them to take a couple of shots to him deep early in the game to try and open things up.
What matchups do you think the Titans can exploit over the Texans? What matchups concern you?
I really cannot think of one match-up the Titans will be able to exploit. The Texans seem to be better than the Titans in every phase of the game.
The biggest match-up that concerns me is the run game. The Titans defensive line has been blown off the ball in each of the first three weeks. I wouldn't expect anything different in this one.
Who are some lesser known Titans on both offense and defense who could make a statement against the Texans week 4?
On offense look for tight end Craig Stevens to be more involved in the passing game. Jared Cook (TE) is nursing a sore shoulder, so his snaps might be limited. Stevens is a really good blocker and is underrated as a receiver.
On defense Akeem Ayers (LB) has really taking a step forward in year two. He had a really dumb roughing the passer penalty against the Lions, but had an excellent game otherwise. He will need to step up big to slow down the rushing attack.
We thank Music City Miracles for the sincere and unbiased responses which aid Texans fans in understanding what to look for versus the Titans in week four. You can follow @TitansMCM on Twitter here and check out the blog here.