Preparing for Tennessee: Ravens Preview

Chris Schisler

The Baltimore Ravens host the Tennessee Titans this Sunday. Here is everything the purple and black need to be ready for come game time. The following observations come from film study of the Titans last two football games:

1.) The Titans like to mix up their fronts on defense. Their base defense is a typical 3-4, an odd front with the nose covering the center. The defensive ends show some variation but typically line up in a 5 technique. The Titans have two different even fronts. The first is a sub-package where they take out the nose, having the defensive ends in 2 techniques over the guards while the outside linebackers pin their ears back. The second is just a regular 4-3 even front. Tennessee also likes to use a radar defense, where they don’t get set to the last minute. It seems like they almost always are in man to man coverage on the outside when in a radar front. Radar or not, the Titans use a lot of movement before the play.

2.) The Titans are a blitz happy defense. Blitzes can come from linebackers, defensive backs, even the kitchen sink. The Titans blitz out of every alignment but have a slight tendency to blitz more with an even front. The defensive line is very impressive. The nose guard, Sammie Hill is especially impressive. Stunts as well as good old fashioned bull rush help the blitz big time.

3.) Bishop Sankey is a dangerous playmaker in the backfield. Sankey is a good running back. He relies on shiftiness more than power. The quick back has potential for extra yards on every play and is trouble for defenses when in the open field. Running back is perhaps the Titans best offensive position. Dexter McCluster is a versatile speed demon and Shonn Green is their bruiser.

4.) The Titans run mostly a zone blocking scheme; its nothing the Ravens defense has not seen in practice. The offensive line does a great job moving in unison and creating options for the running backs. The running backs are very good at choosing the right path. The Ravens must stop the run. The defensive linemen are going to get double teams, they have to win the battle and let the linebackers headhunt.

5.) Tennessee’s offense is different under Mettinberger because he is a different style of quarterback. Zach Mettinberger had his struggles against Houston but he showed he could throw the deep ball. Mettinberger likes to throw the ball down the deep seams, which could highlight Baltimore’s problems in the secondary. Mettinberger struggled at times against Houston, throwing 2 interceptions but he also had 299 yards and 2 touchdowns.

6.) The Titans strong safety, George Wilson is not great in coverage. He struggles when he is asked to cover faster slot receivers or tight ends. In the Washington game there was a play that highlighted this. The Redskins slot receiver (who Wilson was ultimately responsible for) ran towards the sideline and then up. Wilson overran the route and got beat. This seems to be a common occurrence. The Ravens should put the Titans in situations where a faster receiver is covered by the strong safety.

7.) The Titans offense is always trying to get defenses out of position. They use a bevy of different formations with several different personnel packages. They use plenty of pre-snap motions and they love the misdirection play action pass. It is important for defenders (especially) linebackers to stay true to their keys. Its most probable that Tennessee will try to spread the Ravens out, nullify the pass rush and attack a weak secondary. Playing power football will only play into the Ravens hands.

8.) Tennessee likes to throw a lot of screens to receivers and quick passes. This is the Titans way of finding rhythm by picking up easy yards. It may behoove the Ravens to have their outside linebackers lined up a little wide for potential tipped passes on first downs.

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