Tennessee Titans Progress Report: Where Things Stand Heading into Week 7

Nate Dunlevy@NateDunlevyGuest ColumnistOctober 17, 2012

The Tennessee Titans are 2-4 on the 2012 season and in third place in the AFC South.

In Week 7, they head to Ralph Wilson Stadium to take on the Buffalo Bills.

They rank 32nd on offense, 28th on defense and 30th overall in DVOA.


Primary Talking Point for Week 7

It's time to go on a run.

After a dramatic win, the Titans have to feel like they've survived the gantlet the schedule makers laid out for them.

While the offense has languished most of the season, it's easy to point to injuries as the primary culprit. If there is going to be any step forward for the Titans in 2012, it has to come from the defense.

The Titans have to find ways to generate pressure and tackle better. Until those things happen, the next loss will remain right around the corner.


Injury Outlook

Jake Locker is still expected to miss time with his left shoulder problem, meaning Matt Hasselbeck will start Week 7.

John Glennon of the Tennessean reports cornerback Tommie Campbell will be out a couple of weeks with an ankle sprain.

Glennon also reports that Markelle Martin may be ready to come off the PUP list.


Player on the Rise

Just a few weeks after bottoming out as the second-least effective wideout in the NFL, Kendall Wright has climbed back up the charts a couple of spots thanks a pair of better performances.

Wright made a difference against the Steelers with a game-high six catches and team-best 71 yards.

Wright's slow start will take time to overcome on the DVOA charts, but his catch rate is back up over 60 percent now, and he's broken the top 80 wideouts.

Of course, the bad news is that he's now joined at the bottom of the league by Kenny Britt, but the odds are good both players find a way to climb the charts in coming weeks.

There's too much receiving talent in Tennessee for players to finish the year this low.


Feel Good Stat of the Week

If you like arbitrary end points, you'll love Chris Johnson!

After three games, his numbers were 33 carries for 45 yards (1.4 YPC).

In his last three games, his numbers are 59 carries for 256 yards (4.3 YPC).

Granted, in the middle of that there was a classic 15 carries-for-24 yards performance, but the point of the feel good stat is to, you know, feel good.

Maybe Johnson is heating up.


Troubling Stat of the Week


Or five.

Take your pick.

Two is the number of sacks that team leaders Derrick Morgan and Mike Martin have on the year.

Five is the number of sacks they would have if you prorated out their totals over 16 games. Actually, the number is 5.3, so if we want to call it 5.5 sacks, that's fine.

Raise your hand, Mr. Bueller, if you think a defense whose leading pass rusher has five sacks on the season will be able to stop opponents consistently.

The pass rush was always going to be an issue for the Titans. After all, they had the worst pass rush in football last season.

Before the year, the Titans claimed adding Kamerion Wimbley and an assortment of fancy blitzes would more than take care of the pesky pressure problem.

Looks like they were wrong.


Overall Trend: Rising

It may not be accurate to say the Titans are rising after just one win, but the schedule certainly gets easier from here on out.

Truthfully, if Locker was healthy, the Titans would be very much alive, but it's hard to get overly optimistic as long as Hasselbeck is filling in for him.

If nothing else, the excuses are over for the Titans. 2-4 isn't quite where they wanted to be through six games, but oblivion has been staved off for a week at least.

With four winnable games in their next five, Tennessee could be heading into the home stretch at 6-5.

Of course, beating the Bills, Colts and Dolphins will require real improvement roster wide, but at least until Sunday, hope floats in Nashville.


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