Titans vs. Rams: Full Roster Card Grades for Each Position
The win puts the Titans at 4-4 and very much alive in the race for a division crown in the AFC South.
However, it was still an overall sloppy performance for the Titans, and that needs to be addressed moving forward if any kind of winning streak is going to be built off this big win over former head coach Jeff Fisher.
Here are the roster grades in the Titans' 28-21 victory coming off the bye week.
It was an overall rusty outing for Jake Locker, who was up against a relentless Rams pass rush. He struggled to develop any rhythm with his wide receivers and never seemed to really settle down.
Locker threw two interceptions on the day, including one that was intended for Kenny Britt. According to Jim Wyatt of The Tennessean, offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains thought it was a poor throw on Locker's end.
#Titans OC Dowell Loggains put Jake Locker's INT on the ball thrown to WR Kenny Britt on Locker. Said he put it in a bad spot— Jim Wyatt (@jwyattsports) November 3, 2013
His accuracy was an issue outside of the short completions, but he did have two short throws that went to Shonn Greene and Colin Mooney for 20-plus-yard gains.
Locker did make a gutsy touchdown run up the middle after breaking a tackle to put the Titans up, 21-14. You love the toughness he's displaying right now, but his accuracy remains inconsistent.
There was a great strike to Kendall Wright in the fourth quarter that ended up getting erased with an interception two plays later. It was a bad throw that Locker was fortunate didn't cost the Titans the game.
The most important thing in the end is that the Titans got the win, and Locker managed the game well enough to make sure that happened. However, it wasn't a performance that added any more confidence that he is the long-term franchise quarterback.
Running Back: A+
Chris Johnson, Shonn Greene
Chris Johnson had his most complete game in the last two seasons, but he wasn't the whole story here. Shonn Greene's return clearly helped this running game out in a big way, and it makes you wonder where the Titans would have had him in their four losses.
If the way this duo played is a sign of things to come, then the Titans are going to score enough points to consistently be in every game they play in.
The Titans still have some suspect rushing defenses to go up against, so these two guys should continue to help turn the Titans rushing attack back in the right direction. This was a huge first step.
Wide Receiver: C
Kendall Wright, Damian Williams, Justin Hunter, Nate Washington, Kenny Britt
The passing attack never got going for the Titans, and it all can't be put on Jake Locker. For some reason, Titans wide receivers just couldn't get open.
Just six combined receptions from Titans wide receivers isn't going to get the job done on most occasions for the Titans. Luckily, Chris Johnson decided to have his best game of the year, because the receivers were nowhere to be found.
Kendall Wright was only able to get loose once for a big gain, and Damian Williams had a 20-yard reception that had some good yards after the catch. That was virtually all the Titans were able to manage with their wide receivers in this game.
Kenny Britt continues to be a non-factor as well, and you have to be a little concerned about how thin this unit actually is moving forward.
Tight End: F
Delanie Walker, Craig Stevens
The Titans still aren't getting any production from their tight ends, and that's having a ripple effect on the rest of the passing game.
Delanie Walker and Craig Stevens have to get more involved to open things up for the rest of the receivers.
It really makes no sense that the tight end position isn't being utilized more to help Jake Locker find some big targets in the middle of the field.
It bears repeating that Walker remains to be the only tight end with a single reception this year for the Titans.
Offensive Line: B
Brian Schwenke, Andy Levitre, Chance Warmack, David Stewart, Michael Roos
It was a tough challenge for Tennessee's slumping offensive line, and the Titans answered the bell by helping spring the rushing game to 198 yards.
There were numerous plays where the Titans' offensive line clearly dominated the Rams defenders to spring Johnson for long gains.
Andy Levitre, particularly, had a strong game that the Titans have been waiting for after signing him in the offseason.
We all knew that the Rams brought a nasty pass rush, and they got a ton of consistent pressure on Jake Locker the entire game. They ended up sacking Locker four times, and that made it difficult for Locker to ever get into a groove.
Luckily, not every pass rush is as good as the Rams. You leave this game encouraged from the performance, and rookie Brian Schwenke has something to do with that.
Defensive Line: C
Jurrell Casey, Derrick Morgan, Kamerion Wimbley, Ropati Pitoitua, Antonio Johnson, Mike Martin
It wasn't really a strong effort by the Titans' defense outside of the fumble recovery by Derrick Morgan that ended up propelling the Titans to the win.
Zac Stacy broke through the Titans' defensive line far too many times to help him to 127 rushing yards. It was the main reason the Rams were able to stay in the game up until the end.
There was some pressure put on Kellen Clemens in the pocket, but he also had plenty of time to make some big throws. Since Clemens isn't much of a running quarterback, the Titans weren't really burned from the lack of consistent pressure.
The two sacks from Jurrell Casey further solidified that he is the heart of the Titans' defensive line, but the Titans still aren't getting much production from the defensive end.
Rookie Lavar Edwards missed this game due to injury.
Colin McCarthy, Akeem Ayers, Zach Brown
Run-of-the-mill performance from the linebackers, but it's nice to see Colin McCarthy making an impact in the absence of Moise Fokou. He could very well have earned his starting role back for the rest of the season.
There were a few times that Zac Stacy was able to break past the linebackers, but they mostly did their job at keeping Stacy from getting into the secondary.
These guys keep doing just enough to help the Titans remain an underrated defense.
Defensive Backs: B
Bernard Pollard, Alterraun Verner, Jason McCourty, Coty Sensabaugh, George Wilson
The Titans' depth was tested a bit with the absence of Michael Griffin, but they responded by keeping Kellen Clemens mainly in check.
Clemens was able to finds some holes in the Titans' zone defense, and a defensive stand was needed by the secondary to close this game out in the end.
Once they settled down, Clemens had trouble finding open receivers and had to rely on Zac Stacy to keep the Rams in it.
It wasn't a major test for the Titans' secondary against such a thin passing offense that's down to their backup quarterback. A run-of-the-mill performance is what you can pull from this game for the secondary.
Special Teams: B
It was the first chance for Damian Williams to show what he can do as the primary kick returner, and he was able to manage pretty well on his four returns.
Williams replaced Darius Reynaud, who was cut during the bye week.
The Titans also had the tough task of keeping Tavon Austin from breaking loose, and he came very close to breaking one on his last punt return with the Rams down just seven.
Austin was still able to give the Rams good field position on that final drive that ended in an incomplete pass.
It was a pretty clean game from a special teams standpoint, which hasn't been the case for many times this season.
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