Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

23 Nov 2010

ESPN AGS: Redskins over Titans

Rusty Smith or Kerry Collins, does it really matter? If the Titans make the playoffs, they'll do it with defense and special teams -- and even in an upset loss, those two units still came to play against Washington.

Posted by: Vincent Verhei on 23 Nov 2010

3 comments, Last at 24 Nov 2010, 7:02pm by dmb

Comments

1
by dmb :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 12:02am

I like Mariani, and the general point about his excellent season stands, but using last Sunday's TD to illustrate that point seemed a bit misleading. On his way to the end zone, Mariani ran past: (1) a guy blowing out his ACL, (2) a guy getting blocked in the back, and (3) a guy pulling his hamstring. Playing 11-on-8 seems to make things a bit easier.

Also, I know FO isn't a hive mind, but I thought that there was a PFP/FOA essay a few years ago that debunked the concept of the "bends but doesn't break" defense. Any reason to believe this Titans' D is different in its ability to maintain a level of performance in the red zone that is significantly better than its rest-of-field performance?

2
by Vincent Verhei :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 4:21am

As I recall, the article showed that teams that played significantly better in the red zone than they did on the rest of the field (on both offense and defense) are not likely to do so the NEXT season. I don't think we found any change within a given year.

If I'm wrong about that, and if Tennessee's stellar red zone defense is just a function of luck, then yes, they are well and truly screwed.

3
by dmb :: Wed, 11/24/2010 - 7:02pm

That's true; I just can't come up with any solid reasons why large red zone / rest of field differences would be sustainable within-season when they've been shown to be unsustainable across seasons.