Saturday, December 09, 2000

Titans Scouting Report

Another Super Bowl run possible

By Mark Curnutte
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Tennessee is 23-6 in the past two seasons, best in the league.

        Its 10-3 record ties Miami and Oakland behind only Minnesota as the NFL's best this year.

        The Titans have a one-game lead over Baltimore in the AFC Central, and their remaining three opponents — Cincinnati, Cleveland and Dallas — are a combined 10-30.

        Tennessee made its way to the Super Bowl last season as a wild-card team and is looking good for a division crown.

        If they beat the Bengals on Sunday, the Titans are in the playoffs.

        A scouting report:

Thumbs up
        • Defense. The Titans are third in the league with 14.3 points allowed per game. They are tied for third in the NFL with 45 sacks. Only one running back, Jacksonville's Fred Taylor, has rushed for 100 yards or more in the past 15 games against Tennessee. The Titans are sixth in the NFL in rushing defense, 91.8 yards a game.

        • Running game. Eddie George is 31 rushing yards away from his fifth consecutive 1,200-yard season and would become only the second back to rush for that many yards in his first five NFL seasons; Eric Dickerson was the other. George has five 100-yard games this season, and the Titans are 23-5 when George hits 100 yards.

        • Special teams. Punter Craig Hentrich put four of his five punts inside the 20 last week against Philadelphia. Wide receiver/kick returner Derrick Mason has 2,302 all-purpose yards, the sixth best season in NFL history.

Thumbs down
        • Close games. Seven of Tennessee's 13 games have been decided by three or fewer points, including all three of its losses. The losses were by a total of seven points. Coach Jeff Fisher says some of the team's victories would come by larger margins if it were playing better.

        • Turnovers. The Titans have given away the ball 24 times and have just 23 takeaways.

        • First quarter. Must look hard to find negatives, but the Titans have been outscored 36-34 in the first quarter.

Jury's out
        • Al Del Greco. The veteran kicker made five field goals in Tennessee's 15-13 victory at Philadelphia, including a 50-yarder at the gun. He missed a potential game winner from 28 yards against Jacksonville and an extra point and another possible game-winning field goal in two other recent games.


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