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Raiders Rivals: Getting to know the Titans defense

Sep 11, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson catches a pass in front of Tennessee Titans cornerback Perrish Cox at Nissan Stadium.
Sep 11, 2016; Nashville, TN, USA; Minnesota Vikings wide receiver Cordarrelle Patterson catches a pass in front of Tennessee Titans cornerback Perrish Cox at Nissan Stadium.

While the Saints and Falcons were not the most stout of defenses, the Titans will offer a stiffer challenge to the Oakland Raiders. Some of the name will sound familiar, while others present mystery. One thing is for sure, the Titans will get after Derek Carr from the first whistle.


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Defensive Scheme: 3-4

DL to Watch: Jurrell Casey

The USC product is the best defensive tackle you haven’t heard of. Making second team All-Pro and still being relatively unknown is remarkable. Casey is a playmaker that disrupts offenses in a myriad of ways. First, he uses an elite swim move to combat slower guards. Jackson and Osemele will see a healthy dose of this. Second, Casey will shoot the gap (navigate a small space to get into the backfield, Third, he is versatile enough to line up inside, outside and even from a two-point stance (standing up) The Titans will move Casey around to exploit a weakness. Odds are they will feature him on the Raiders’ right side. How Casey is blocked dictates Carr’s afternoon. The intriguing matchup for him is Kelechi Osemele.

LB to Watch: Brian Orakpo

Orakpo, the former Pro Bowler found a home in Nashville. Orakpo uses a jab step to burst off the edge, while simultaneously gaining leverage versus tackles. Chances are Donald Penn will be his primary opponent. Penn anchors well, but Orakpo will get the corner in a hurry. Penn needs to avoid widening his stance too much. While Orakpo can veer inside, he wants to go around Penn and avoid contact with another lineman. Running towards Penn’s side would slow him down considerably. People complain about Musgrave’s use of screens. Orakpo’s style lends itself to this play call.

DBs to Watch: CB Jason McCourty and S Da’Norris Searcy

McCourty loves to bait quarterbacks by feigning off coverage. Meaning, he will slightly trail away and dare a throw, only to close on the ball immediately. McCourty will see a healthy dose of Amari Cooper. This is where Cooper’s route-running helps greatly. Cooper’s ability to execute a crisp route will create separation. The one knock against McCourty is his penchant for peeking in the backfield.

Searcy is not the typical smashmouth strong safety. An effective hitter, he will not turn the lights out. However, he will make just about every tackle in his vicinity. In two games, he’s tallied twelve tackles. He wins with speed and pursuit angles. Many smaller safeties fall victim to getting caught in the wash (an area cluttered with bigger bodies). Searcy weaves in and out of traffic to make plays. Getting blockers downhill on him may free up chunks of yards. If not, Carr will see many third and long situations.

The Titans defense is unsettling. They fly to the ball and will drag offenses into ugly games. Truthfully, the Raiders’ right tackle situation is concerning. Tennessee’s scheme is predicated on constant pressure. Jurrell Casey is going to be a gigantic headache. Where will he line up? Will he face a double?

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