Tom Gower of Total Titans blog answered our queries on his team. We answered their questions as well. There is some overlapped consensus on what the issues for tomorrow’s game will be.
Q1) Why did Fisher cut Vince Young’s nuts off?
I wrote a post about VY’s game, and from the TV coverage, I didn’t think he really played that poorly. I think what led to his benching was really two separate issues. First, the running game, which was reasonably productive for the first half, had turned completely dry. Johnson had a good run to start the second half, and then nothing, so passes were coming in negative down-and-distance situations. Second, VY had, for different reasons, essentially thrown two interceptions right to Steeler defenders, so he was playing hesitant. Quarterbacks who play hesitant against good pressure defenses get destroyed, and Young took two big sacks on the last two called passes before he was removed.
Q2) I thought Chris Johnson was supposed to have 2500 yards (by his own account, lol) this season. Will the Titans spring him loose this weekend?
They’re sure going to try. If he’s running for decent yardage and the game situation allows it, he’ll probably get 25 carries. He’s a better between the tackles runner than you think he is (and MUCH, MUCH better between the tackles than I thought he’d be when they drafted him), and his speed shows up not just on the long touchdown runs but on shorter runs as well. The Titans also attack the edges with him a lot, and a lot more than they’d done with anybody else at RB in the Fisher era. He’ll probably break at least one for 20+ on Sunday, and hopefully this time it won’t be called back for holding.
Q3) Does your OC’s game plan ever include getting the ball to Kenny Britt?
Absolutely, when the situation dictates it. Britt’s problem was he spent too much of the offseason not working out and not improving his craft, so he’s on the bench and Nate Washington and Justin Gage are starting. OC Mike Heimerdinger also tends to not rotate receivers, so Britt this year is playing mostly in 3-WR packages. In those, though, he’s probably the top target. His zero targets, zero catches Week 1 against the Raiders was purely a function of them putting Nnamdi Asomugha up against him every time he was in the game, and Week 2 he tied for the team lead in catches.
Q4) Your front four is excellent. How badly does your team intend to hurt Eli this weekend?
Eh, you have more confidence in the Titans front four than I do. I’m sure DC Chuck Cecil would be pleased to hurt Eli this weekend. Will they? I’m not so sure. From what I’ve seen/read, I think the Giants OL is weaker at tackle whereas the Titans strengths are much more on the inside, particularly with Tony Brown and Jason Jones. One thing to watch out for is LB Will Witherspoon coming untouched on a delay blitzed in the first quarter-he’s caused both Jason Campbell and Dennis Dixon to fumble doing that.
Q5) Do you think the Giants have any chance of running the ball?
The Titans the first two weeks have faced Jason Campbell and then Dennis Dixon and Charlie Batch at quarterback. Opposing teams have hardly posed any threat at all in the passing game and the Titans have been able to stack the box to shut down the run game fairly successfully. With an actual NFL quarterback in Eli Manning, the Giants pose enough of a threat the Titans can’t easily do the same. They don’t have a great destructive force who’ll shut down your entire run game like Albert Haynesworth When He Cared, but instead are gap-sound. If you can win at the point of attack, which is possible, and Eli Manning can hit receivers downfield and force them to play more 2-high safeties, the Giants can and will be able to run successfully.
Q6) Final score?
I hate making predictions. Giants win, 24-20.
Thanks Tom. Watching the Steelers-Titans game on rewind was revealing. A cheesy holding call took back an 86 yard TD by Johnson. 7 turnovers. A kickoff returned against them for a TD. And they still lose 19-11. So the defense did not allow a single TD. The Giants offense will be better. But you have to imagine the Titans will be a lot better too. If the Giants can cause Vince Young to make 2+ turnovers, they will be in great shape.