Michael Oher - Tennessee Titans » All The Stories

Aug 22

Bishop Sankey Seeking Improvement Each Week in NFL

NASHVILLE, Tenn. –The transition from the college game to the NFL is always a process and Titans rookie running back Bishop Sankey is learning with every rep he takes. Not only are defenses much f…

Aug 21

Tennessee Titans: 5 Big Storylines Heading into Preseason Week 3

With the regular season quickly approaching, the Tennessee Titans still have a lot to figure out before their Week 1 date with the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead.

Up next for the Titans in the preseason is the Atlanta Falcons, who will pose another tough challenge for the Tennessee secondary.

The Titans have to trim the roster to 75 players from 90 players in less than a week. This game against the Falcons will be the last real opportunity in a Tennessee uniform for a lot of these players.

The third preseason game is often thought of as the dress rehearsal for the regular season, so a good showing here is important for the Titans confidence. Expect Jake Locker and the rest of the offensive starters to see a lot more action.

These are five storylines for Tennessee heading into its third preseason game of 2014.

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Aug 21

Ravens outside linebacker Pernell McPhee predicts double-digit sacks this season

McPhee figures to play as an outside linebacker and as a five-technique defensive end.

The luxury of having a cross-trained defender is the ability of having that player back up multiple positions.

Pernell McPhee is a perfect example of this. McPhee has moved all around the defensive line and is now an outside linebacker. However, with season-ending injuries to Kapron Lewis-Moore and Brent Urban, McPhee will likely be asked to step in and work with the defensive line rotation as well as with the outside linebackers.

Though this is likely, McPhee said his main focus is rushing the passer as a linebacker and not as a down lineman.

“Whoever we play, [defensive coordinator Dean Pees will] let me know what role he wants me to play,” McPhee said. “But right now, I’m [an] outside linebacker. That’s what I focus on.”

Coach John Harbaugh opened up a bit about McPhee’s role in the defense, saying that he will likely be moved around quite a bit.

“[McPhee] already plays on the defensive line,” Harbaugh said. “He rotates all across the front. He pretty much plays every front position in our sub-package, so he can play there in our base package as well. He can play the five-technique some, so he’s a potential answer there. So is DeAngelo Tyson. Those guys have to play all the positions, so you end up rolling guys around. So, the first answer for any type of a depth issue is the guys that you have on your team. They need to step up. Those guys, they’re more than eager to do that.”

McPhee has had an impressive preseason, recording a sack a week ago against Dallas in Baltimore’s second preseason game. He’s expecting to not only return to his rookie form — when he recorded six sacks during the 2011 regular season — but he’s hoping to exceed it.

He’s put in place a lofty goal that he’s hoping to achieve.

“I predict myself as going in and having double-digit sacks,” McPhee said. “That’s just me, but I leave that in God’s hands. He only controls that.”

The Ravens‘ defense will be in great shape if McPhee is able to record a double-digit sack total. Because more than likely, that would mean the other three outside linebackers, Terrell Suggs, Courtney Upshaw and Elvis Dumervil, are getting their share of sacks, too.

Aug 21

Titans Under No Pressure to Pick Starting Corner

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – The Tennessee Titans are looking for Coty Sensabaugh and Blidi Wreh-Wilson to replace departed Pro Bowl cornerback Alterraun Verner, and coach Ken Whisenhunt sees no reaso…

Aug 21

Baltimore Ravens vs. Washington Redskins: Preseason Week 3 Game Preview

Week 3 of the NFL preseason is here. The Baltimore Ravens will host the Washington Redskins Saturday night at M&T Bank Stadium at 7:30 p.m. ET.

The third preseason game is typically when teams play their starters for two to three full quarters, making it a dress rehearsal for the regular season.

That’s because the starters by now usually have a full camp under their belt, so they should be able to operate effectively for at least a half. 

For Baltimore, this is a very important game because of the turnover this team has undergone over the offseason. They’re breaking in a new offensive coordinator, two new starting offensive lineman and potentially five new defensive starters. Baltimore is also looking to rebound from an 8-8 season in 2013 after missing the playoffs for the first time since John Harbaugh became the head coach in 2008. 

Here’s what to look for between the Ravens and the Redskins in their preseason matchup.  

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Aug 21

Zach Mettenberger Must Improve in the Pocket to Be Titans Starting Quarterback

Zach Mettenberger‘s first game against meaningful competition for the Tennessee Titans showed exactly why he was a sixth-round pick. He made a handful of bullet throws against tight coverage, and he completed 20-of-25 passes for 269 yards. He also turned the ball over twice, lacked the vision to see underneath zone defenders, and was inconsistent at responding positively to pressure. 

In other words: the sum of his skills (and off-field problems) are why he landed where he did. There are reasons for hope, and there are clear problems for him as an NFL quarterback. 

With Charlie Whitehurst doubtful for Saturday’s tune-up against Atlanta, Jim Wyatt of The Tennesseean considers it likely that Mettenberger will see a “significant amount of playing time.” 

I consider Mettenberger‘s inconsistent dealings with pocket pressure to be his biggest current flaw as a passer, and I’ll be looking at them Saturday as I try to discern how I feel about him as a potential long-term solution to succeed Jake Locker. Here’s a bit of what I saw last week from Mettenberger:

The good

Mettenberger‘s mobility is…well, he has little of it.

Look at how awkward he seems while jogging away from the line of scrimmage. However, at least he has the presence of mind to throw this ball away. It could have gone much worse had he panicked under this pressure and thrown into coverage. 

One thing I noticed over and over again with Mettenberger is that he is able to step up into the pocket. However, if his feet move in another direction, the play is ending poorly. I’ll bring this up again in a few slides.

This was another nice example of Mettenberger doing well under duress. His leg is snared, and his initial progressions don’t turn out, but he still manages to find a crossing route for the first down.

One thing that should be noted about this play, though, is that most NFL pass rushers aren’t going to go for leg grabs. Still, it’s a nice play under pressure. 

Keyunta Dawson obliterates Michael Oher on the outside, and Mettenberger suddenly has to speed this throw up. Mettenberger is willing to take shots from the outside, and he gets this ball off on target before Dawson obliterates him. 

The ball is incomplete because Vinnie Sunseri lays the wood on the intended receiver, but that’s still a really nice throw from Mettenberger, placed exactly where only his receiver could make a play on it.

The bad

Mettenberger sees the interior pressure that actually gets picked up, and then his feet go backwards and the play is a lost cause. Jackie Battle had no chance to turn this ball back up to the line of scrimmage. 

Because the Titans actually were able to re-gain control of the loose interior rusher, this play looks worse than it is. Still, if Mettenberger starts backpedaling every time he gets pressure in the interior, how will he ever deal with a double-A gap blitz? 

Welcome to the NFL, rookie. That nice clean pocket you got in college is gone.

Mettenberger steps up into his own lineman, and rather than re-establishing himself, he heaves the ball off-balance at his checkdown route. The result was a not-even-close incompletion

Again, here Mettenberger should have time to find another receiver, but his throwing lane is occupied by his own lineman, and Mettenberger runs right into an easy sack. Had he backed up a bit and reset, there’s a chance he could’ve found another part of his progression open. 

If you scout purely on the box score, Mettenberger‘s game looks more impressive than it was. Justin Hunter provided quite a few of his yards after the catch, and box scores don’t really emphasize sacks taken. Mettenberger‘s arm is more than NFL-capable, but he’s got refinements to make. 

To his credit, it seems like Mettenberger is taking his learning seriously. But based on what we’ve seen so far, I’d say Tennessee is in trouble if a Locker injury forces them to turn to Metteneberger

Read more Tennessee Titans news on BleacherReport.com

Aug 21

Jimmy Smith, Asa Jackson ruled out for Saturday’s game against the Redskins

Ravens coach John Harbaugh said the top three corners will not play this Saturday against Washington.

Earlier this week, John Harbaugh left out some hope that Jimmy Smith and Asa Jackson would be available for Saturday’s preseason game against Washington.

That was squashed on Thursday. Harbaugh said that the top three corners — Lardarius Webb (back), Smith (chest contusion), Jackson (ankle) — will not be available. This isn’t a surprise as the nature of both injuries require more rest than anything. Harbaugh did add that Smith could probably participate if this was a regular season contest.

This means more reps for guys such as Chykie Brown, Tramain Jacobs and Dominique Franks. Whereas, most bubble players need top performances in the second preseason game, these three could do themselves a huge favor with a good showing against Washington’s first team.

In a sense, Webb, Smith and Jackson’s misfortunes are those three corners’ gains. It’s one final chance to show they are worthy of a 53-man roster spot.

Aug 21

Coach Whisenhunt’s Thursday Practice Report

HEAD COACH KEN WHISENHUNT (On playing the starters longer in the third preseason game) We’ll decide on Saturday, which we’ve been doing and tell them the day of the game. (On the advantages of play…

Aug 21

Eight Ravens to captain the ship in 2014

The Ravens’ have appointed eight bird whisperers to keep the flock in check throughout the season.

The Ravens‘ have appointed eight bird whisperers to keep their flock in check throughout the upcoming season. Head Coach John Harbaugh vocalized before how significant the player leadership council is, and that the crew of eight will discuss an array of topics from practice schedules to concerns with the team.

“One thing we try to do is that we really try to involve our players in everything we’re doing,” Harbaugh said. “That’s part of the process. It’s their team in the end. They’re the guys out there playing the game, and they end up being huge leaders, especially by example.”

The board changes from year to year, and normally the team votes on who should captain the ship on the first day of training camp.

Crystal-clear communication is one of the master keys that unlock the gate to success. The gamut of experience under the belts of these wise veterans will guide the Ravens in the right direction. As fans, expect to witness less heated arguments among the players and an increase of constructive criticism being passed on along the sidelines.

This is superb news for the Ravens, who will be led by strong-armed quarterback Joe Flacco, Terrell SuggsHaloti NgataDaryl Smith, Marshal Yanda, Torrey Smith, Steve Smith Sr. and Sam Koch. Punters are people, too.

Aug 21

Preseason power rankings: No. 11 Cincinnati Bengals

The Cincinnati Bengals won the AFC North during a down year for the Ravens and Steelers. I don’t expect them to repeat.

2013 Record: 11-5

Notable Losses:James Harrison, Andrew Hawkins, Chris Cook, Michael Johnson, Anthony Collins

Notable Gains: Danieal Manning, Marshall Newhouse, Jason Campbell

Draft Class: Darqueze Dennard, Jeremy Hill, Will Clarke, Russell Bodine, A.J. McCarron, Marquis Flowers, James Wright, Lavelle Westbrooks

The Facts: The Bengals are a very talented team. They had the fifth best defense in the NFL, a statistic that I don’t expect to change drastically as they’ll be featuring Vontaze Burfict and Geno Atkins, among others. They have a talented running back stable with Gio Bernard, Cedric Peerman ,Jeremy Hill, James Wilder Jr. and BenJarvus Green-Ellis — so much so that Green-Ellis may be out of a roster spot.

They have an offensive line that was very good at keeping Andy Dalton upright and a very talented receiving corps featuring A.J. Green, one of the best wide receivers in the NFL.

They also have Marvin Jones, Mohamed Sanu, Dane Sanzenbacher, Cobi Hamilton and James Wright, who aren’t bad supplementary options, and a decent tight end tandem in Tyler Eifert and Jermaine Gresham.

But for all that talent that had the Bengals upstaging high-end opponents like the Packers, Patriots, Ravens, Colts and Steelers, and that won them the AFC North, they have their issues. Namely Dalton did not perform well against divisional opponents, as he threw for 1,361 yards, 10 touchdowns and 10 interceptions in divisional play. That’s 226 yards, one touchdown and one Interception per game. If his divisional opponents were able to do better offensively those wins would’ve been losses.

Also as I said earlier the Bengals won a down AFC North. The Ravens, Steelers and Browns combined to go 18-30. The Bengals shouldn’t have such an easy time winning a division now that both (or at least one) of those opponents improved this offseason.

Part of the reason I have the Bengals down here is just the fact that going 8-0 at home is an incredible feat and that it’s unlikely to be replicated, another part is due to the fact that they now have to play a first place schedule.

Mix that all together and the Bengals should experience a regression,however they are still talented enough to win in the playoffs if Andy Dalton ever gets his act together.

Predicted Record: 10-6. Wins against Browns (x2), Ravens, Steelers, Buccaneers, Titans, Panthers, Falcons, Jaguars and Texans

If you disagree with my assessment and ranking remember: Unless it’s something crazy,your guess is as good as mine.

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