Jaguars vs. Titans Matchup Analysis

Position-by-position matchup analysis of the Jacksonville Jaguars and the Tennessee Titans

Quarterback

Tennessee returns Pro Bowl signal caller Kerry Collins, but he has been known to get hurt and possibly have times where he is ineffective. Behind him is former first-round pick turned bust Vince Young, as well as Patrick Ramsey. Collins has struggled early on this season and is part of the reason why the Titans are still searching for their first victory.

The Jaguars were hoping to get play out of David Garrard that more closely represents his 2007 campaign rather than 2008. Garrard is playing for his job this season, as the Jaguars may draft a quarterback in the first round of the 2010 draft assuming he doesn't correct his mistakes. Up to this point, Garrard has looked hesitant and has been inaccurate, but he seemed to turn it around against the Texans defense. He'll need to play better against a much tougher Titans D.

Slight edge: Titans


Running backs

The Titans bread and butter is their ability to run the ball, seemingly against anyone. Chris Johnson earned a Pro Bowl selection as a rookie, and he's already one of the most explosive backs in the league. Lendale White is a fantastic compliment as he is a big guy with great feet, who is perfect for short yardage situations. Fullback Ahmard Hall is an underrated blocker, and the team also drafted former Michigan State standout, Javon Ringer. Tennessee has had a tougher time running the football thus far in 2009.

The Jaguars have turned the backfield over to Maurice Jones-Drew, as the dynamic playmaker will no longer have to share the load with the departed Fred Taylor. Behind Jones-Drew, the Jaguars have seventh-round pick Rashad Jennings, and fullback Greg Jones.

Edge: Titans


Wide receivers

The Titans wide receivers were underrated a year ago, as Justin Gage had a very nice season as he averaged nearly 20 yards per catch and scored six touchdowns. Tennessee brought in Nate Washington to be a legitimate deep threat, and spent a first-round draft pick on Rutgers' Kenny Britt.

The Jaguars revamped their wide receiving corps by letting go four of their top producers from a year ago. They've replaced them with veteran Torry Holt, and rookies Jarett Dillard and Mike Thomas. The only holdovers from last season are the talented, but oft-injured Mike Walker and speedster Troy Williamson, who is out for the season with a torn labrum. Sims-Walker has played well the last two weeks, and could be emerging into the player that the Jaguars believed he could be.

Edge: Push


Tight ends

Tennessee appears to be loaded at tight end as they have productive veteran Alge Crumpler backing up Bo Scaife. Aside from the two veterans, the Titans traded to acquire rookie Jared Cook who has the ability to be a game changer in the slot.

Jaguars offensive coordinator Dirk Koetter vowed to get Marcedes Lewis more involved in the passing game, and the team needs greater production from that position. Aside from the dominant blocking Lewis, the Jaguars are depending on rookie Zach Miller and Ernest Wilford.

Edge: Jaguars


Offensive line

The Titans may have the best offensive line in the NFL, led by left tackle Michael Roos. Playing opposite Roos is the underrated David Stewart, and anchoring the middle is veteran Pro Bowler Kevin Mawae. The Titans line should be fantastic again in 2009.

The Jaguars spent much of the offseason with the focus on repairing a very damaged offensive line from a season ago. Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton were both opening day starters as rookies, and the team is returning Vince Manuwai from injury. The offensive line has improved each of the last two weeks and will need to have a big day on Sunday.

Edge: Titans


Defensive line

Although Tennessee lost All-Pro defensive tackle Albert Haynesworth in free agency, they started the process of replacing him last year as they selected Jason Jones in the 2008 draft. Defensive tackle Tony Brown was quietly dominant, and the team further strengthened the middle by selecting Auburn's Sen'Derrick Marks in the second-round. On the outside, they have one of the best pass rushers in the game in Kyle Vanden Bosch, and will play a combination of Jevon Kearse and Jacob Ford opposite Vanden Bosch.

The Jaguars have some questions on the defensive line as they will be counting on greater production from last year's first-day picks, Derrick Harvey and Quentin Groves. With the loss of Reggie Hayward for the season, the team has more questions than answers at defensive end. On the interior there are just as many questions as John Henderson needs to show that he's not on the decline and the team will be depending on rookie Terrance Knighton and a bigger Derek Landri

Edge: Titans


Linebackers

The Titans linebackers are mostly solid, but unspectacular with the exception of outside linebacker Keith Bullock, who is a former Pro Bowl selection. Competing for snaps opposite Bullock will be rookie Gerald McGrath and veteran David Thornton. Manning the middle is Stephen Tulloch.

The Jaguars linebackers may be the best position group on the team, and certainly on the defense. Justin Durant will now play the middle, as Daryl Smith will stay outside opposite Clint Ingram. Those three starters are solid, and Durant has the ability to be spectacular. Brian Iwuh will likely be forced to play if one of the starters goes down.

Edge: Push


Corners

The Titans corners, like the rest of their defense, is rock solid. Tennessee is led by Pro Bowler Cortland Finnegan, and playing opposite Finnegan is veteran Nick Harper. Rookies Ryan Mouton and Jason McCourty will be vying for playing time as well.

The Jaguars corners should be solid as Rashean Mathis had a solid 2008 campaign. Rookie Derek Cox has won the starting job opposite Mathis. Scott Starks will rotate in the role of nickel with free agent Tyron Brackenridge. Also, expect to see Reggie Nelson subbed into some nickel situations.

Edge: Push


Safeties

Tennessee's starting safeties both finished their seasons in Hawaii for the Pro Bowl, as Michael Griffin and Chris Hope turned in fantastic 2008 campaigns. Donnie Nickey will likely account for the depth behind Griffin and Hope.

The Jaguars have oodles of questions at the safety positions as former first-round pick Reggie Nelson regressed last year, and the team let Gerald Sensabaugh walk in free agency. Free agent acquisition Sean Considine has won the strong safety job, and the newly acquired Brian Russell and Gerald Alexander will back up.

Big edge: Titans


Special teams

Tennessee has one of the best kickers in the game in Rod Bironas, and an average punter in Craig Hentrich. The return team will likely feature Michael Griffin and Cortland Finnegan.

The Jaguars should have a solid special teams unit with strong-legged kicker Josh Scobee, and punter Adam Podlesh. The return team could feature rookie Mike Thomas, as well as second-year speedster Brian Witherspoon if he's healthy.

Edge: Push

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