Behind Enemy Lines: Chargers vs. Titans I

Our Scout.com experts, Jimmy Morris of TitansInsiders.com and Michael Lombardo of SDBoltReport.com, analyze Sunday's game between the Titans and Chargers at LP Field in Tennessee. Let's start this two-part series with six questions from Michael to Jimmy.

Michael Lombardo: Vince Young has already been anointed as a franchise quarterback and team leader. However, his passer rating (68.9) and touchdown-to-interception ratio (7-14) leave a lot to be desired. Is his inconsistency holding the offense back? Or are his playmaking skills still the driving force for this team?

Jimmy Morris: Vince's inconsistency is not holding the offense back. To be honest, if Jeff Fisher had his way, Vince would only be throwing the ball only 10-15 times per game. Fisher loves smash-mouth football. His offenses are always going to be focused on the run first.

The passing game's inefficiencies are due to a lot more than just the play of Vince Young. The receivers have dropped a lot of passes this season. I can think of three easy touchdown passes that have been dropped. As soon as they surround Vince with some play-makers, you will see his numbers look a lot better than they do right now.

ML: The Titans have a little bit of everything at wide receiver. There's the rising star (Roydell Williams), the wily veteran (Eric Moulds), the promising rookie (Chris Davis) and the reclamation project (Mike Williams). Which of these players is most likely to do damage on Sunday? Is there anyone that matches up particularly well against San Diego's aggressive defense?

JM: Justin Gage has actually emerged as the Titans leading receiver over the past few weeks. He has shown the ability to get open down the field and actually catch the ball. Most of the receivers have had trouble with both of those things.

Of the guys you listed, Roydell Williams will probably have the biggest day on Sunday. He has shown flashes of being really good, but is still really inconsistent. Moulds has provided what the Titans expected when they signed him. He is a veteran guy the other receivers can learn from, and he catches the ball when it is thrown to him. Davis likely won't be active for the game this Sunday. He spent most of the early season as the punt returner, but he lost that job because of his inability to hang on to the football. I don't expect Mike Williams to have more than two catches.

Gage is probably the guy that could best take advantage of an aggressive defense because he is tough to defend one on one. He is a big guy (6-foot-4, 212 lbs.) who can go up and get the football. Most of the other receivers on the team have trouble beating man coverage.

ML: LenDale White has transformed from an out-of-shape rookie to the workhorse back for a top-five rushing team. What did the Titans see in White this offseason that allowed them to pass on trading for Michael Turner? Can White wear out the Chargers' front seven on Sunday without putting the ball on the ground?

JM: I think what made the Titans decide against trading for Turner was the high asking price. They were scared to death of going into the season counting on LenDale White. That is the reason they drafted Chris Henry and re-signed Chris Brown. White is having a solid season, but he still needs to lose 10-15 pounds before he is going to be a really good back in this league. He is currently only averaging 3.6 yards per carry because he is a step slow getting to the hole. That number will go up to close to 5 if he can lose some weight before the 2008 season.

White can wear down the defense if he gets between 20 and 25 carries. He is listed at 235 pounds, but he weighs closer to 250 than 235. That is obviously a load to bring down. Most defenses that the Titans have seen this season wanted nothing to do with him when he gets that 22nd carry late in the fourth quarter.

ML: I was always a huge fan of the Titans' 2004 draft, when the added defensive linemen Antwan Odom, Travis LaBoy and Randy Starks in rounds two and three. Can you talk about the impact those three players have had in the defensive rotation? Which one should concern the Chargers the most?

JM: I am actually not a fan of that draft. Travis LaBoy and Antwan Odom together equal one good defensive end. Neither of them can hold up if they are on the field for more than about 60 percent of the defensive snaps. That being said, both guys have stayed relatively healthy this season, and Odom is leading the league in QB hurries. Randy Starks has been a huge disappointment. He was abused while filling in for an injured Albert Haynesworth. LaDainian Tomlinson will have a field day when Starks is in the middle of the defense.

Odom is probably the guy of those 3 that will have the biggest impact on this game. With offensive lines paying so much attention to Haynesworth and Kyle Vanden Bosch, Odom has shown the ability to get in offensive backfields this season.

ML: I had a chance to meet Michael Griffin at this year's Senior Bowl, where he proved himself to be one of the most intelligent and versatile defenders in the draft. What kind of impact has he made in his rookie season? How much better can he get with more experience?

JM: Griffin has made a big impact on the defense this season. The Titans got burned on a lot of long passes in games against the Buccaneers and the Texans with Griffin watching from the sideline. The coaches decided right after the draft to move Griffin from his natural position of safety to corner. He was not able to break into the line-up as a corner because of the solid play of Nick Harper and Cortland Finnegan. After the first time the Titans played the Texans, the coaching staff decided to move him back to safety. The problems with the long pass have all but disappeared since they made that move. He iced the win over the Texans this past weekend with his first career interception.

Griffin will continue to improve with time because he has really only spent the past month as an NFL safety. He proved to be a huge play-maker in college, and there is no doubt in my mind he will make the same type of plays in the NFL once he gets some experience under his belt.

ML: Which Titans player will be the X factor in Sunday's game?

JM: The X factor for the Titans, as always, is Vince Young. As you mentioned earlier, he has thrown a lot of interceptions this season. The Chargers lead the league in interceptions, so the Titans success in this game will depend on how well Vince protects the ball.


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