QUARTERBACKS – B-
After a week when Quincy Carter posted the worst numbers for a starter in the league, he rebounded. Some of his improvement was due to the offensive line giving him time to throw. The Titans also played man coverage which gave Quincy targets, unfettered with double coverage. The Titans game plan was to stop the run and force Quincy to beat them. He did with a one-sack, mistake free game. The staff wanted to give him an A- for his performance, but missing two wide-open receivers for touchdowns dropped him one letter grade. Gifts should be exploited in the NFL.
RUNNINGBACKS – C
Anyone that watches the game of pro football knows Emmitt has lost a step. They also know Emmitt will get the ball, and usually when. The Titans wanted to take the run away and they did. There were few holes for 22. Troy Hambrick's 3 yards on two attempts and Michael Wiley's –2 yards on two carries isn't encouraging and pulls down Emmitt's grade. But only half a letter. A more concerted effort must be made by all runningbacks. The offensive line must block better but the runningbacks must gain yards for the offense to work. Quincy is on an island if they don't contribute.
OFFENSIVE LINE – C+
The offensive line bounced back from a horrid game against the Texans by holding off the Titans defense, giving Quincy time to pass. One sacks, which may have been due more to a pulling guard and missed assignment by rookie Andre' Gurode allowed the only sack of the day for Dallas. But the line needs to find a groove and open holes for the runningbacks so the passing game isn't forced to be perfect every week.
RECEIVERS – B+
A nice day for the receivers. Galloway and Bryant combined for 175 yards and one touchdown. Ken-Yon Rambo added 37 and Tony McGee chipped in 17 and a touchdown. Both Rambo and Darnay Scott watched sure touchdowns fly over their heads and out of their reach. With Carter's propensity for getting the ball close but not exactly on target, the receivers will have to catch anything they can touch for the team to stay competitive.
DEFENSIVE LINE – A-
La'Roi Glover creates havoc for the opposition and his presence makes the rest of the line better. Greg Ellis may have played his finest game as a Cowboy with two sacks. He put pressure on the pocket all day. When Glover wasn't double-teamed he was disrupting the flow in the backfield. Hello NFC East, he can play the run! This squad is learning to play together and what we see should be encouraging for us and scary for the rest of the NFL.
LINEBACKERS – A
Kevin Hardy is everything Jerry wished he would be. He plays both the pass and run and blitzes without fear. He stopped Eddie George single-handedly, pitched in a sack, and was the best linebacker on the field. Except for one small play by Dexter Coakley. His interception and runback for a touchdown turned the game and gave Dallas confidence. On the next defensive series he nearly had his second pick on a tipped pass. Keith Adams did well subbing for Dat Nguyen. These guys are meat-eaters and will only get better.
DEFENSIVE BACKS – B+
Duane Hawthorne was burnt on the short pass in the first half. But he gave up nothing deep and had no penalties. He adjusted well and made a big time play on a deep pass to Mason. Edwards gave up two passes but broke up a sure touchdown, as well. Roy Williams had 5 solos tackles and Woody had 6. They covered for the weakness at corner and closed out the Titans in the second half with some very heady play.
SPECIAL TEAMS – B-
Most of the day they played well. Field position was critical and the kick-off coverage and punt teams held the Titans in check. But the punt coverage team made a huge mistake that could have cost the Cowboys the game by letting the punter complete a pass for a first down to Comella. Joey Galloway made the right decision by backing away from a punt deep in Dallas' territory. The results were downed on the 5-yard line but could have been worse if he fumbled.
COACHING – A-
The offense threw deep and the Titans paid. Something that should have been done in the Texans game. The only negative was the two 3rd and 1's the team didn't make by running the ball. The Titans had been stuffing the run all day with eight and nine in the box. Play action Bruce!
The defense was outstanding. After a rocky transition at the turn of the first quarter to the second they pulled out a can of whup-butt on the Titans. They played an aggressive and physical game that should be the blueprint for the rest of the games during the 2002 season. The front seven is hungry and can change the course of a game by their play. Zimmer should turn them loose to headhunt.
TEAM GRADE – B+
The over-all play was good. They took what the defense would give them and became very stingy against the Titans offense. Two miscues on deep balls by Quincy would have turned this into a route. But perhaps a close game is a better indicator of what this team is made of. They took the game defensively in the final period. And scored to put the pressure on the Titans when needed. A good solid effort with few mistakes.
PLAYERS OF THE GAME
OFFENSE – Quincy Carter
The Titans looked Quincy in the eye and said they didn't think he could win the game. He played error free and did. He should rely on his feet a bit more and force the defenses to pay when they have tight coverage on the receivers. He has a gift. But his rebounding from last week will hold the wolves at bay until the Eagle game next Sunday.
DEFENSE – Dexter Coakley/Kevin Hardy
While Coakley's interception and touchdown did turn the game, Hardy's abilities to stop the run allowed Dex to free-lance. Coakley will be much improved and should make another Pro Bowl bid with Hardy on the other side. This tandem, along with Nguyen will quietly become one of the best in the league.
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