Week 4 Tale Of The Tape: Tennessee Titans At Houston Texans
- QuarterbackMarcus Mariota has all the tools necessary to become an elite quarterback, and he is well on his way towards getting there. While his athleticism is one of his stand-out characteristics and he also has a quick release with fine arm strength, his intelligence and awareness are his best attributes. Mariota does not make mistakes when he has the ball in the red zone.Deshaun Watson continues his first run through the NFL, and he is clearly an impressive player who has the tools to become a solid if not spectacular quarterback. Watson’s experiences at the college level have served him well, as he understands high-level competition and he thrives on it. After competing against Tom Brady in Week Three, he now finds himself staring at a former Heisman Trophy winner in Mariota.
- OffenseThe Titans have been able to make a lot of progress on the offensive end because they have an excellent running game to support Mariota. DeMarco Murray is capable of gaining big chunks of yardage with his one-cut style, while Derrick Henry is an improving power runner. Tight end Delanie Walker is a tough clutch receiver, while rookie Corey Davis is a potential big-play threat.The Texans have responded especially well to Watson’s insertion in the lineup, and running back Lamar Miller is able to take some of the pressure off because he runs hard on every snap and can make big play. DeAndre Hopkins is an excellent big-play threat who knows how to run away from the defender after the catch, and rookie D’Onta Foreman can be an explosive X-factor.
- DefenseThe Titans don’t have a dominating defense, but they play with speed and aggressiveness. Jurrell Casey is a strong force between the tackles who can punish ball carriers and harass the quarterback. Wesley Woodyard is a solid linebacker who can go sideline to sideline to make plays, while Logan Ryan is a fine cornerback who can provide solid coverage against top receivers.The Texans probably have the best defensive personnel in the game. When J.J. Watt is healthy, he is probably the most valuable defensive weapon in the league because he excels against the run and he can destroy the quarterback. Jadeveon Clowney has an explosive first step and can hammer the quarterback, while Whitney Mercilus is also outstanding.
- Special TeamsThe Titans are expecting to get a lift from rookie Adoree Jackson in the return game because of his speed and elusiveness. Ryan Succop is a dependable kicker who is reliable in in tight fourth-quarter situations. Brett Kern is a solid punter who can place the ball inside the 20.The Texans have had major problems with their special teams for a number of seasons, but the coverage teams seem somewhat better this season. Ka'imi Fairbarin has been reliable through the early season with his placekicking and veteran Shane Lechler still has a strong leg as a punter.
Deshaun Watson nearly led the Texans to a remarkable win at New England, and while the Texans fell short, it seems certain they have found their quarterback. Look for a tight game here, that could come down to the last possession.