In the Trenches: Chicago Bears Review / Indianapolis Colts Preview

The Titans are back on the winning side of things. However, it was hard to get overly excited with the way the matchup vs the Bears played out. The offense was not as explosive as they have been. This was a tough matchup against a good Bears defense, but honestly, I thought there would be more success outside of A.J. Brown. Henry seemingly could not get free very often in this game. I guess what I’m saying is I was slightly disappointed with the overall performance.

In a rare turn of events, the defense was able to pick up the slack. The defensive line was a strong point again, especially in the interior. The backup and rotational players were able to make splash plays in limited roles. I will dive deeper into these thoughts in the defensive breakdown below. 

Offensive Line Review

Outside of the occasional splash plays from Brown, it was a slower day for the offense. Overall, the offensive line was not bad considering Kahlil Mack was kept at bay for the most part. The Titans also dealt with another injury to a starter during this game when Rodger Saffold went down with a shoulder injury.

The offense is capable of much more in the running game. Let’s take a closer look at the individual notes before jumping into my whiteboard reviews.

Individual Notes:

  • Dennis Kelly – As noted, Mack was mostly held in check on the day, which I am counting as a huge win. Yes, there were chips along with some alignment help. But Kelly was the same Kelly I’ve grown to accept: he was fine, aggressive and still makes mistakes, but he goes hard. On the first long Brown reception, Kelly hustled all the way down the field to try to get into the play late. Respect the hustle.
  • Nate Davis  – Continues his improved and impressive season. I enjoy watching and grading Davis. It’s almost the opposite of last year, when he was to blame on a large percentage of failed plays. He’s slowly turning into a key reason for the run game finding success.
  • Ben Jones – There were a few missed assignments that seemed to either be a breakdown in communication or possibly a result of working with a new linemate in Jamil Douglas. He was fun to watch once again in one-on-one blocks, and even scored a de-cleater that I will point out below in the whiteboard section.
  • Rodger Saffold – Was having another good day until the injury. He did miss on a pulling play which is uncharacteristic. He was rounding the corner and about to meet the defender in the hole and tripped or fell off-balance. He missed on one of two possible defenders and they were both able to tackle Henry for no gain. Outside of that, he was a brute again. There was also a missed twist stunt between he and Ty Sambrailo that led to a sack near the Titans own goal line.
  • Jamil Douglas – He got worked his first play in the game, giving up pressure right up the shoot and causing a scary hit on Tannehill for an incomplete pass. He seemed to settle down after that and played… okay. Nothing was as glaring as that first play, but the drop-off from Saffold was noticeable.
  • Ty Sambrailo – Another solid, unspectacular Sambrailo-type of a game. He was passable. Really good in the run game, and his kick slides in pass protection look good. He did give up a sack on a play in the first quarter where he got over-extended and over-aggressive on the end, losing contact; the end then wrapped through the running back to sack Tannehill. Seems like every game Sambrailo is solid on most snaps, but then gives up a play or two like this one.

Whiteboard Reviews:

ISO / Inside zone run

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Author: Ryan WatsonThe resident Old Dude who's found a way to still be involved with football after years as a college and high school football coach. An O-line truther who cut his teeth coaching wide receivers. A Titans fan since he started paying attention to football again after coaching, roughly 2008. The other half of the greatest podcast you've never heard of (the numbers were very telling) Taking It To The House Sports. Currently involved in multiple podcasts on Broadway Sports Network talking shop on Coaches Corner and trying to guide fantasy football decisions on The Flex.

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