NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau is not someone to sweep a poor performance under the rug or ignore any issues.
Though it would be hard for anyone to ignore giving up 57 points in one of the worst defensive performances in franchise history. That one left a mark.
A still smarting LeBeau promised Thursday the Titans will be much better than that starting Sunday in Miami.
“That’s not us,” LeBeau said. “We’re going to prove that’s not us.”
New England beat the Titans 59-0 on Oct. 18, 2009, for the worst loss in franchise history, and thanks to a couple touchdown runs by Marcus Mariota, the final margin in last week’s 57-14 loss to Houston stands as the sixth-worst margin of defeat for a franchise that started playing in 1960.
It’s not so much that the Titans gave up 445 yards but gave up six touchdowns and three field goals.
“We played a very poor game. Let them hold the ball, let them go on long drives, never gave our offense a chance to get the ball back,” LeBeau said. “You’re not going to have success if we don’t play better than that. That’s my take on it.”
Thanks to all those points, the Titans (126) now rank ahead of only New England (128) and Indianapolis (136) for the most points allowed through four games. Tennessee now is giving up 31.5 points per game in a category that LeBeau wanted improvement this season after tying for 16th in 2016 giving up 23.6 points a game.
None of the Titans (2-2) were happy with a performance that had safety Kevin Byard eager to get back on the field Monday if only to erase the painful memory from his mind. That makes waiting until kickoff Sunday against the Dolphins (1-2) a challenge.
“It’s definitely going to be an eager feeling for the guys on defense to want to get out there and show that last Sunday that definitely wasn’t us,” Byard said.
Veteran linebacker Wesley Woodyard called the loss an eye opener and a wake-up call.
“You never want to lose like that,” Woodyard said. “You never want to lose period. We got a good group of guys who know what we’ve got to do.”
Moving on hasn’t been that easy. The Titans had to watch the tape of that loss to see exactly what went wrong. Critics expected cornerback Logan Ryan, who signed a three-year deal this March , to cover Texans wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins. Instead, Hopkins wound up attacking rookie Adoree Jackson and Brice McCain.
LeBeau said the Titans’ secondary features a mixture of youth and inexperience in this scheme. Jackson has started all four of his NFL games so far, and both Byard and LeShaun Sims are in their second seasons. Ryan joined the Titans from New England.
“Would I do some things differently?” LeBeau said. “… Yes, I’d do a lot of things differently.”
The Dolphins feature a trio of talented receivers from Jarvis Landry to Kenny Stills and DeVante Parker.
Just don’t expect LeBeau to tip his hand.
“I don’t like to tell the opponent what I’m going to do, but I didn’t like what I saw Sunday,” LeBeau said.
Notes: Titans QB Marcus Mariota was limited in practice Thursday. Coach Mike Mularkey said Mariota will have to prove he can move around before the Titans decide if the quarterback plays or not Sunday. … LG Quinton Spain (toe) and CB Tye Smith (neck) both practiced fully. WR Corey Davis (hamstring) and S Johnathan Cyprien (hamstring) did not practice.
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