NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Titans are 5-0, planning for a Sunday showdown with 5-0 Pittsburgh.

Tennessee has found a way to win despite some serious defensive difficulties, but that’s not all it’s overcome.
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Pool photo: George Walker, The Tennessean

The five biggest offseason additions have collectively made a minimal contribution to that fantastic start, which actually serves to make it more impressive.

First-round draft pick Isaiah Wilson has not played a down yet. He was cited for trespassing at TSU on Aug. 15 where a campus police report said he considered jumping off a second-story balcony to avoid trouble. Then on Sept. 11 he crashed his vehicle while doing donuts on Charlotte Ave and was charged with DUI.

He went on Covid-Reserve on July 28 and came off it on Aug. 3. Then he went on it again on Sept. 6 and didn’t come off it until Oct. 10. Last week he did scout-team work. Mike Vrabel said Wilson is committed to conditioning and will be judged now on what he does going forward.

With Taylor Lewan out for the remainder of the season, having a first-rounder pick available to play right tackle would enhance the team’s options for replacing the top-flight left tackle.

Vic Beasley was the top off-season free-agent acquisition, with a one-year $9.5 million.

He played the lead character in a soap opera at the start of camp, with a 10-day unexcused absence, then missed all of camp with a knee issue and didn’t play in the first two games. When he came off NFI to be part of the 53-man roster and spoke for the first time, he offered a non-sensical explanation and spoke of the importance of making a good first impression.

Since then he missed the first two games, played 16 snaps in Minnesota, 30 against Buffalo and was back down to 11 against Houston.

Thirty players are listed on the Titans’ defensive stat sheet. He’s 25th, with one tackle.

Jadeveon Clowney was a big splash addition the Titans hunted for through the offseason and finally landed on Sept. 8.

He flashes periodically but also gives up on some plays where he doesn’t seem to live up to the ethos of running to the ball and playing with maximum effort all the time.

He’s rated as an excellent run defender but is 12th on the team with 10 tackles. He’s third on the team with six QB pressures, he’s tied for second with three tackles for a loss. We knew he was unlikely to put up big sack numbers. We also had cause to expect he’d have more than zero through five games.

Clowney is still getting very tired and the Titans still prefer him noticeably tired to options behind him, as he’s played at least 74 percent of the snaps in every game.

Darrynton Evans came in as a speedy third-down change-up running back, the one new weapon for Arthur Smith. But the third-round pick had a hamstring issue in training camp that lingered into the season.

He played in two games, turning five carries into 21 yards and not catching a pass. Jeremy McNichols has shined as his replacement. The hamstring resurfaced in the Buffalo game, and Evans is now on IR. We won't see him again until the Bears game on Nov. 8 at the earliest.

Kristian Fulton was the team’s second-round pick and brought needed speed to the secondary. But he missed a good chunk of camp injured and was not the starter at nickel on opening day. That was seventh-rounder Chris Jackson.apple icon 144x144 precomposed

He’s played four out of five games, missing Buffalo right after he came off the Covid list. In the four games he’s played, he’s been on the field for 41, 59, 38, and 78 percent of the time.

Fulton had a pick and a pass defensed against Minnesota.

He’s a borderline entry on this list. We knew it would take him some time, but the defensive deficiencies have led to the Titans needing a bit more from him. Adoree’ Jackson (knee) has yet to play this season and the poor pass rush has meant corners have had to cover longer. He could be much more impactful.

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