NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Three angles on the Titans’ pass rush that have hit me this week as they get ready for a visit from the Houston Texans, who have given up an average of just under three sacks a game…


Denico Autry/ Donald Page, Tennessee Titans

As part of a pending OutKick 360 conversation about the pass rush turn-around from 2020 on, I went into Wednesday’s media availability aiming to get an answer from a couple of guys to this: What’s the one thing above all else that sparked the change from last ‘years anemic rush to this year’s dynamic one.

I was surprised at what Jeffery Simmons and Rodger Saffold – who went against the rash in training camp and has observed it since – had to say.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – As frustrated as the Titans and their fans may be with the hamstring injuries that have stalled the team this season, a broad, detailed look at similar injuries around the league reveal the franchise is hardly the worst-hit by the injury.

Nine different Titans have combined to miss 11 games for the Titans. That's nowhere as bad as the Broncos (24 missed games) or Giants (21). Though Tennessee would certainly like to be more like Seattle and San Francisco, who've not lost a single game.

It's an injury A.J. Brown rates as knock-on-wood worthy.

“I don’t even like to talk about it, to be honest,” he said. “I don’t even say the word, for real. That’s an injury that you just don’t want to have. You’d rather have something else happen to you than it. It sidelines you for a couple weeks and as soon as you think you are over it, it comes back again.”

Julio Jones

Julio Jones/ Pool photo by Donald Page, Tennessee Titans

As he spoke, he reached behind him to knock on the logo background.

More numbers from a detailed look at 10 weeks’ worth of injury reports from all 32 teams and from analysis of injured-reserve list stays as tracked by Pro Football Reference:

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By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Titans continue to find ways to win. This is a good trend no matter who the opponent is.

In a game that was void of many of each teams’ top players, this was a game that was determined by turnovers and defense.

Neither team could, or even really wanted to, run the football.

Dylan Cole

Tennessee Titans/ Donald Page

The Titans’ leading rusher was D’Onta Foreman with 11 carries for 30 yards and a 2.7 yd average.

The Saints’ leading rusher was Mark Ingram with 14 carries for 47 yards and a 3.4 yd average.

The quarterbacks, Ryan Tannehill and Trevor Siemian, were average overall.

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PK111421BNASHVILLE, Tenn. -- After the game wrapped, we talked with Mike Vrabel and a bunch of players and I wrote this lovely column, I fired up a broadcast from Nissan Stadium and chatted with many of you about the biggest news, developments and themes to come out of the Titans' eighth win of the season.

You too can watch the conversation, which is always a good one.

And if you'd like to be part of the next one, just head here.

We usually gather at the half of Monday and Thursday night games as well as after the Titans' game from the site.

You can rewatch on the private Facebook page here or head below the line.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – It’s a new version of the same thing every week for the Titans really, and it’d be a fun game for all of us covering it to write about it without using some form of the word resiliency in doing so.

Even Mike Vrabel busted on us for asking versions of the same questions, but when they are playing versions of the same game that’s how it works.

Jayon Brown and Janoris Jenkins

© Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports

These 8-2 Titans beat the Saints 23-21 thanks to a well-defended 2-point conversion try from the 7-yard line that could have pulled New Orleans even with 1:16 left. New Orleans was in need of the conversion because its kicker, Brian Johnson, earlier missed two PATs. They were at the 7 instead of the 2 because of a false start by Adam Trautman.

The good thing about the Titans is that they are smartly under no illusions about how good they are. The team that won Sunday probably wouldn’t have won a playoff game.

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Scouting preview: More pass-rush opportunity for Titans' front vs. Saints

By BLAKE BEDDINGFIELD, special correspondent

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- The Saints will be a different matchup for the Titans this week than what they have faced over the past month.

The past five Tennessee opponents had established players in a defined system offensively and defensively.

The Saints are unpredictable because their personnel has become unpredictable due to injuries at key positions.

Ryan Tannehill

No Jameis Winston,  Michael Thomas or Alvin Kamara due to injuries, and the retired Drew Brees is a distant memory.

But they do have a few consistent defensive playmakers in Cameron Jordan, Demario Davis and Marshon Lattimore

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – When the Titans blew up the cornerback position in the offseason, their intention was to let 2020 second-rounder Kristian Fulton grow and surround him with fresh options.

As Malcolm Butler and Adoree Jackson left, Janoris Jenkins and Caleb Farley arrived.

Elijah Molden

Elijah Molden defends Michael Pittman/ © Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

But during the team’s terrific month-long tear through four high-quality opponents, Jenkins, Farley and Fulton didn’t play one snap together. Fulton’s been out since suffering a hamstring injury in Week 5 and Farley suffered a season-ending ACL tear after 28 snaps a week later.

Like last season, the Titans had to piece together a patchwork secondary because of injuries. This time, the team has gotten far better results.

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NASHVILLE, Tenn. – In a highly unpredictable league, teams often have a sameness to them.

Through nine games, the Tennessee Titans certainly do.

Yes, their identity has taken form and has been pretty consistent: A run-based offense, with successful play-action, now figuring things out without Derrick Henry; a burgeoning defense keyed around a front four generating regular pressure.

Ryan Tannehill

Pool photo/ Tennessee Titans, Donald Page

But more than that, their resilience and adaptability are the things.

“We’re just a resilient bunch, that’s what we’ve been saying all year,” Kevin Byard said. “Some games, the offense doesn’t play very well and the defense has to hold it down and vice versa. It’s all about being a team. …The only stats that matter are 7-2.”

Mike Vrabel’s teams have shown those qualities before, for sure. But the adversity has reached new heights and the confidence and consistency of the response have been the best yet.

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