The Tennessee Titans have been one of the pleasant surprises so far this season. Beginning with a convincing win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in week one, the Titans got off to a great start. In week two, they took the Houston Texans to overtime and eventually lost in an impressive effort.
Most recently in week three, the Titans pulled off a great team win against the San Diego Chargers to now sit at 2-1 on the year. In week four, they face a New York Jets team that is also surprisingly 2-1 at the moment.
In a tough division, the Titans have to continue improving to stand a chance at making the playoffs. One area they have been outstanding in has been the run game. Between quarterback Jake Locker and running back Chris Johnson, Tennessee ranks 7th in the NFL rushing for 133.7 yards per game.
Johnson has been consistent, averaging 3.7 yards per carry. Obviously they would like that number up, but there’s still plenty of time. Locker, though, has shocked many with his legs so far this season, averaging 6.8 yards per carry and totaling 81 yards in three games with a score.
Where Locker must improve, however, is in his ability to direct the passing game that currently ranks 30th in the league with an average of 176.0 yards per game. Locker has already performed better than most had thought he would, especially showing his mobility. But, in order to compete in this division he has got to step it up a notch passing the ball.
Setting up the run will continue to be the primary focus for the offense, giving Locker the go-ahead to then be more active in the passing game. Nate Washington and Kendall Wright have been pretty good thus far in giving Locker legitimate targets, but Locker has to be better.
Let me end by saying this: It is not all on Locker. He has yet to throw a pick this year and his rating is just short of 90.0 this season. The Titans have gotten by with great defense and a good run game, but there will come a point where Locker will be forced to make plays in the passing game and the play calling comes into question.
Tennessee will have to pass more in the future as they may find themselves down in games or their run game is shut down. Then, and only then, will we see just how good Locker can be.