Three Takeaways From Week 11
Rishard Matthews is legit
Chock this one up to Jon Robinson, who has been a wizard at finding talent that is undervalued, both through the draft and free agency. After a career season in Miami last year, Matthews hit free agency and Robinson snatched him up on a three year, $15 million contract to be a weapon for Marcus Mariota. Matthews got off to a slow start, but has come on in outstanding fashion over the past seven weeks. Coming into Sunday, Matthews had scored six touchdowns in his previous six games. On Sunday against the Colts, Matthews topped that with his fourth career 100 yard performance, snagging nine balls for a career-high 122 yards and dominating every defender he was matched up against. His emergence has eased up coverage for Tajae Sharpe, and we’re seeing him begin to show out as well. Good business, J-Rob.
Dick LeBeau is not the answer at defensive coordinator
I understand that there are plenty of talent deficiencies on defense. We’ve said that all year, and Jon Robinson is surely going to address that in the offseason by way of the draft and free agency. That being said, LeBeau is not helping one bit. He just isn’t putting his players in positions to maximize their strengths and avoid their weaknesses. Not to mention that he continues to trot out Perrish Cox and Brice McCain out there. McCain wasn’t terrible on Sunday, but Cox allowed a perfect passer rating when thrown against him (six catches on six targets for 142 yards and a touchdown). Cox has been arguably the worst cornerback in the league this year, yet LeBeau (and Mike Mularkey for that matter) insist on fitting him into their flawed system.
We saw the same thing happen last year, too. The defense started the year surprisingly well. They weren’t giving up many points and played above their talent level. But that quickly faded away and teams begin to attack the defense from all angles with high success. It’s happening this year again, and it’s pretty clear that what LeBeau is doing can’t continue to be counted on next year.
What happened to the offensive line?
The Titans offensive line had been one of the best units in the league for much of the year coming into Sunday. They were getting praise from all directions, and were one of the main reasons for the offense’s explosion through the middle of the season. After not being sacked more than three times in any game this season, Mariota was brought down five times on Sunday. Five sacks by a Colts defense that came into the game ranked 23rd in the league with 17 sacks. I can think of one sack that was due to miscommunication by the offensive line, but five sacks is a whopping number against a defense that has struggled mightily all year. Not only that, they really weren’t paving many holes in the run game either, another area where the Colts defense has gotten shredded. Maybe it was just an off game, and I really hope this unit doesn’t begin to get exposed.